Justin Upton is told it has to be about the coolest thing in the world to play big-league baseball with his brother B.J.
But he redirects that line of inquiry.
Sure, it was great to join the Braves with his brother, but now it's time to work.
“It's fun,” Upton said, “but we're in 'baseball mode' now. We are going about our business the same way we would if we weren't on the same team.”
That's why conversations between the brothers in the clubhouse and on the field tend to be technical talk, not familial banter. At a recent batting practice, for example, B.J. was explaining to Justin how he'd worked out a hitch he once had in his swing.
Braves outfielder Jason Heyward said the Uptons have gone out of their way to become integrated with other players rather than stand apart as brothers.
“They are brothers, but you almost forget they are brothers until you think about it,” Heyward said. “They are teammates first. That's what's awesome, man.”
The baseball part is nothing new for the Uptons. They are experienced big-league players and so know the rhythms of spring training and how to get ready for the games that count.
What's new for the Uptons is playing in the same team together. That hasn't happened since high school, when they teamed up on a fall travel squad.
It's a rare thing for brothers to make the majors and rarer still for them to play on the same team. The Baseball Almanac estimates it's happened about 100 other times in history.