The second tide of comments had a lot more for those of us who look to sports for optimism to embrace:
From Jon Daniels: "I understand Michael is frustrated, he's upset. I have all the respect in the world for the guy, and you're never going to hear me or anyone who works here say anything negative about the guy. We hope, with some time, we can get back on the same page."
From Michael Young: "I hope we'll just continue to talk and see where each other stand."
From Nolan Ryan: "Obviously, if [a move to third base is] going to be done, it needs to be agreed upon."
From Daniels: "We think [this move] will bring our club, his team, closer to a World Series, and that's what it will be about. At the end of the day, I think that will resonate with him, as it does with any competitor."
From Young: "The ball is in their court right now. Tomorrow, I'm going to wake up, I'm going to do my workouts, I'm going to go get ready to play winning baseball. As far as what happens at spring training, time will tell."
From Daniels: "I still believe there is a likelihood that we can come together on this and put it behind us. We want to have further discussions with Mike and talk to him about it. We're all preparing for Michael to be an integral part of our team going forward."
From Young: "Having been here as long as I have been, I would love to be here when this team finally breaks through. And I think it could happen soon."
I believe in Michael Young, I believe in Jon Daniels, and I believe in Nolan Ryan. And I am counting on a resolution to this, a positive one, because I know they all want the same thing: To win in Texas.
A little story, one that I hadn't thought about in a long time but makes me realize, just maybe, why this development has been a tough one for me to get my head wrapped around, why it resonates with me though I'm struggling to find any clarity in it.
I was a pretty even-keeled high school kid. I was more passionate on the baseball field than I was in class, which in retrospect I think was mostly because, socially, I was trying to distance myself from being known as "the smart kid."
I'd been a shortstop and pretty much nothing else since T-ball, with only two interruptions: my freshman year at Hillcrest, when I played second base and third base, and my junior year, when Coach Price decided to make me a pitcher for the first time in my life.
As a sophomore, I was Honorable Mention All-District at shortstop. As a junior, I earned Second-Team, playing there on days I didn't pitch. I liked pitching (I struck out 29 batters in 14 innings in my first two games pitched, maybe the greatest adrenaline rush I've ever had playing ball). But I loved shortstop.
I couldn't wait for my senior year. I had it all mapped out - I'd take that next step and earn the first-team district recognition, I'd pitch with more of a plan than I had that first year on the mound, and we'd return to the playoffs, which we'd missed the year before after having reached the post-season my sophomore year.
But then school started in the fall of 1986, and two unexpected things happened: (1) Coach Price disappeared, after more than a decade at Hillcrest, and suddenly we had a new coach, a guy who had run a junior varsity team across town for a couple years; and (2) a kid had transferred to Hillcrest from Iowa, a hotshot sophomore who apparently had some pretty good chops at shortstop. I wasn't crazy about Coach Schrantz taking over, but I was pumped about Tony Olson arriving. The kid was evidently a ballplayer, and he was going to make us better.
I can't remember when it was that Coach Schrantz told me (over the beaten-up Boston cassette tape of his that I think played only "More Than a Feeling" and "Don't Look Back") that I was no longer going to be the starting shortstop and number two starter, but instead an outfielder and relief pitcher.
But I remember my reaction. I was absolutely livid.
Who was this guy coming in here and telling me, a lifelong shortstop and two-year captain of the team, that we were going to be better with a younger kid playing short, and with me playing in the outfield - the outfield - something I'd barely done in 13 years of playing ball? This was probably going to be my final year as a baseball player, and I was being told I needed to be at a less critical position, to make room for a kid who nobody had seen play. It was a slap in the face.
As even-keeled as I was, this set me off (privately).
Then I went out and had more fun playing baseball than I've ever had.
It turned out my arm, which was my best tool, was more reliable from 250 feet than from 120. Going in, I thought of the outfield as an insult, an eviction, a death sentence. But Tony was pretty dependable at shortstop, I made First-Team All-District as an outfielder, and, most important to me, then and now, we made it back into the playoffs.
When I tried in 1987 and 1989 to walk onto the baseball team at the University of Texas, I did so as an outfielder. I didn't make the team either time. I remember thinking to myself, during those two experiences and a thousand times since, I wonder how things might have worked out differently if someone had made me an outfielder before I was 18.
Not that I would have been any less outraged - at the time - when I was told my team would be better with me moving away from shortstop.
There's probably more to this latest Rangers story than we know, but I think I'm at the point that it doesn't matter to me who said what, how it was delivered, or how it was received. What I care about now is how it gets resolved, by people who care about the same things, the right things.
I'm going to draw on some of that old even keel of mine and calmly bank on the leaders of the Rangers organization - the Player and the GM and the President - getting this thing worked out, moving forward, getting along, and winning.
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(c) Jamey Newberg
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