Sacrifice. Leader.

Sometimes there’s a fine line, if any line at all, between news and gossip, between fire and smoke, between what belongs in a COFFEY and what warrants a report.  

On Sunday I set up an alert for Adrian Beltre updates, and despite the lack of any concrete developments the thing has metastasized with such ferocity that I think I disabled the iPhone alarm function worldwide.  

This morning I woke up to 234 new Beltre updates that had landed since I went to sleep.  I’m not going to read any of them, because my Google Reader has no real news to report, and because the day job beckons.  

But there is news of a sort, as Michael Young apparently told the Rangers over the weekend and then the local press last night that he’s willing to move off of third base and into a DH role that would also involve occasional relief duties around the infield.  Mark DeRosa, if you want to imagine a former Young teammate.  Paul Molitor, if you want to think bigger about the path Young’s career is on.

Jim Sundberg is the Rangers’ franchise leader in sacrifice bunts and Ruben Sierra leads it in career sacrifice flies, but Michael Young – say what you will about his competence defensively and whether this voluntary move was prescribed (and when) with his blessing or without it – is its leader in sacrifices, and its leader in being a leader.  

I don’t know if Beltre will end up signing here (though one local report this morning describes a Monday night “sense of optimism that a deal would be reached”), but now it appears the primary and perhaps only hurdle to clear is an acceptable set of years and dollars, and not the potential disruption (probably an understatement) in the clubhouse if Young were to be stripped of his glove against his wishes, or traded.

Young’s fierce pride, his John Locke-esque “Don’t tell me what I can’t do” attitude, sets a tone that fires this team.  He’s a pro’s pro, this franchise’s Roger Staubach, its Troy Aikman, a man who leads because he’s supposed to, not because he insists on it.  

Is there still a direction that this story could take that would lead Young to request a trade, or at least express an openness to it?  Sure, I guess.  But for now he’s put the team ahead of his pride as a ballplayer, a gesture of sacrifice that gives us one more reason to be thankful that, regardless of his role on the field, Young remains the Rangers’ most important man in uniform off of it.  

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