First we have Evan Grant’s take in the Dallas Morning News.* Grant writes — in a very, very long open letter — that both Young and the Rangers are at fault, both sides have acted somewhat poorly, though understandably so and that each side must swallow its pride and carry on for the greater good of the Texas Rangers:
As I type this, it’s not too late to rescue this, I think. Everybody must accept some blame. The Rangers for the poor manner in which they’ve communicated with a player from whom they have asked so much. Young must accept blame for being overly-sensitive on the matter and lashing back publicly at the organization.
They must sit down, explain their positions, yell at one another and ultimately each accept some blame. That’s what happens in successful marriages, all of which face tests and challenges along the way. This has been the most successful marriage in Rangers history. It would be a shame if it broke up over poor communication.
Then, in contrast, we have Mike Hindman at Baseball Time in Arlington who is NOT having it. For a second. After saying that Young “has lost his f*****g mind” and that he’s a “nut job,” Hindman writes:
Now that the chickens have come home to roost and some of us wonder how Michael Young became such a narcissistic jackass, we can look back at that moment and see that the Rangers encouraged Young’s delusions by treating a pretty good player as if he were a superstar for no good reason. This seems to have taught Young that he was entitled to things because he was “Michael Young, Face of the Franchise” rather than for what he actually did on the field.
The local megia — who already liked this very clean-cut, hard-working, immensely likable young man a whole lot — immediately seized on this theme and wildly over-mythologized Young’s “sacrifice.” It was easy for the beats and columnists to fall in love with Young after having to deal with jackwagons like Alex Rodriguez, Alfonso Soriano and Mark Teixeira. Young, by comparison, was humble and accountable and accessible. And so the folks in the press box created a narrative of Young bordering on beatification (Patron Saint of Sports Sacrifice), and then they kept doing it, and doing it and doing it some more.
Boom. And then Hindman goes on to note that two Hall of Famers and one future Hall of Famer — George Brett, Carl Yastrzemski and Ichiro — moved positions and changed roles without anything approaching this kind of sturm and drang, and that that ought to tell us something.
I can’t say that I’ve followed Young’s career terribly closely, but I gotta tell ya: Hindman’s assessment of all of this seems a lot more plausible than Grant’s. Mostly because Grant leaves the media’s role out of it, and given how much of this has played out in the media — dating back to Young’s initial move off second base — that is a pretty key oversight.
People start to believe their own press clippings, and I’m sure Michael Young is not immune to that. And like Hindman, I tend to agree that he’s overplaying the victim card a bit too much here.
*Hurm. The post disappeared after I first read it. What is now linked is the cached version. Did the Morning News take it down? I dunno. But let me know if the cached version disappears too.