Justin Upton was one of the most polarizing sports figures in the Valley when he was with the Diamondbacks.
More often than not, Upton did things that would amaze and astound Dbacks fans. Then there were a lot of times his play was less than stellar, which would frustrate those same fans, along with his coaches.
Whether Upton needed to be dealt to Atlanta or not is still up for debate to this very second. Upton had some MVP type seasons (2009 & 2011), and he had some seasons that were below what was expected of him.
Nevertheless, Upton is now a Brave and is side-by-side with his brother B.J., and they’re in town for a three game series with the Diamondbacks. It’s the first time Upton will have faced his former teammates since the trade.
“I’m definitely excited to be back, it’s a great opportunity to play against my old teammates,” Upton said. “I’d just like to thank the Dbacks for an opportunity to start my career here.”
Being back in Chase Field as a member of the opposition has a bit of a “different feeling” to it according to Upton. He said it was a bit strange being in the visitor’s locker room because he had only been in there for certain team events and nothing else.
“It was different, but it’s [just] another locker room,” Upton said.
Upton moving from Arizona to Atlanta was the first big move in Upton’s career, so he really didn’t know what to expect when the deal was going down and he first heard about it.
“For anybody it’s a shock, it’s a change,” Upton said. “There’s no lead time up to it, it’s just that you’re on a different team.”
“I was initially in shock, and it didn’t really set in until I go for a press conference and show up in spring training,” Upton said.
Upton could see the Diamondbacks moving in a different direction, a direction he felt he wasn’t necessarily going to be a part of. He talked about the two NL West division titles the Diamondbacks secured during his time with the team and the desire to do more while he was in Arizona.
“We would’ve liked to have done a little bit more but it didn’t work out that way,” Upton said.
Catcher Miguel Montero took a broader look at things when talking about Upton’s return.
“We’re facing the Braves, we’re not facing Upton, we’re facing the Braves and their entire lineup,” Montero said.
“For me, it’s just another day to be honest,” Montero said. “Obviously Upton was a big part of the Diamondbacks and he was a great teammate and a great player, and every team would love to have him, but it is what it is.”