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Great moments in moving on: Michael Young

Jan 31, 2014, 10:30 AM EDT

Michael Young AP AP

The people who talk up how classy and how much of a team player Michael Young was either totally ignore or attempt to explain away the stuff about how Young bristled greatly at being asked to move positions on multiple occasions, complete with trade demands and all sorts of things that would get less-loved players labeled attitude problems.

“We can’t know what went on and what was said!” we’re told. Strong hints are made that the Rangers front office was really to blame. It wasn’t Michael Young’s fault, that’s for damn sure. And even if he acted poorly to some extent, we’re told that he’s got latitude because of all the good things he does that we don’t see.

I have no idea. Maybe that’s true. All I know is that Young did what guys who are usually credited with being stand-up team-first guys don’t do and made a dispute with his team media fodder. He did a couple of things, however justified privately, that get almost any other player lambasted. And yet it’s considered rude to even bring that up in his case.

Whatever happened, though, Young having to move off second base is now ancient history, right? Nothing of consequence when assessing his legacy. Water under the bridge:

Nope, he’s still hung up on it. Post-retirement and many years after the fact, Young is still stung that he was moved off second base in an effort to make the team get better.

And really, if you think about it, there are only two ways to read that quote: Either “My personal greatness as a player would have been elevated had I stayed at second base;” or “My team screwed up in taking me off second base and the Rangers would have been better had they not done that.” So he’s both fixated on it and fixated on it for personal reasons.

And I suppose it’s rude to bring this up as well.

  1. perryt200 - Jan 31, 2014 at 10:37 AM

    How rude

    • The Dangerous Mabry - Jan 31, 2014 at 10:50 AM

      I can’t have been the only one thinking it.

  2. stex52 - Jan 31, 2014 at 10:39 AM

    Maybe just reflecting wistfully. Retirement has a way of turning you introspective, at least for a little while.

    • dan1111 - Jan 31, 2014 at 10:46 AM

      “If coach had put me in, we would have made state. No doubt.”

      • rollinghighwayblues - Jan 31, 2014 at 11:06 AM

        “How much you want to make a bet I can throw a football over them mountains?

        American Cinema Gold.

  3. koufaxmitzvah - Jan 31, 2014 at 10:46 AM

    If you don’t like the word Rude, I’d suggest Short Sighted. Dude is allowed to make wax philosophic at retirement when asked for candid thoughts by a news reporter.

    Dare I say it…. a 3rd person tweet is not a window to the soul.

    • stex52 - Jan 31, 2014 at 11:02 AM

      I was only retired for a long week end before starting my second career. But It does bring out a lot of different thoughts.

  4. jeffbbf - Jan 31, 2014 at 10:52 AM

    Hung up on it? Really? Maybe he just, as he said, would have loved to see what would have happened. I didn’t read any angst, anger, or bitterness in that note. Yours….can’t say the same thing.

  5. bitlrc - Jan 31, 2014 at 11:02 AM

    did the guy kick your dog or something? I get criticizing his on-field performance for the last few years, but this is a petty and myopic take on a pretty innocuous comment

  6. Francisco (FC) - Jan 31, 2014 at 11:08 AM

    Young should look up Chipper. I’m sure he needs a sidekick. BTW Chipper thanks for kicking Mr. Freeze’s butt. The Weather forecast for tomorrow will reach above 0 for the first time in weeks!

  7. plmathfoto - Jan 31, 2014 at 11:16 AM

    What we constantly saw regarding Young’s defense the past I can’t tell you how many years is how bad he ranked and ranged. Maybe, just maybe the switch wasn’t the best idea. Just throwing out a counter balance shot, 1 positive for me versus god knows how many negative from Craig.

  8. nymets4ever - Jan 31, 2014 at 11:16 AM

    Whoa, this article is dripping with venom. Did Michael Young piss in your Cheerios or something? Hard to take a simple statement like that about 2nd base and turn it into something as sinister as you’re describing…unless, of course, you’re a bored, bald, hateful turd with a chip on his shoulder.

  9. beefytrout - Jan 31, 2014 at 11:19 AM

    Am I the only one who read the title and assumed that Craig would be referring to himself?

    Clearly NOT the case, but still.

  10. tfbuckfutter - Jan 31, 2014 at 11:19 AM

    A slightly above average white player can’t be “selfish”.

    It was just his passion and grit that forced him to not want to move.

  11. zzalapski - Jan 31, 2014 at 11:25 AM

    I know the difference in accessibility via social media over the years may be a factor, but was Craig Biggio ever this hung up (publically) about changing positions? Chipper Jones? Jim Thome? Dale Murphy? Danny Tartabull?

  12. cur1968 - Jan 31, 2014 at 11:35 AM

    All I know is that if David Ortiz had said that about being moved to DH all these commenters sniping at Craig would be all over Ortiz for it.

    I’m not sure by what process Mike Young gets away with this stuff, but there it is. I don’t really care if he does get away with it, either. Good for him. By all accounts a tireless charity worker and pretty good teammate (when not demanding trades etc). I just wish everyone was treated as fairly as Young. He sure seems to get the benefit of the doubt a lot.

  13. 18thstreet - Jan 31, 2014 at 11:40 AM

    I was ready to join in the bashing, but Young was asked to move from second base to shortstop so that the Rangers could play Alfonso Soriano there (who came over in the A-Rod trade).

    That he had to give up shortstop for Elvis Andrus? No sympathy at all.

    • tfbuckfutter - Jan 31, 2014 at 11:46 AM

      He could have avoided all that by being a better player, and having the team not try to replace him so often with superior players.

      Plus, you know….the $90,000,000 he made while mostly being a decent but not great player should also take a bit of the sting out of it.

  14. Craig Calcaterra - Jan 31, 2014 at 11:48 AM

    I have no ill will toward Michael Young at all. He can say whatever he wants. My point is that if anyone besides Michael Young said the things he has said over the years, he’d be absolutely killed as selfish by the media. Young has not only never been criticized, but the very act of criticizing him is seen as shocking and horrifying.

    Why is it totally fine for him to have created multiple controversies and demanded trades when being asked to move positions, but anyone else who does it is a team cancer?

    • billybawl - Jan 31, 2014 at 12:04 PM

      I think you raise fair points. But it seems that his ex-teammates have nothing but kind things to say about him as a teammate clubhouse leader. (But I can’t say I’m following it closely so maybe it’s not unanimous.) Did his statements create controversies in the clubhouse at the time, or have his teammates forgotten like the rest of us? Or is the media only repeating the players’ quotes that fit the narrative? Genuinely curious.

      • tfbuckfutter - Jan 31, 2014 at 12:15 PM

        I have to imagine the clubhouse didn’t have a whole lot of chemistry and cohesiveness since the team was terrible for most of his career.

        Texas made the postseason 3 times, his last 3 years there, and only posted 5 winning records.

      • Craig Calcaterra - Jan 31, 2014 at 12:25 PM

        Those are fair questions. But they’re rarely questions asked of the players who DO get labeled cancers.

    • tfbuckfutter - Jan 31, 2014 at 12:11 PM

      To be fair, Jeter should have moved for A-Rod.

      I don’t recall if he refused or not, but it was a foregone conclusion that he wouldn’t.

      • cur1968 - Jan 31, 2014 at 12:27 PM

        Another I guy I don’t understand why he gets so much slack. He’s coated in media teflon. The NY media should be eating his liver for hurting the Yankees with his defence.

      • Craig Calcaterra - Jan 31, 2014 at 1:43 PM

        The Yankees never asked him to move first, likely anticipating a bad reaction. But at least the Yankees and A-Rod figured it out before it got to him and, ultimately, they were spared the stuff that happened with Young. Although, obviously, it would’ve been a MUCH bigger deal with Jeter.

  15. anxovies - Jan 31, 2014 at 11:54 AM

    Can’t say that I blame him much. Most players who are good enough to be borderline HOF like Young would resent being treated like a utility infielder and getting shuffled around every time some young phenom shows up.

    • paperlions - Jan 31, 2014 at 1:15 PM

      Young is not anything like a borderline HOFer. On average, over his career, he was an average player, he was slightly above average offensively and slightly below average defensively.

      Ian Kinsler has been a better player than Young was, and he is also nothing like a HOF player.

  16. chip56 - Jan 31, 2014 at 12:33 PM

    I have no dog in this fight – Young might be a great guy, he might be an a-hole, I neither know or care.

    I do find it interesting though that they guy who has written (approximately) 1 billion columns on two topics (the new ballpark for the Atlanta Braves and the Biogenesis case) would complain about someone else lacking the ability to “move on.”

    • cur1968 - Jan 31, 2014 at 12:37 PM

      You mean “1 billion columns on two topics (the new ballpark for the Atlanta Braves and the Biogenesis case) which are current, still evolving, affect many people, carry over into actual law, and are topical”, right? He should move on from THAT to cover what exactly? Current trends in underwear?

      You know so much, lets see YOUR column inched on other baseball stories.

      • chip56 - Jan 31, 2014 at 12:48 PM

        It’s nice that Craig has fanboys to run to his defense. But seriously – if he was sharing new information about those items I would be right there with you – he’s (in many cases) not; but instead just explaining again, in case you missed it the first dozen times, how he feels about those topics.

        But hey, keep blindly and irrationally attacking anyone who calls out your idol…maybe if you do it enough you’ll get that Thanksgiving invitation you’ve been waiting for.

      • cur1968 - Jan 31, 2014 at 12:52 PM

        So that’s a “no”? You got nothing, never gonna have anything, aren’t capable of better? Right.

        Its patently hypocritical to see you go on and on about him going on and on. At least its HIS blog. Speaking of which, do you even know that the nature of a blog is specifically ABOUT THE AUTHOR’S OPINION?

        Write your own and link it. I look forward to commenting there…

      • baccards - Jan 31, 2014 at 3:39 PM

        He did report Daniel Descalso’s signing – Is that not important or topical enough to drive all others issues from the blog

      • jwbiii - Jan 31, 2014 at 7:22 PM

        cur, You may want to click on chip’s blog. It’s kind of amusing.

      • cur1968 - Jan 31, 2014 at 7:26 PM


        I owe you one, man. That WAS amusing. So much bravado, so little substance


    • paperlions - Jan 31, 2014 at 1:17 PM

      Right, bringing up something that happened 10 years ago is exactly the same as a writer writing about current topics.

      There is a difference between being a fanboy and pointing out that your comparison is just stupid.

      • chip56 - Jan 31, 2014 at 4:37 PM

        If you’re asked a question about something that happened 10 years ago and answer it, is that not letting it go?

  17. pbastille - Jan 31, 2014 at 1:04 PM

    Michael Young… Michael Young… Name rings a bell. Is he that really evil PED user who plays for the Yankees?


  18. demetre22 - Jan 31, 2014 at 2:47 PM

    I disagree. if i remember correctly the first time they asked him to move he was very much a team player. it was only after the second, then third time they kept changing his role that he became rumpled. Young appears justified IMO.

    • paperlions - Jan 31, 2014 at 4:22 PM

      Players are asked to move all the time because it is in the best interest of the team, very few players are never asked to move. If Young was a better player, and especially if he was a better defender, he wouldn’t have been asked to move.

    • zzalapski - Jan 31, 2014 at 4:35 PM

      Young’s dWAR at SS in 2008: 0.4
      Andrus’ dWAR at SS in 2009: 2.3

      Young’s dWAR at 3B in 2010: -0.8
      Beltre’s dWAR at 3B in 2011: 1.5

      Yes, how dare the Rangers try to improve their team defense.

      • zzalapski - Jan 31, 2014 at 4:45 PM

        The 2008 Rangers had a 5.97 ERA in winning 79 games.
        The 2009 Rangers had a 4.57 ERA in winning 87 games.

        The 2010 Rangers had a 3.93 ERA in winning 90 games.
        The 2011 Rangers had a 3.79 ERA in winning 96 games.

        Obviously, moving Young down the defensive spectrum wasn’t the only reason for the better pitching, but it definitely had an effect. Rangers and their fans shouldn’t have any regrets about that.

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