Welcome to Texas Rangers Demystification Day, in which we have a little fun with the franchise that’s getting the full sainthood treatment from writers and broadcasters. We hope you stick around!
Uh oh. We’re starting with Michael Young?! But he’s so…perfect! He’s so…Jeterian! He’s so…white!
Young purportedly represents all that is good about the Rangers’ recent run of success: he works hard, he gets lots of hits, he plays all over the field, and he’s super unselfish. Pretty sure he does some light work with lepers in the off-season. And he throws those claws and antlers with aplomb!
And the dude loves his team so much. He just wants to win. For his teammates. And for his fans.
During last night’s Rangers game, ESPN’s Rick Sutcliffe, who always has his finger on the pulse of the sport, summed up current attitudes about Young succinctly:
“Guys, I can’t help but think about how unselfish this team is, and it does, it starts with Michael Young and all the sacrifices he made for this team.”
OK, first of all…isn’t it incredible how every time a team starts to win, they become completely unselfish? You never hear about how like the ’05 Pirates were the most unselfish team ever. Baseball is by its very nature an individual, selfish sport. Unless you bunt every time you’re at bat, there is no way to play unselfishly — and even bunting is kind of a show-offy, look-at-how-unselfish-I-am dick move. You try to get on base, or you try to get guys out. That’s it.
More importantly…holding up Michael Young as a paragon of selflessness is the height of hypocrisy. The trail of sportscaster drool following Young around in the 2011 postseason was nauseating to behold. Are our memories that limited?
Last spring, Michael Young demanded a trade from the Rangers because he didn’t want to DH. He demanded the trade publicly, ensuring that his value would be limited because other teams knew he was disgruntled. There’s not much a player can do to be overly selfish in baseball, but demanding a trade because you’re having a tantrum about your position definitely makes the list.
The Rangers, much to their credit, basically said “fuck you” to Young, and kept him on the team after not finding fair value for him on the trade market. Then, he had a good season, and all was forgotten by everyone involved. Which is fine: Young acted like a jerk, then sucked it up and played instead of holding out or something equally idiotic. So sure, praise him for his solid-but-way-overrated performance in 2011, but don’t forget that he was essentially the dreaded clubhouse cancer in the spring. He was Manny Ramirez. But he’s scrappy and speaks clear English, so it’s all good. And now the Rick Sutcliffes of the world are holding him up as a role model for our children because of his generosity of spirit.
Tonight, when you took your little one into bed, tell him or her a story about Michael Young. Tell them about his benevolence. His magnanimity. Tell them that he is our shepherd, and only he can guide our flock through these troubled times. Just definitely don’t tell them about the one time when he threw all his teammates under the bus so he could continue playing a mediocre third base in the National League somewhere.