The Michael Young Retirement Press Conference is about to kick off. Discuss it here, and I will post highlights afterwards.
Steve Busby did the intro, with Young, JD and Wash sitting at the table.
JD speaks first. He congratulates Young on a great career, acknowledges the role Christina has played in Young's career, with the Ranger organization and the community. JD says the team is pleased and honored that the Rangers get to have a small role in this day. JD stopped for a moment, saying he was getting a little emotional.
JD talks about how Young had to earn his spot, and prove people wrong along the way, in the early years of his career. Hard work, blue collar mentality with Young -- that's why he's so revered. He says Young and Wash are very similar -- all baseball, what you see is what you get. Turns it over to Wash.
Wash says he usually just talks from the heart, but he wanted to put some things down this time to talk about what Young has meant to Wash. "And now I've got 'em all out of order," which gets a laugh.
Wash calls him the "ultimate teammate." Said he came to the park every day and performed to the best of his ability, in a team concept. Said he made the people around him better because of his professionalism. Wash says character overrides everything, and if you look up character in the dictionary, you'd see Michael Young's picture. "There's no doubt about it -- he's a champion."
Wash says that when he came to Texas, he was a novice when it came to being a manager. "There were lots of fights," but Young never wavered in his support of Wash. No matter what happened, Young knew the right spin to put on things, knew the right things to say so that the next day, his teammates would come to the field ready to fight. He created the right attitude in the clubhouse because he kept an open mind. You never knew when things weren't going right for Young, or if he was having a bad day -- he always had confidence in himself, and carried himself with confidence.
Wash says, what we can control are our attitude, and what Young always had was a great attitude. If someone else wasn't having a good day, Young's example and professionalism would rub off on them. As a manager, people like Young are who you want in your clubhouse. Wash talks about his kindness, his honesty, his integrity.
Wash says he's never been around a guy with the mental toughness that Michael Young displayed. That's the result of failing, getting up, learning, failing, getting up, learning...that's how you learn mental toughness, Wash said. Wash talks about what a hard worker Young is, how much competitive drive Young has, how much self-reliance Young has.
Wash says that you know you have a top-character guy when they realize that everything they do influences other people. Young knows that 24 hours a day, what he does can have an impact on someone.
Wash says that the game of baseball is going to miss Young, and he hopes that Young doesn't stay in the game in some way. Wash says someday, there's going to be a kid who needs the influence of Michael Young, and he hopes Young will be there to provide it. Wash says that he doesn't think this game can survive without a Michael Young in it.
Young says he was honored to be asked to do this today. Young says he played in Philly and LA, and loved both, but his time in Texas was 13 of the best years of his life. When he came to Texas, he was trying to find his way, "confident, stubborn, with a lot to learn." Says in a lot of ways, he was immature, and he figured it out -- the type of person he wanted to be -- here.
Young says he's been very fortunate to be in an organization where he always felt valued. He felt valued because the fans, the coaching staff, the front office, ownership -- they always made him feel valued. Even when there were bumps in the road -- "we hit some snags" -- he still felt valued.
Talks about his relationship with Wash. Talks about how the organization felt like this was a "sleeping giant," and he was frustrated because he felt like no one wanted it for this organization as much as he did. Young talks about the friendships here, the clubhouse people, his teammates. Young says he doesn't have a ring from 2011, but the 2011 was a championship team -- he's proud to say that everyone he played with on that team is a friend. Playing with the guys he played with here, especially over the last four-five-six years, was "a gift."
Thanks the fans. Young says he'll never forget the support that he got from the fans here. It was an honor to get to play for the fans on a daily basis.
Talks about his wife, Christina, who he's known since he was 16. He's thankful for the path that they've taken to get here, and thankful for her. He says his kids are the "driving reason" why he's done playing, because of how difficult it was to be away from them.
Steve Busby says, "Michael Young is a baseball player."
Young is asked about playing for Johnny Oates. He says he played for him for a week at the end of 2000, and then the following spring in spring training. Calls Oates an old school guy, says his first couple of years, the guys he was playing for were Johnny Oates' guys.
Young is asked about being a great two strike hitter. Young says that's actually something he thought he should have been better at. He said he wasn't afraid of being in a two strike count, and so that helped his mindset.
Young is asked about 3000 hits. He says players are driven, they compete, when he was trying to win the batting title he wanted to win it...he said that 3000 hits was something he could have made a run at, but what he's doing now is more important than "chasing a number."
Young says that the 2011 Rangers were better than the Cardinals. He says now that he's retired, he can say that -- the Rangers were the better team.
Young is asked, if he were offered a role where he'd get 600 ABs, could he have a typical Mike Young year? Young says yes, and the Dodgers offered him a great opportunity where he'd have been on the field all the time. He says the Dodgers have the best pitcher in the game, then pauses, and says, "Top two. With Darvish." Jokes that he doesn't want to be thrown out for overlooking Darvish.
Young says he followed what was going on in Texas last year very closely. He said he was calling and texting Elvis in the first half of the season, trying to get him in gear. Says Kinsler is one of his very close friends, talked to Beltre, kept in touch with Wash.
Young was asked what role he sees for himself in the future in the game. He says he wants to take some time off -- if he wanted to be in the game right now, he'd have signed with the Dodgers. But he wants to be involved with the game in the future, he just doesn't know when.
Young says he thinks its important to pass what he's learned on to younger players, because he remembers how important it was for him to learn things from older players when he was coming up. He says talking to minor leaguers was some of his favorite days in spring training. He'd love to be able to help out.
Young is asked if he wants to be a manager some day. He says its not in his plans.
Asked about his most memorable moments. He says that tough. Beating the Yankees and making the World Series in 2010 was really special, and this area changed. That was special because of where they had been and what they'd gone through.
Young is asked what's harder, leaving the Rangers in 2012 or leaving the game now. He says both of them were tough.
Talks about being a leader after the turnover in 2004-05. He says there's only one way to be a leader -- to be yourself. He felt that all eyes were on him. He says that the first day of spring training, he, Alfonso Soriano, and Eric Young were taking ground balls at second base, and Manny Alexander was at shortstop. He realized that wasn't going to work, and went to Buck about changing positions. He felt like there were eyes on him after that, and he wasn't going to change -- he was going to be himself.