Back when the Atlanta Braves signed B.J. Upton and traded for Justin Upton, some people thought they were so clever with the puns. "Upton here, Upton here," for example. "Upton Saturday Night," for another. The Uptons were reunited on a major league team and it was going to be something!
You would have thought Sports Illustrated magazine would have gotten into the act sometime before opening day, but instead they've joined in as we open the 2013 playoffs with the ultimate Upton juxtaposition:
Supermodel Kate Upton with the baseball brothers on the cover:
Yeah, about that. Even though it's probably a regional cover, it's kind of an awkward choice. If they gave an award for least valuable player, B.J. Upton would win it (lose it?) in a runaway. For roughly $12 million in salary this season, the Braves got a stat line of .184/.268/.289 with nine homers, 30 runs scored, 12 stolen bases and 151 strikeouts in 391 at-bats.
Now, if you look at how Adam Dunn rebounded from his 2011 season, when he bottomed out, there's hope for the future of B.J. Upton. But now? He doesn't belong on the obnoxious subscription card, much less the cover. Are we even sure that manager Fredi Gonzalez will let B.J. see the field against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS? There's a joke in here somewhere about B.J. having a better shot getting to first base with Kate than he does against Clayton Kershaw, but that's his sister — so it ain't cool. At least there's no way the S.I. cover jinx can make him any worse. (Justin Upton, though, is endangered in that regard.)
At least Justin started strong and ended strong this season, and wound up giving what Justin Upton usually does. He's all right for the cover, even if other Braves had better seasons. Freddie Freeman hugging Kate Upton would make a lot of sense for a cover. Evan Gattis wearing his myriad odd-job uniforms from his previous life. Craig Kimbrel doing something Craig Kimbrel-y.
No, here's the shot: Chris Johnson and Brian McCann giving a disapproving look to the Uptons on the cover.
Kate Upton's own connection to baseball is thin. She used to date Justin Verlander, it was alleged. That's it. If anything, this seems like another chance for S.I. to put its cover girl on the front. And we fell for it!