Michael Young is one of the most beloved players in Texas Rangers franchise history, a gritty workhorse of a man who "played the game the right way" and "did whatever was asked of him" and [insert reverent baseball colloquialism generally reserved for Derek Jeter] for 13 years before being traded to the Phillies and Dodgers in 2013 and retiring from baseball.
There's now a groundswell of support for Young to become the new manager of the Rangers. Given what we know about Michael Young, we of course support this. Sure, he SAID he's not in the running to be the next Rangers manager, but people say a lot of things! That's not going to stop us from this thought experiment!
Let's envision one potential, hypothetical future of what the Young regime could look like.
[wavy flashback filter, harp strumming]
December 20, 2014: Michael Young is introduced as the new manager of the Texas Rangers. He arrives in full uniform, unsmiling. The press conference consists of him stepping up onto the dais, nodding, clapping his hands and saying, "Let's go to work." The assembled media fight back tears.
January 17, 2015: In meetings with general manager Jon Daniels, Young tells him his vision for the team. "I need gamers," says Young. Daniels replies he isn't sure what that means. Young scowls at him and repeats, "I need gamers," more emphatically, then storms out of the room. Daniels, shaken, signs Mark Ellis and Nick Punto to multi-year contracts.
March 18, 2015: Young makes waves when he benches all rookies for two weeks of Spring Training. "Gotta pay their dues sometime," suggests Young to reporters. The reporters nod. "MAKES SENSE," blares a headline in the Star-Telegram.
Photo credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
April 1, 2015: Young announces his Opening Day infield: Elvis Andrus at 3B, Nick Punto at 2B, Mark Ellis at SS and Mitch Moreland at 1B. "These are their natural positions," says Young. "I want to prove this new coaching staff is respectful of that." He shoots a knowing look to a nearby camera. The effect is chilling.
May 2, 2015: Young benches DH Prince Fielder for failing to hustle to first base on a foul ball into the second deck directly behind home plate. "Gotta teach these young kids not to lose hustle," says Young. To date, he has not allowed any Rangers players with fewer than three years of MLB service time a single inning of play.
June 25, 2015: After an unbelievable hot streak, Punto is benched. "Don't want anyone to get too big a head," says Young. "No room in this game for hotdogs and showboats."
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July 27, 2015: After being eliminated from playoff contention earlier than any MLB team in history, the Rangers announce they have signed Young to a player/manager contract. Young starts that night's game at shortstop. He commits six errors and goes 0-for-4. "I think it went well," says Young, before ending the team's media session.
August 15, 2015: Young, having started every game at shortstop since signing his new contract, holds a .122/.095/.123 batting line and an astounding .000 fielding percentage. Local radio hosts and newspaper features chide opposing teams for pitching around Young.
September 18, 2015: Young moves himself to second base and drops himself in the lineup. He briefly considers asking for a trade, but then remembers he's the manager and moves himself back to shortstop.
October, 2019: The Texas Rangers win their first World Series title. Starting first baseman and manager Michael Young is elated. An expose in Sports Illustrated reveals that Young was actually fired as manager in August of 2015. "He just wouldn't stop coming in and giving orders," says GM Daniels. "Frankly, we were terrified. But I guess it all worked out, didn't it?"