Dear Michael Young,
Before you leave Texas, I just have a few words and thoughts I’d like to express to you. People will tell you I hate you because I wanted you to sit a few games a week. They’ll tell you I think you’re terrible because I wanted you to take a lesser role in 2012. They’ll say a lot of things, but they take everything out of context. I couldn’t hate you if I tried. I don’t think you’re a bad baseball player. I’m not at all going to get into stats here, but your career has been a good one. I respect what you’ve done here.
In February, I took off work early and drove over an hour out of my way to meet you. You and Ian Kinsler were making an appearance at an Academy Sports + Outdoors in McKinney. Ian Kinsler is my favorite player, and I drove out there to meet you specifically. I waited in line for three hours, going over what I would say to you. I had to make it short and sweet because I didn’t have much time to talk to you, but I wanted to make sure you understood that I appreciated your loyalty to the Rangers, and that I had been watching you for 11 years. I couldn’t come up with the right words, really. I just knew when I stood in front of you, I’d shake your hand, while wearing your shirt, and at least say hello. The time came when the wristbands to go inside were being passed out, and I watched the guy I’d been talking to for the last three hours who was standing in front of me and spoke about how much he loved George Brett and the Royals, grab the last wristband. I fought back a few tears, I’m not going to lie about it, but I stayed. You and Kinsler answered some questions, joked around, and signed autographs, and again you walked by me on your way out with the same bodyguard. I was scared to say too much. I was scared of annoying you or being weird, so I just asked for a high-five. There were five other girls standing next to me waiting for Ian Kinsler, and all I wanted was that high-five from you. Thank you for smiling, quoting Borat and obliging. (Oh, and by the way, nice job with the weights in the off season. You kind of don’t know your own strength. Ouch.)
I don’t know if those brief encounters count as actually meeting you, but I’ve never gotten the opportunity to just tell you thank you. Thank you for playing the game I love, and doing it for so long. You’ve been a Ranger for nearly half of my life, and I grew up watching you. From the ages of 12 to 24, I watched you, Michael Young, play the sport that consumed my life. There were times when you had to move around, and your unhappiness rubbed me the wrong way, but as soon as the season would start, your work ethic was incredible. I know moving positions couldn’t have been easy, but you came to work, and you played hard. You always worked hard all season long. You put up good numbers. You worked through seasons with some bad teams. A .301 career batting average is something to be incredibly proud of. Over 2,000 hits is, too
I promise you, 2012 is not how I will remember you. I will never talk about your time here as bad. If someone brings up 2012 Michael Young, I’ll simply say it wasn’t a good year for him. I’m sad it happened. If I am being honest, I wish you had taken a few days off here and there. I wish Ron Washington told you that you needed to sit. If that happened, I think you’d still be a Ranger right now, which is what I want. Hard work and loyalty don’t always equal wins. I could be wrong about all of this, but one thing I do know is baseball is a business, and I understand this move, but I do wish it never had to come to this. You want to play every day, and the Rangers don’t have a place for you to do that. It’s for the best for both of you.
The day you put on those red pinstripes, I will be in your corner. I wish you the very best success. I want you to win a World Series one day. You deserve a ring. I am so sorry it never happened in a Rangers jersey. In 2010, I remember the look on your face holding the American League trophy, and I remember thinking about how special it must be for you. I wanted a ring for you. I still do. However, if the Phillies meet the Rangers in the World Series, I’ll just ask you to wait another year. Twelve years with one team couldn’t have been the easy thing to do, especially through the bad ones. You’ve put your blood, sweat, and tears on the baseball field, and you deserve your recognition. Rangers fans will never forget you. It’s impossible to do so. I’ll never get used to seeing you in another uniform, and I will always root for you, no matter what color you’re wearing. (Again, just not if you’re playing the Rangers. Nothing personal. I hope you understand.)
Good luck in Philadelphia, Michael. It’s a good baseball town. I know you’ll love it there. Thank you for all that you’ve done on and off the field in Texas.
With a lot of respect and tons of love,
Emily Cates is a Staff Writer for ShutDownInning. You can reach her at Emily.Cates@ShutDownInning.com or on Twitter at @EmLikesBaseball.