Two-thirds of the Braves’ new-look outfield — and surely one of the great intrigues of baseball’s spring — was born here in the pine-and-backwater-scented lowlands at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay.
Together, the cities of this region band together under the handle of Hampton Roads. It is an area familiar to Atlanta sports fans as the cradle of Michael Vick and the address of his notorious kennel.
But this place can birth the improbable as well as the infamous. Here the brothers Upton, B.J. and Justin, pitched tennis balls to each other as children, arguing over every toss and every swing of the bat. Their parents were the outriggers of their youth, stabilizers almost by design. They grew up in an environment charged with baseball talent, like Hampton Roads never saw before and has not seen since. They could not have been better prepared for the job ahead, that of odds-defying brother act.
One son making it to the majors is a blessing, two an embarrassment of good fortune.
Brothers before have done this. Some 100 by the count of the Baseball Almanac have played on the same team at some point over the game’s long history. But rarely, if ever, has family been paired on a single lineup card along with the expectations the Braves have placed upon the Uptons.
The Braves wanted the elder brother, B.J., so badly for center field that they ponied up their largest free-agent contract ever: five years, $75 million. To acquire Justin for left field, they traded away the popular, Swiss Army knife of a player, Martin Prado.
Uptons’ upbringing all about competition
Atlanta Journal-Constitution | Feb 11