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Jimmy Rollins: Michael Young is a “professional hitter”

Feb 20, 2013, 3:28 PM EDT

Jimmy Rollins

Jimmy Rollins, differentiating Michael Young from all of those hitters in the majors who have chosen to forego pay and keep their amateur status:

Q: What do you think of the additions the club made?

A: Michael Young is a professional hitter. He’s been to two World Series.

That comes from a Q&A between Rollins and’s Jim Salisbury. Who gamely attempts to get Rollins to say something provocative as he has often done at the beginning of the season, but this year the best he can do is to decline to say that the Nationals are the team to beat in the NL East. Which, no, isn’t exactly bulletin board material.

But I do love the “professional hitter” line. I bet it’s been applied to Young more in the past year than to any other player in baseball by a factor of five.

  1. tribescribe - Feb 20, 2013 at 3:32 PM

    Is that a nice way of saying he’s a liability in the field?

  2. vallewho - Feb 20, 2013 at 3:32 PM

    So he’s saying Young can’t play D ???

  3. stlouis1baseball - Feb 20, 2013 at 3:34 PM

    The nerve of some people! Actually saying someing complimentary about Michael Young?

    • nategearhart - Feb 20, 2013 at 3:57 PM

      But it’s not complimentary. “Professional” does not equate to “good”. It just means he’s paid to do it.

      • stlouis1baseball - Feb 20, 2013 at 4:01 PM

        Nate…we are gonna’ have to agree to disagree on this one.
        When I see the word professional…I immediately look at it in a positive light.
        Of course…I don’t have some deep seated, unhealthy Michael Young hatred either.

      • nategearhart - Feb 20, 2013 at 4:03 PM

        Then what do you call someone who is paid to do something, as opposed to someone who isn’t?

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Feb 20, 2013 at 4:12 PM

        So I guess the next time I am reprimanded at work for not behaving profesionally, all I have to do is wave my pay stub as evidnce that I was, in fact, professional?

        The word has many meanings. Rollins clearly was saying that he likes approach Young takes to hitting

      • xmatt0926x - Feb 20, 2013 at 4:15 PM

        Seriously Nate?? Do you really think that’s what Rollins meant by calling him a professional hitter? We all know what Craig’s deal is with Young, but are you seriously making the argument that Rollins wasn’t trying to be complimentary about the quality of Young’s at-bats? Wow..

      • nategearhart - Feb 20, 2013 at 4:23 PM

        Here’s what I think: If Rollins thought Young was a “good” hitter, he’d have called him a “good” hitter. Or a “fine” hitter. You know, used one of the many synonyms for good. I don’t think Rollins was pointing out that Young gets paid to play baseball. I was pointing out that if “professional” is the best description for Young that Rollins can think of, then maybe thinking he meant “good” is a bit of a stretch.

      • stlouis1baseball - Feb 20, 2013 at 4:27 PM

        But you don’t hold Michael Young in a positive light. Therefore, you would be far less likely to look at anything positively with regards to the adjective’s people use to describe him.
        In other words…you don’t like him. So it is easy for you to stretch like you are on the whole “professional” thing.

      • nategearhart - Feb 20, 2013 at 4:31 PM

        How do you know what I think of Michael Young? How do you know I don’t like him? As for assessing the adjectives used to describe him, I prefer to use the definition of the adjective.

      • paperlions - Feb 20, 2013 at 4:38 PM

        I don’t know how you can possibly interpret “professional hitter” as complimentary….it is what people say when the can’t think of something truly complimentary to say (like he “plays the game the right way” and that he’s “a winner”, each of which are meaningless cliches). It is like a friend trying to set you up and using “she has a great personality” as the selling point (or “he has a great sense of humor”)….those are meaningless attempts at flattery.

      • stlouis1baseball - Feb 20, 2013 at 4:40 PM

        “How do you know what I think of Michael Young? How do you know I don’t like him?”

        Because I have seen you rail on him several times.

      • davidpom50 - Feb 20, 2013 at 4:41 PM

        Nate. Come on, dude. You know he meant it as a compliment, you’re just being obstinant. Either that, or you haven’t been following baseball for very long. I challenge you to find one other published use of the phrase “professional hitter” where it was obviously intended as anything other than complimentary. You won’t find it.

      • nategearhart - Feb 20, 2013 at 4:48 PM

        davidpom50: I know he meant it as the best compliment he could come up with. Again, I think Rollins used it because he couldn’t think of any better way to describe him.
        stlouis: So you really think I’ve let my opinion of Young’s talents affect what I think the definition of the word “professional” is? I apply the correct definition, which appears lost on you, across the board.

      • stlouis1baseball - Feb 20, 2013 at 5:18 PM

        “So you really think I’ve let my opinion of Young’s talents affect what I think the definition of the word “professional” is?”

        In a word…YES. But it isn’t suprising. It’s human nature really. Something everyone struggles with. If I don’t like something, someone, etc… It is very easy to dismiss anything positive that is said about them. It’s easy to down play it so to speak.
        A professional golfer = bad golfer?
        A professional bowler = bad bowler?
        A professional hitter = bad hitter?
        A consumate professional = meh..just okay. Average even?

      • davidpom50 - Feb 20, 2013 at 5:20 PM

        Nate: “Professional hitter” is a widely used term in baseball that has nothing to do with whether or not a guy gets paid to play baseball. It is commonly used to describe guys who are not super stars, but are very much above average hitters. As others here have mentioned, there is a slight negative connotation related to defensive abilities – the guy is getting paid because he can hit really well, not because of any other baseball abilities. Joe Posnanski had a great take on the term during last fall’s playoffs:

        You’re choosing to nitpick at it, dig at it, try to turn it into something it isn’t. I’m guessing that’s because you don’t think much of Mike Young’s baseball abilities (I don’t disagree with you there – I would definitely not describe him as a professional hitter) and want to assume other people, including Jimmy Rollins, feel the same.

      • Old Gator - Feb 20, 2013 at 5:23 PM

        Saint Looey, it takes some hubris to claim someone else is going to “have” to agree to disagree with you. It would serve you right if Nate turned around and agreed with you.

      • paperlions - Feb 20, 2013 at 6:18 PM

        If Tiger Woods referred to Hunter Mahan as a “professional golfer”, there is no way Mahan would interpret that as a positive….he’d think “WTF is that supposed to mean?” and probably take it as a slight and evidence that he couldn’t come up with anything meaningful and positive to say.

      • IdahoMariner - Feb 21, 2013 at 6:06 PM

        wow, lions, seeing it like that makes me pause. yeah, tiger would totally be “wtf?” he would probably also throw his putter at whoever called him that.

        i read pos’s article last year, enjoyed it, but always thought it is just an odd phrase, and yes, only is used this way — the way rollins did or as argued by st louis –in baseball….like a compliment, i guess, but because it is so imprecise it lends itself to so many interpretations. if you want to say someone is a great hitter, you call them a great hitter. if you want to say they approach their at bats or their training or their prep very professionally (meaning they take it very seriously, do all they can by watching video of pitchers and working out and staying flexible and having a swing coach, etc. etc. etc.) then maybe you might say he’s a professional hitter rather than he approaches the act of hitting very professionally or in a professional manner. but, strictly speaking, it does simply mean that he gets paid to hit. so craig, et al. aren’t wrong, and really neither is st. louis (although why you are so fired up. i can’t imagine)… but if you really think about it, if rollins thought he was still a great hitter, he would have said that. “professional hitter” is either the refuge of someone being diplomatic or just means something else…i mean, it’s just a weird phrase, and if you can’t see that past the haze of trying to defend a once-good-now-not-sure hitter, i would just suggest walking away from anything michael young related. because craig is just playing with words, man, words that are exceptionally prone to being played with, because they are an imprecise or unclear way to say what you want them to mean ….
        i mean, i am on record as thinking ichiro rocks – both because he is a great, prolific hitter and because i respect the way he approaches his profession, through preparation and training and conditioning and practice. but calling him a professional hitter would feel like i was demeaning him somehow, giving him a backhanded compliment. and that is true even though i know many people use it as a compliment. because even in the joe posnanski article, he is acknowledging that it generally means guys who approach their craft seriously and give you consistent results in a good, not great, range. so, it’s a compliment-ish, a compliment of sorts, but it is still a very weird phrase. best just not to use it. michael young isnpribably wondering what exactly rollins meant by that.

      • IdahoMariner - Feb 21, 2013 at 6:08 PM

        is probably

  4. lroc20 - Feb 20, 2013 at 3:43 PM

    Craig is a professional hater

    • oldnavyperformancefleece - Feb 20, 2013 at 3:57 PM

      Agreed except for the “professional” part

  5. DelawarePhilliesFan - Feb 20, 2013 at 3:53 PM

    According to Google:

    “Professional hitter” + “Michael Young” = 9,680 results

    “Professional hitter” + “Albert Pujols” = 17,200 results

    Sounds to me like “professional hitter” is a compliment….but what do I know, I am not a professional blogger :)

    • The Dangerous Mabry - Feb 20, 2013 at 5:13 PM

      Ah, the science of Google.

      “terrible hitter” + “michael young” = 696 results

      “terrible hitter” + “albert pujols” = 3,170 results

      “great hitter” + “michael young” = 19,100 results

      “great hitter” + “albert pujols” = 89,100 results

      Wait. What was I trying to show?

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Feb 20, 2013 at 5:19 PM

        “What was I trying to show?”

        Ya got me :)

        Craig hates the Phillies = 32,200,000 results

        Craig hates the Braves = 23,000,000 results

        Craig hates the Nationals = 12,300,000 results

        Now I don’t know what to think……

  6. billymc75 - Feb 20, 2013 at 3:54 PM

    he had less errors than Kinsler and is far less injured than Berkman. but hey we released the teams all time hits leader than can play four spots.

  7. binarymath - Feb 20, 2013 at 3:56 PM

    Rollins’ cautious assessment of Young is perfectly understandable.

    Phils are a team full of “guess” hitters (Rollins, Howard, Dom Brown, Nix, etc.) Last year’s team also included “guess” hitters Pence and Victorino, and the 2013 edition now includes notorious “guess” hitter Delmon Young.

    With Utley on the DL so often, Rollins hasn’t seen a Phils hitter work a count in about 5 years.

    Hopefully, Michael Young can influence Brown, Galvis, Delmon Young and others to show more discipline at the plate, work counts, and get more pitches they can drive. That may be more important than what he contributes with his own bat or glove.

    • chadjones27 - Feb 20, 2013 at 4:04 PM

      “Rollins hasn’t seen a Phils hitter work a count in about 5 years ” including himself.

    • greymares - Feb 20, 2013 at 4:29 PM

      uh; you know the pitchers repertoire of pitches and you know the count and you GUESS accordingly that’s a professional hitter.

      • stlouis1baseball - Feb 20, 2013 at 5:19 PM

        I was told “professional” hitters tend to look fastball then adjust.
        Otherwise, they can’t catch up.

  8. darthsat - Feb 20, 2013 at 4:13 PM

    I’ve only ever heard the phrase “professional hitter” in baseball when someone is referring to a player along the same lines as “he’s a hitting machine.” It is to convey the point that he shows up, produces with consistency day in and day out.

  9. schlom - Feb 20, 2013 at 4:18 PM

    Here’s something I don’t get – when Jimmy Rollins says fluff things about one of his teammates we make fun of him for not being honest but when Miguel Montero says honest things about a former teammate we rip him. So I’m guessing that we only expect honest answers if you are talking about a teammate and fluff dishonest answers when talking about an ex-teammate.

  10. largebill - Feb 20, 2013 at 4:24 PM

    Always thought “professional hitter” meant ought to DH based on defensive short comings.

  11. whmiv21 - Feb 20, 2013 at 4:35 PM

    Matt Stairs is disappointed that Michael Young stole his title…

  12. craigisaloser - Feb 20, 2013 at 4:36 PM

    You’re a dickless ass munch Craig

    • DelawarePhilliesFan - Feb 20, 2013 at 5:10 PM

      How unprofessional of you……

      seriously, no one takes umbrage Mr. Clean more than me, but that is just uncalled for.

  13. stlouis1baseball - Feb 20, 2013 at 4:41 PM

    “I don’t know how you can possibly interpret “professional hitter” as complimentary”

    Said someone else with a deep seated, unhealthy hatred of Michael Young.
    Grain. Of. Salt.

  14. chadjones27 - Feb 20, 2013 at 5:03 PM

    How could what Rollins said be anything less than complimentary? In my opinion, the use of the term “professional hitter” must mean he’s not just up there swatting at any pitch that’s close and doesn’t let the big games get in his head (hence, “he’s been to two world series”). I don’t know enough about M. Young’s approach at the plate to know whether or not he gets a lot of deep counts. From what I remember, Jayson Werth could be considered a “professional hitter.” It’s a mindless cliche’ that’s used as a compliment.

    • cur68 - Feb 20, 2013 at 5:20 PM

      Check the quote in the context of what else he was saying. He totally meant it as a compliment. It IS the sort of compliment you pay in place of actual substance, like “his OPS was >.8” or “he hit 30 dingers” or somesuch. But it WAS a compliment even if, as substantive baseball based logic, its meaningless.

  15. The Dangerous Mabry - Feb 20, 2013 at 5:23 PM

    Indeed. The real news story here isn’t the “professional hitter” bit, but rather than Rollins is apparently trying to avoid being baited into making “controversial” statements this spring. And I say good for him.

  16. officialgame - Feb 20, 2013 at 5:30 PM

    Saying someone is a professional hitter is the highest form of compliment from one player to another. Anyone who thinks otherwise is uninformed.

  17. stlouis1baseball - Feb 20, 2013 at 5:37 PM

    Gator: “it takes some hubris to claim someone else is going to “have” to agree to disagree with you.”

    Hahaha! On point Mr. Literal Translation. Wait! That was also a figure of speech.
    Please know I do NOT think (nor am I assuming) you are actually “on a point.”

    So would it have been better if I stated “we will just disagree?” Or…”I disagree?”
    Cause’ my version is far less argumentative.
    One last point…I might be a lot of things but arrogant isn’t one of them.

  18. Walk - Feb 20, 2013 at 5:52 PM

    Craig in the past has said that “professional hitter” is one of the baseball phrases he strongly dislikes. I do not agree, being labeled a professional by another is a high compliment in my opinion. When i see dan uggla or jeff francouer bat i know they are getting paid but i do not think of them as professional hitters, or even fielder in uggla’s case, even though they are pro ball players. I do tend to avoid the phrase though on craig’s post, i sorta feel he is hosting the post which is why i avoid it but i really do like the term.

  19. budro99 - Feb 20, 2013 at 8:40 PM

    As a huge baseball fan, I wish hardballtalk would be taken off the NBC sports talk app. Such incredible bias against certain players. Very unprofessional sports journalism. Can you look up unprofessional? Maybe I should just use the word poor since you don’t talk to people in the real world.

    • chill1184 - Feb 20, 2013 at 8:57 PM

      “Very unprofessional sports journalism. Can you look up unprofessional?”

      Yes you can, its called ESPN

  20. simon94022 - Feb 20, 2013 at 10:22 PM

    Ryan Theriot is also a professional hitter who’s “been to two World Series”. But unlike Michael Young, Theriot won.

  21. louhudson23 - Feb 21, 2013 at 10:17 AM

    I have never known the term “professional” to be anything less than complimentary.Just as “unprofessional” is derogatory.

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