Michael Young: “I’m sick of it”


Texas Ranger third baseman Michael Young released an official statement Monday night regarding the recent trade rumors surrounding him.  You can read the majority of his statement here in Richard Durrett’s article.

The 34-year-old is “sick” of the ongoing rumors and the constant back and forth attitude of the Texas front office. He simply wants respect and he feels he’ll get it elsewhere.

And he has a point.

Young has been shuffled around the infield like a journeyman utility player for the better part of eight years. He’s moved from second to short to third to DH and now, as early as tomorrow, out the door.

Consider this: In 2003, Young played second base. He had 204 hits and a .304 batting average. What do the Rangers do? Trade for second baseman Alfonso Soriano. Young then moves to shortstop and has four consecutive 200+ hit seasons, wins a batting title in 2005, an All-Star game MVP in 2006, and a Gold Glove in 2008. What do the Rangers do before spring training 2009? Tell Young they’re replacing him with rookie-to-be Elvis Andrus.

So Young moves to third. He struggles at first learning the new position but gets it down and hits .322 to lead the team in batting average by 39 points.

But the Rangers are mediocre again. They finish second in the AL West-10 games behind the Angels- with a record of 87-75. Josh Hamilton struggles to get through an injury prone season and only hits .268 when he’s healthy and Ian Kinsler hits a meager .253 out of the leadoff spot.

But then things only get worse in March of 2010 when manager Ron Washington admits to using cocaine. Ranger president Nolan Ryan and Jon Daniels were on the verge of firing the manager. Then Young stepped up and did what he does: lead.

Wash was their coach, Young said, and it was going to stay that way. Six months later Texas clinches the American League West title and in their second playoff game in the divisional round at Tampa Bay, Young hits a three-run homer to propel Texas to a 6-0 win.

Everyone knows the rest of the story. The Rays were defeated and the Evil Empire was sent back to New York empty handed and Texas made its first trip to the World Series in franchise history.

Sadly, though, that last bit is all that’s going to be remembered.

Michael Young will leave the Rangers, maybe tomorrow, maybe next week, but he’s leaving and his contributions will be swept under the rug and forgotten by a new wave of fans just looking at last year’s magical October run under a microscope. They won’t forget what Michael Young has done because they’ll never realize what Michael Young has done.

They won’t realize how bad Texas was for so long and how fans filled the stadium on 100-degree days and tuned in on September Tuesday nights not to watch a winning team but simply to watch the professional of all professionals chase after that 200th hit for the third, then fourth, then fifth year in a row.

They won’t realize that in 2007, when the Rangers finished last in the AL West, Ron Washington had no power hitters so for a few games here or there he would pencil Young, a lifetime 2-hole hitter, into the cleanup spot just to give Texas a shot that night.

Those same fans, who will praise trading Young, won’t realize that in 2009 his decision to move to third base without complaint helped Elvis Andrus develop into a shortstop that would help take his team to the World Series.

And they assuredly won’t remember how in that same year Young’s bat carried Texas as far as it could when Josh Hamilton couldn’t hit it out of his shadow and Ian Kinsler was Mr. Home run-or-bust.

Nope. They won’t realize any of that.

But what’s sad is the Texas front office will.

And they’ll simply choose to forget it.