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Michael Young = Derek Jeter

Oct 18, 2011, 7:09 AM EDT

Michael Young dugout

In the wake of my Michael Young post from yesterday, I was drawn into a little Twitter skirmish with Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News, who called the post “boneheaded,” and said I didn’t understand or appreciate Michael Young.

What Evan missed, I think, was that I wasn’t criticizing Young as much as I was being critical of the coverage he receives that seems to sweep all of his flaws and foibles under the rug as if they never happened.  Despite our conversation, Evan didn’t quite come around to my way of thinking. But then again Evan recently made the argument that Young should be the American League MVP this year, so I think it’s safe to say that he himself is one of many who get stars in their eyes when the topic of Michael Young comes up.

We’ve seen this sort of thing before, haven’t we? Indeed, it’s very much like the Derek Jeter dynamic. The dynamic in which it’s not enough to say that he’s a fine player, he has to be considered the best, and let no one give voice to the notion that his game has declined or has a flaw or three. In which his missteps, to the extent he has them, are invariably cast as strengths or, at the very least, explained away by his passion and leadership.

Jeff Bradley of the Star-Ledger makes the comparison today. I don’t think he’s being critical like I am when he makes it, but in some ways that makes it all the more telling:

In many ways, Young is the Jeter of Texas. So many similarities when it comes to demeanor and, as Young has said, the approach to the game they share. Play to win. Do what is asked. Don’t make excuses.

However, because we are provincial, because we live and work in the New York market, and focus so hard on “our” players, we probably never thought of Michael Young as a player who should be mentioned in the same sentence as Derek Jeter, the Yankees captain.

What follows is the same fairly non-critical assessment of Young’s history of moving positions in Texas. Bradley misses one earlier instance of Young pouting at a position move (when he had to move off short for Andrus) and there isn’t much scrutiny of how a man can still be considered a great team leader when he twice bristled publicly because he was not getting his own personal way and playing the position he wanted to play despite there being better options available to the team.

source:  But that’s how the Michael Young narrative has evolved, has it not?   Like Jeter, he puts people in the strange situation of having to say a great player is overrated because it’s not enough for most people to assess him for what he actually is. Instead he is cast as Lord of the Intangibles and, like Jeter, that story of his intangibles won’t accept the unpleasant truth that, at times, he has behaved in ways we don’t normally associate with leadership.  Not that he’s a bad seed or a bad player or anything close to that. He isn’t. It’s just that he’s not as perfect as his local press makes him out to be because, hell, no one is that perfect.

Like with most players, there is an ego, however understandable and limited, at work there that has led both Jeter and Young into a couple of unfortunate stances. Yet they catch little if any hell for it and woe be to the person who tries to point it out.  These players are teflon and they have a small security force of fans — including some journalists — who defend them as if they were bound by an oath to do so.

I suppose observing all of this means that I am a boneheaded hater.  If so, I suppose I’ll just accept that and hope that one day Michael Young will find it in His heart to offer me absolution.

That’s how it works, right?

119 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. kbeau19 - Oct 18, 2011 at 9:37 PM

    whoever believes young is not MVP worthy is the biggest dumb ass I’ve ever seen I promise you JETER would/could not play the positions micheal young is capable of playing nor is he near as pure a hitter as micheal fact is JETER can’t hold youngs jock at 3rd, 2nd, 1st base or DH sure he might be better than micheal defense wise at SS but not Elvis which replaced young so JETER vs young at SS not fair comparison jeter vs young as a player is much better and young wins everytime

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 19, 2011 at 7:14 AM

      nor is he near as pure a hitter as micheal

      How is Jeter not better? It’s been shown multiple times that MY is a product of his ballpark even though their triple slash lines are almost identical:

      MY – .304/.350/.451
      DJ – .313/.383/.449

      Wait a sec, did I say identical? What I meant was Jeter’s was far better. If we get Jeter out of Yankee Stadium, which is death to right hand hitter’s power, Jeter hits .321/.390/.455, better across the board than MY’s career line.

      JETER would/could not play the positions micheal young is capable of playing

      MY plays all those positions poorly! How is this a plus in his favor?

      You also haven’t shown why you think he’s a MVP candidate. Is it just because you say he is?

  2. eleck09 - Oct 23, 2011 at 12:47 AM

    Craig – what’s unfortunate about this post is that Michael meets the definition of professional. I challenge you to find a quote from Young after mid-February regarding his position/status. It’s all business in the offseason. But once spring training starts, business is over and leadership begins. And, as a sports reporter knows, players rarely care about what happens in the offseason. They generally support one another in negotiations. Pujols walked out of the clubhouse in the WORLD SERIES. I think that warrants at least a second glance at what he is about. Even after 3 home runs tonight. But you are off target on your criticisms of Young. He has ensured there is insulation between the offseason and the season.

  3. hdub11 - Oct 25, 2011 at 2:18 PM

    This is a joke of an argument. Micheal Young plays in a weak market. A market where the environment for athletes is far less hostile when compared to a ball player like Jeter. With that said, if both players were switched, Jeters numbers may have been even better, which makes that a scary thought. As far as modern shortstops are concerned, Jeter is the measuring stick. His abilities offensively, his consistency defensively, and his instincts have provided an extremely well rounded ball player. He rarely makes mistakes on the bases, rarely makes that error that has cost his team a game and always seems to succeed when the moment arises.

    Jeter was an everyday shortstop at 20/21 years of age. In his 17 years, he has probably been the most consistent ball player in a career that has spanned that long of a time. Technically he has had 1 bad season.

    As for Young, he was a mature adult when the Rangers took off the training wheels. He was playing 2nd base, and he did not start his career with the bag that Jeter did. Also, he has played with some good ball players and still didn’t offeer enough to get any of those teams over the hump. Jeter won with Brosius, an aging David Cone, aging Cecil Fielder, Chuck Knoblauch, Matsui at the end of his peak, the list goes on. He was the glue that held those teams. His will to win is equal to that of the fiercest athlete of all time; Micheal Jordan. He’s that hungry. What if he continues this pace and decides that he will make that OF move? He has as good a chance as any to break the all time hits record. What will people say then when he outhits Micheal Young by 1,500 career hits in the end?

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