The Atlanta Braves collapsing down the stretch and missing the playoffs wasn’t entirely the fault of outfielder B.J. Upton, though it’s reasonable to think that Upton’s mere existence on Atlanta’s roster at roughly $15 million per season could be hastening the end of Frank Wren’s career as general manager. And Upton wasn’t the sole reason the New York Mets humbled the Braves 10-2 on Sunday, a loss that was made a mere formality after Atlanta was eliminated from the postseason by Pittsburgh beating Milwaukee. And two throws that Upton made from center on sacrifice flies didn’t even count as errors because of baseball’s quirky official scoring rules. But doggone it, they were bad. And kind of funny, even if the Braves don’t think so. It’s just not often you see a guy overthrow home plate twice by that much. The first throw: With the Mets leading 1-0 in the top of the second inning, Ruben Tejada hit a fly ball to medium center with runners at the corners. Curtis Granderson tagged up and hustled home but there was nothing to fear because Upton’s throw was wide right and way too high, sailing over catcher Christian Bethancourt and pitcher Ervin Santana, who was backing up. Mets broadcaster Gary Cohen described the throw as “simply horrendous.” But it wasn’t an error because it’s not assumed that Granderson would have been out with a more reasonable throw. Also, the runner on first, Anthony Recker, took second base on the throw alone, regardless of how bad it was. The only way Upton could have been charged with an error was if Recker had advanced to third on the play. Hey, some good luck! Not seen on the video, B.J. Upton came over to his brother Justin Upton, the left fielder, and seemed to be describing a problem gripping the ball. B.J. also licked his fingers. Whatever the issue, it still was present two innings later. The second throw: In the fourth, the Mets led 3-0 with Recker batting and Kirk Nieuwenhuis at third. Recker’s fly ball was a little more shallow, and Upton appeared to get a good amount of momentum behind the attempt. Too much momentum. This one was wide left and hit the screen behind home plate perhaps 10-15 feet up. Or airmailing it, in case of B.J.’s throws. RT @Netsb : @DOBrienAJC I’m sitting behind home plate. This team is mailing it in !!!! — David O’Brien (@DOBrienAJC) September 21, 2014 The funniest parts are the very audible groan from the crowd at Turner Field, the chuckling from Mets analyst Ron Darling, and Upton doing an about-face right after the throw. He realized almost immediately that he had airmailed it. You might get a better look and listen at both throws in this extended cut: Brother Justin came over to… console (???) Bossman Junior.
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