Being a baseball fans is sometimes like watching the movies. In the movies they rely on a thing called suspension of disbelief. You know what that is. You see something that really couldn’t happen, but you go with it in the spirit of the story. This is something I have had to employ often when it comes to Michael Young.
While there is a tremendous outpouring of support for Michael Young as he takes the twilight of his career to Philadelphia, I may be the only one who is glad he is leaving. And while it looks like the team was giving Young a gift in moving him to a place where he can play more often, don’t believe for a second that was what this move was all about.
While Young is now an all-time leader in many Ranger stat categories and while players like David Murphy sing his praises as a clubhouse leader, as a fan, I had to swallow a lot of things unbecoming of what I think a leader should be. With Young’s leadership, he also carried a sense of entitlement that is the leading cause of the “suspension of disbelief” in baseball today. In the name of team, Young had to change positions three times in his career with the Rangers and handled it with all of the class of a spoiled child. It was disturbing to me each time it happened and no matter what he added day-to-day in the clubhouse, his bigger example of leadership embodied everything that is wrong with the game today. I hated his bloated contract (much of which I felt was extortion) that made him almost impossible to move. As it is we will be swallowing at least half of that contract this season and even threw in over a million bucks in going away money. It eased the “pain” of his departure.
A clubhouse chemistry is a fickle thing. The Rangers had enjoyed a solid one the last three years. This in spite of having a player whose hand had to be held almost hourly and another who had no problem throwing major temper tantrums in the weeks leading up to spring training. But a couple of other things happened this season that I feel Young opened the door for. Mitch Moreland, before going on the DL for a long stretch, voiced his displeasure with the media about his platoon situation and David Murphy added to that a couple weeks later. Two questions. Did these players seek advice from the unanimous clubhouse leader before doing this? What was his answer? Get out there and hustle everyday or follow my lead and complain in the press.
With younger players beginning to make their way onto the roster, this was an imperative move. I just hope there is someone there to tell them it is a privilege to be in the bigs and that a team player does whatever it takes to win. It would be best to have a closed door with the skipper than to take him to task in the media. Let’s keep the suspension of disbelief in the movies.