What has made Chris Young a hero in the Bronx?
By Rich Mancuso
BRONX, NEW YORK, SEPTEMBER 12- So what has been the difference for Chris Young since moving to the other side of town with the New York Yankees? Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium he was a triple shy of the cycle and drove in two runs with a solo home run and RBI double in the eighth inning, as the Yankees got the comeback win over Tanpa Bay.
Young did something he was not able to do with the cross-town Mets, a one-year free agent deal of $7.5 million that led to his release on August 15th.
Then there were the heroics Thursday night. Young was the hero breaking up the no-hit bid of Rays’ right-hander Alex Cobb with a double in the eighth inning. And it got better.
Young became the latest Yankees hero in their last at bat when he drove a 96-mile fastball to the stands in left. The sixth walk-off home run of his career and three-run shot kept the Yankees slim playoff chances alive for another day.
So here is the prevailing question: Why has Chris Young suddenly found the magic in Yankees pinstripes when it appeared he was a complete failure on the other side of town?
Baseball is that game of questions and will always leave one perplexed. Young, and of course those Mets fans who wanted him out of town, may also be asking the same question.
Ask the manager. Joe Girardi has been around the game long enough to also try and answer the perplexing question. And Chris Young may not even have a conception about his revivial with a different team in New York, though a change of uniform as they say can sometimes be good for a ballplayer.
In this case, a change and move from Flushing to the Bronx has apparently been the answer for Chris Young. One can debate that the dimensions of Yankee Stadium are a perfect formula for Young, as opposed to the supposed you can’t drive the ball theory that is not made for the hitter at Citi Field.
"He's done an awful lot,” Girardi said. “They said he was a talented player who had a rough year this year. It's amazing how things can turn around for a player. That's a huge hit for us."
A huge hit for Young, one he could not get in Flushing for a good portion of his baseball season in New York. The fact he has become a hero in the Bronx has Mets fans offering their displeasure on social media.
But in the end, Chris Young still deserved an opportunity with the Yankees or another team, whether to make a statement for himself, that his time at Citi Field was a fluke and that the skills were still there.
And it is almost certain that Girardi will have Young inserted again in left field Friday afternoon, in one or two games of a day-night doubleheader down in Baltimore. The Yankees need this type of production with 18-games remaining, trailing by four-games for that second wild card. Young has found the stroke and could be a catalyst to getting runs they have had trouble compiling all season.
“It feels like you’re floating on a cloud,” Young said about the home run, trotting the bases and getting mobbed by his new teammates at home plate. He did not experience that during his time with the Mets, and this new opportunity is like floating on a cloud.
Again as he said the night before, “This is baseball. Funny how things work out. It did not work out with them (Mets) and I get this opportunity. The fans have to understand this is a business and now I am here trying to be a part of helping this team get to the post season.”
So the other prevailing question is: Did Mets GM Sandy Alderson pull the plug too soon on Young and why was Young signed early during that free agent period for a minimal price when power hitter Nelson Cruz, who signed a late and lucrative deal with the Orioles was still on the board?
The issue of Cruz not coming to the Mets, and Young signing for less money to be an important cog in the Mets lineup, is of course always a matter of baseball economics from the Mets point of view.
The Yankees, on the other hand, had nothing to lose. Give Young a minor league stint and the Mets are picking up a good portion of that contract now that he is on the big league roster.
But Chris Young has done better with his new surroundings. It is baseball and why they call this a funny game ,where the unknown is bound to happen. He is happy and so are the Yankees as they have found a productive bat in their lineup at a crucuial and important time.
Mets manager Terry Collins said more than once in his post game meetings with the media about the struggles of Chris Young, “He will become the hitter we all know and it is a matter of adjusting.”
Chris Young may not know the reason for his late season heroics with the Yankees. What matters though are the heroics coming at the right time for a team on the other side of town,
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