Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Michael Young and Leadership

In the last couple of years, Rangers fans have had a lot of cool moments.  Alex Rodriguez staring at strike 3 in Game 6 of the 2010 ALCS is at the top for me.  Derek Holland's Game 4 of the 2011 World Series is close behind.  What Michael Young did yesterday may not have been on that level, but it was still perhaps the coolest moment of 2012 so far.

In the 9th inning, after Nelson Cruz was drilled in the back and the benches emptied, Young deposited the very next pitch into the seats in left-center.  He sprinted around the bases, almost took Dave Anderson's hand off at 3rd base, slapped Nellie on the head at homeplate, and muttered some choice words about the Royals' pitcher on the way back to the dugout.  Cool.

Young is having a terrible season at the plate.  He continues to be in the lineup because his manager respects his veteran leadership.  All season I have hated that excuse, because eventually grounding into predictable double plays outweighs all the leadership in the world. 

But as Young reached the dugout, and the entire Rangers bench seemed to be on the top step screaming at the Royals, I realized that Young's leadership really means something.  Leadership didn't hit the homerun.  The homerun came more from the fact that even an aging veteran mired in a bad season can hit fat pitches out of the park.  But what if David Murphy or Mike Napoli had hit the homerun?  It still would have been cool, but not as cool as Michael Young hitting the homerun.  Despite all that has been said about Young this year-and I've said plenty-this is still his team.  He takes care of his boys.

The other day my 4-year-old son acted like a 4-year-old.  The result was me talking to him about why I, a very mild mannered person, get so angry when he disrespects his mom.  I told him that because I love and care so much for her, him, and his sister, that I will go after anyone who hits, yells, or disrespects any of them.  I get the feeling that's what the Rangers see in Michael Young, and especially what they saw yesterday.  The family was disrespected.  It was up to the father of the team to get the revenge.  And that's why he's in the lineup and why Wash doesn't even consider taking him out or dropping him in the order.

If Wash insists on playing him, I certainly think they are a better team with him hitting at the bottom of the lineup.  But after yesterday, I'll stop complaining as much because I saw what leadership can bring.  The Rangers seem to have played the entire season waiting for the playoffs.  Now is the time to begin to peak.  Maybe Michael Young's homerun will get them on their way.

1 comment:

  1. Leadership would be showing you can lead without taking at bats away from players who are performing, and pointing out to Wash that you have no business batting second.

    That wasn't leadership. Almost anyone on that team would have had the same reaction, but Ranger fans desperately want to hold on to the idea Michael Young is who they want him to be.

    He's not.