The reason Michael Young objected to the move from shortstop to third base, he said, had much to do with pride. He's proud of how far he has come as a shorstop and the work he has put in to becoming a Gold Glove winner. Here is an exceprt from what he told four reporters during a teleconferece he requested Thursday afternoon.
"There are certain factors that come into this, and one is pride. Absolutely, I’m proud. Without a doubt. Pride isn’t something you can shut on and off. Pride helps you become the player that I am. It’s not just something I can shut on and shut off as a matter of convenience. I think what enables me to go out and play at a high level is because I take pride in my game. I think Nolan understood that. If you’re not proudly resistant to something like this, what does that say about what you think you’ve done in the past? What does that say about what you think you’re going to do in the future?
"The bottom line is this, too: When I had this conversation with the team a month ago, I didn’t think it was my time then, I don’t think it’s my time now. I don’t. I’m going to sit here and change my mind over night. I don’t think this is the time for me to switch from that position. I feel like I’m playing well at that position. But, having said that, it’s not my call. My responsibility now is to 24 other guys. Those are 24 guys who I’ve gotten in touch with a lot the past few days, and those are 24 guys who support me completely and my stance. But I have to be fair. And in fairness to them and in fairness to everybody, it’s time to move on and start playing winning ball.
"I thought I was moving to short for good, too, and next thing I’m playing third base. I didn’t think I’d be playing third base in 2009, but I am. The last thing I’m ever going to think about is something for good. From what I’ve learned the last month or so, nothing is for good. So, what I want to do now is focus on being ready for the season and play the kind of baseball I can play. My stance about playing shortstop is on several levels. I have pride in my game, and that’s not something I’m going to apologize for. I have pride in the fact that I do this at a high level. I’m not ready to move. If I disagree, I’m going to fight you on it. It’s as simple as that. I’m not afraid to do that. I’m not afraid to stand up from what I believe in.
"Coming up through the minor leagues … everything I heard every day was, ‘When you get to the big leagues, you get a job and you hold onto it. You don’t let anybody take it away from you. It’s yours.’ That really resonated with me because I knew that when I got to the big leagues, this is my job. When I got to second base and I got my job questioned the first couple years, I’m holding on harder and harder and harder to the point where, ‘This is mine. I’m not letting go.’ I get to shortstop, and I’m squeezing this thing now. ‘This is mine. This is nobody else’s. You can’t take this from me, and I’m going to go out and show you on the field that I deserve this job. This is mine.’ And I still feel that way. To that end, I’m not going to be apologetic, but at the end of this day I feel like this is going to happen at the beginning of spring training. The team said, ‘You’re playing third. There’s no wiggle room.’ So my best thing now is to throw this upon putting myself and my team in the best chance of being successful.
"This is not going to be an easy move. Third base, just because you’re going 40 feet to your right, it isn’t a slam-dunk move. It isn’t a piece of cake. I was telling my wife I might as well be moving to left field. This is a different position. Granted, some of the balls still come on the ground and my throws still go to first base, but I’m no longer up the middle of the field. That was one of things that I was initially angry about. I’m not in the middle of the field anymore. You’re putting me in a corner now, and you’re asking me to learn it right away. That was something that I feel like I really have to go to work on it."
-- Jeff Wilson