well, it's a good thing we traded justin upton.we wouldn't want him to hit 450ft. bombs in chase field anyway............— Diamondbackers (@Diamondbackers) March 18, 2013
This received a terse reaction from our likely leadoff hitter shortly thereafter, which likely surprised the recipient as much as anything.
@diamondbackers unfollow. Thought you backed us? Get a clue.— Adam Eaton (@AdamSpankyEaton) March 18, 2013
Ouch. I can see both sides, actually: the topic was also discussed somewhat in yesterday's Gameday Thread, and I'm curious to hear people's opinions. Personally, I have always been more about the name on the front of the jersey, than the one on the back: I've never bought a player's shirt, except some cheap ones they were clearing out at the FanFest Yard Sale. I suspect I'm too aware baseball is a business, and that the days of players being with their team for life - especially in a mid-market franchise like Arizona - are all but gone. You don't want to be stuck paying upside dollars once players are well on the down-side of the aging curve: let someone else do that.
And yet... Both Upton and Chris Young have been all but fixtures in the line-up since late 2007, and you simply grow accustomed to their faces. To continue borrowing from Lerner and Loewe: their smiles, their frowns, their ups, their downs, are second nature to me now. [You know me: any chance I get to quote from My Fair Lady, I'm pouncing on that f'shizzle]. I never spoke to or met either one of them, so there's absolutely no personal connection at any level. But they were significant parts of the team. It feels like losing someone who worked with you: you may not have spoken to them, or even liked them, but they were a part of your everyday life. Their departure leaves a gap.
On the other side, I understand Eaton's reaction, because as a player, it's dishearening when someone described on their profile as "The official voice of @dbacks fans everywhere", sends out a Tweet that could be read as implying some of their support for the team departed with Upton That's not the way my fandom operates, though it's not uncommon, and I've seen it happen a number of times - when Luis Gonzalez or Randy Johnson departed on less than perfect terms. It's possible and perfectly legit to be less a fan of the team, than a particular player. - though there's a reasonable argument, that someone like that probably isn't best suited to be "the official voice of fans".
I think it's perhaps a case @diamondbackers simply forgot that "official" aspect of their position, and spoke an honest opinion that does not quite represent the views of fans as an entity, as the various reactions (from Eaton and others) showed. It's one of those double-edged swords: the Twitter position exists to bring personality to fandom, and there's always a risk associated with that, unless the Tweeter is ordered to stick to bland subjects such as - yay, two My Fair Lady references in one post! - the weather and everybody's health. And that largely negates the point of the entire endeavor.
As a cynic, however, if said "official voice" is going to point out the length of a spring-training home-run (hit, incidentally off the hardly awesome Rodrigo Lopez), they should maybe also point out that Upton came into the game today hitting .244, with 14 strikeouts in 45 at-bats. But, really, what Upton does now is of little relevance to me. I felt a vague disturbance in the Force when I found myself wondering at a game last week, when Justin would be coming up for Arizona, and realized the answer was "never again." That aside, I'm far more interested in seeing what Martin Prado does for the team, and I could live without J-bulletins on my Twitter feed when he gets a hit.
The truth, as in most things, likely lies somewhere in the middle - in as much as there can ever be an objective "Truth" with regard to such a personal thing as fandom. I suspect the reality is that its less a religion than a pantheon, with no correct way to be a fan. That's probably something we should all do well to remember. We're all on the same side, in terms of wanting the Diamondbacks to do well, and what unites us is far more important that what divides us.