ARLINGTON, Texas -- Michael Young's playing career is over. But his time as a Texas Ranger needs to continue.
Young said goodbye to the game officially Friday at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, but general manager Jon Daniels hinted he'd like to see more of Young around the club for years to come.
The two haven't even talked about that and Young will certainly want to spend some quality time with his wife and three boys. But the 37-year-old admitted that he wouldn't be able to stay away from the game, and Daniels wants to see him work with the Rangers in some sort of capacity.
"If Michael wants to be involved in the game, it should be here in Texas," Daniels said.
No doubt about that. Young was the face of the franchise for years. He represented resilience, a tremendous work ethic and a driving force to improve. He fell in love with the community and the community loved him back. So when the time comes for Young to jump back in, there's a place for him in Texas.
"We haven’t had the first conversation about it, but as you’re around players, certain guys stand out that might fit in certain roles," Daniels said. "Michael has a lot of the attributes we look for. He’s got good judgement, he's intelligent, mature, and more importantly he’s hard working. He’s no frills. He knows the game. Something he always talked about was not resting on your laurels and looking to improve every year.
"Those are all pretty impactful messages. It wasn’t talk. That’s how he lived his life and played the game. Over the years, we brought in some former players and some great ones -- Greg Maddux and Tony Fernandez, for example. Now we’re able to bring back Rangers into the fold like Pudge Rodriguez and Darren Oliver."
Young belongs with those guys here. This is his home and this is his team. And as Daniels mentioned, the way Young goes about preparing for games, keeping his body in top shape (the guy was never on the DL -- yeah, never) and how he mentally handles the grind of a big league season are valuable things to pass along to younger players.
"I'm open to it without a doubt," Young said about staying involved, though he added that he doesn't see himself managing one day. "I want to get back in the game at some point. Baseball is in my blood."
It seems like a role perfectly suited to Young, who was a huge leader for this team more by example than anything else.
"You have to be yourself," Young said. "If they're following, you're a leader. Simple as that."
Young should enjoy some time with his family. He's earned that. But count me among those hoping he returns to the game soon. He's got so much knowledge and a group of young players ready to listen to what he has to say and learn something.