Don’t Call Me Joey Belle, My Name Is Melvin Upton Jr….Bitches

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Updated: February 23, 2015
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BJ Upton wouldn’t be the first MLB player to change his name mid-career.  Joey Belle changed his name to Albert mid-career and went on to have some resurgent numbers post-name-change. Then there was Fausto Carmona who reverted to Roberto Hernandez, a rationale that had mostly to do some kind of immigration law and once he had enough time in the ‘Bigs’ felt comfortable enough to go to his real name of Roberto Hernandez.

When it comes to B.J. Upton, one would have to surmise that the change has purely to do with performance on the field and a need to re-invent himself.  Upton’s numbers have paled in comparison to the guaranteed contracts he’s somehow mustered over the years.  He’s now on year 3 of a 5-year $72.25 Million contract with the Braves.  In the first two years, he hit .184 and .208.  Upton claims there’s no reinvention:

“This has nothing to do with starting a new chapter,” Upton said. “I just wanted to. My father thought enough to give me his name, so why not?”
“It was the name that was given to me as a kid,” Upton said. “So I felt I wanted to go by my real name. Most of my friends call me Mel or Melvin,” Upton said. “Nobody really calls me B.J., except at the stadium. Call me what you want, it doesn’t matter to me,” Upton said. “Obviously, the people I’ve known my whole life and the people I’ve grown to know, I don’t care [which name they use]. But for the general public, my real name is Melvin and that is [how] I want to be referred to.”

Alright big fella.  We’ll call you Melvin, but hopefully we won’t have to hear umpires calling 3rd strikes with the frequency they have for the last several years.