Friday, March 16, 2012
Musings: Michael Young's leadership; Game 7 sting
By Jean-Jacques Taylor
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- We are forever having this discussion about leadership in sports and its importance to a team.
We believe the Cowboys struggle, in part, because we don’t respect their leadership in the locker room. We believe the Rangers fight through their adversity because of the leadership guys such as Michael Young.
“I’m not afraid to make one of my teammates uncomfortable, if I have to,” Young said.”If something needs to be said, then I’ll say it. But I’ll say it in private and I’ll say it quickly and one I say it, we’re done with it and we’re back to having fun.
“I’m not the only leader on this team. I’m not the only guy who will say something to someone. we have a lot of guys like that.”
You can see some tangible aspects of Young’s leadership.
He’s the same guy whether he went 5-for-5 the previous day or 0-for-5 with five strikeouts. And he’s the same guy whether the Rangers have won five in a row or lost five in a row.
That’s invaluable during the course of a 162-game season that’s always filled with highs and lows.
“I say stuff to guys, when it needs to be said. And if someone needs to say something to me, they’ll say it,” Ian Kinsler said. “If Mitch Moreland says something to me, I look him in the eye and take it with the same respect as if Michael said it because he’s my teammate and I respect him.”
It’s that type of relationship among players that has helped this team become one of the best in baseball.
* Talk to enough players and it’s not just Game 6 that drives them crazy. It’s having a 2-0 lead in Game 7 and not doing quite enough to get Chris Carpenter out of the game, when they had him on the ropes.
And it’s giving up two runs after having two outs in the first inning because it prevented them from putting pressure on the Cardinals.
* Ron Washington places more emphasis on run production -- runs scored + RBI -- than just about any other individual offensive statistic. He figures if you’re producing runs, then the rest of your offensive statistics will take care of themselves.
In general, producing 170 is a good year, 180-190 runs is an excellent year and 200 is an elite offensive player.
Here are the top five run-producers for the Rangers last season: Kinsler (198), Young (194), Adrian Beltre (187), Josh Hamilton (174) and Nelson Cruz (151).