06/04/09 2:08 PM ET
Upton's talks with helmet seem to work
Young slugger uses headgear as therapy after at-bats
By Steve Gilbert / MLB.com
Following a flyout, television cameras caught the D-backs outfielder holding his helmet up to his face and talking to it before putting it back in the helmet rack.
"Yeah, I was," Upton said somewhat sheepishly.
What were you saying?
"I was saying I'm not going to throw you, helmet, I'm not going to throw you," Upton said.
Upton is not adverse to firing a helmet or bat when he makes an out. Lately, though, that has not been a problem as he has been on a tear at the plate.
The footage of Upton and his helmet received plenty of airtime on ESPN over two nights.
"I think people channel their frustrations in different ways," D-backs manager A.J. Hinch said. "He's an emotional guy that expects a lot out of himself. I wouldn't imagine that it would be as big of a deal. But I'll tell you this year he hasn't talked to his helmet very often based on his production. Whatever the helmet is saying back, either verbally or whatever way a helmet communicates, is correcting a lot of behavior the next time when he gets a hit."
Indeed, given the results Upton has gotten, maybe this talking to a helmet thing could catch on. In his first at-bat the night following his conversation with the helmet, Upton hit his first career grand slam.
"Maybe I'll go over and talk to the helmet," Hinch said.
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.