The Texas Rangers had a great run this past season. All of their key players will return to a team talented enough to win the West this year and be competitive in the AL for yeas to come. That’s what is being reported by nearly every baseball pundit from ESPN to the MLB Network. But what I fear is that upper management, including the Great? Nolan Ryan and John Daniels have started to believe the hype as well.
Nearly two weeks removed from the Super Debacle and the Thunderdome seating scandal, when we should still be talking about the forthcoming lawsuits or perhaps the Mavs resurgence or even the Rangers attempt to return to the post season; all those things have taken a back seat to the idiocy that has developed at the Ballpark. Of course I’m speaking of the Michael Young issue.
Since the winter meetings, there have been serious rumors involving the team’s all-time hits leader and his future with the only team he has ever known. When the team attempted to improve the hot corner, they asked Young to move to DH in order to make room for a significant upgrade in Adrian Beltre. That’s when I believe they started thinking the press clippings describing how smart they were were in fact gospel.
They heard how vastly improved they were at the position and in the lineup and suddenly someone got the bright idea that Young was expendable. They discounted the fact that he is a .300+ hitter and is clutch to boot. He has moved three times in his career here in Texas to make room for others for the good of the team. He has sacrificed in the field, having to hear many calls for his head in regards to his defensive limitations that come from playing in an unfamiliar position.
Sure he complained when he moved from second to third in order to make room for an error machine in Rafael Soriano. Then he switched again when Elvis entered the building. Now that Beltre is on board, combined with the fact that the Rangers openly flirted with Jim Thome and Vlad Guerrero before finally landing Mike Napoli, Young had had enough.
I personally love the move to DH. I think it will improve his batting average and his overall numbers. We have heard the local media talk about the drop in his performance yet they don’t see the tie in to him playing error filled ball in an uncomfortable position.
I believe Young is such a perfectionist and a professional that when he makes a mistake in the field, he carries it to the plate, hence his production slips because the last play is still in his mind.
I also have a problem with the locals that yell about the athletes and their loyalty, yet isn’t Young the epitome of what we want and expect? Isn’t he the guy that has stayed on a losing team for nearly 10 years while he heard promise after promise that the team would be ready to compete next year? Isn’t he the guy that we have never had to question his heart or his drive or for that matter, his leadership?
If you said yes to any of the above, then as fans and media, don’t we owe this guy a bit of slack when he does open up and admits something isn’t right? I wonder why all of a sudden we have taken the word of Ryan and Daniels over Young. They don’t play on the field. They make gambles, take risks and hope things work out in their favor. It’s the manager, coaches and players that really make everything go.
I have been a lifelong Rangers fan. And I, like many, have endured our fair share of losing, controversy and, did I mention losing? What I can’t understand is when we finally reach the pinnacle of our sport why do we begin acting like the Yankees or Cowboys? We have a penchant for throwing away talent for the sake of proving we can win without them. And I never thought the Rangers, who were becoming Texas’ version of the Cubs, would go the same route.
If the Rangers are serious about competing this coming season, then they have to table all discussions on Young and move forward. You wouldn’t do this to Ryan if he was still playing and he played in Texas for only five years. But if the Rangers want to continue down this path of silliness for the sake of egos, and vilify the guy that is Mr. Ranger—the one constant on the team and the player all players look to and respect then they also risk destroying the chemistry that the team has built.
And if you don’t know what that looks like, look across the street from the Ballpark just over the lines of attorneys. See how that worked out for that guy.