Hello everybody and welcome to this months web chat here at texasrangers.com. Don't forget though out the offseason, your place for Rangers Baseball is right here at texasrangers.com. We have a very special guest today for a web chat, Rangers All-Star Shortstop Michael Young. Michael, how are you doing?
Michael: Good Chuck, how are you?
Chuck: I'm doing good. We got some questions from some fans, but first, I had a guy the other come up to me in the grocery store and he wanted to know where we were when we did these web chats. Well we are right down in the tunnel at the ballpark and right behind us, your batting cage.
Michael: Yep, that's it.
Chuck: Alright, first question for Michael Young comes from Dustin, and he addresses you as Mr. Young.
Michael: Oh, I hope he's 10!
Chuck: Mr. Young, you have been my favorite player for a long time and I hope to see you play next season. Do you have any tips on hitting opposite field? Question submitted by: Dustin Hadley
Michael: The biggest thing is making sure is that you get a good pitch to hit. Whether the ball is in, out, or outside, you can go the other way with any of them. The biggest thing is making sure it's a good pitch to hit and seeing the ball as deep as possible. If you foul a couple of balls off that way you're actually on the right path. Staying on top of everything and see if you can get some back spin the other way.
Chuck: Back in September, we honored Rudy Jaramillo; he was inducted into the [Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum] Hall of Fame. Has Rudy helped you a lot?
Michael: I can't even begin to say where my career would be without him. He's an incredible hitting coach, he someone that I trust, someone whose advise is invaluable on the field and off. Without him, I wouldn't be where I am right now.
Chuck: Does Rudy ever get made at you?
Michael: Yeah, yeah he does!
Chuck: For what, what would he get mad at you about?
Michael: If he thinks I tossed away an at bat and he thinks I didn't put everything into it, he'll let me know about it. He doesn't nearly as much as he used to. When I was a little younger, he used to get after me quite a bit. But that's just his way. It's that tough love. Some guys respond well to it and some guys don't. I happen to respond well to that.
Chuck: You had some really nice things to say about him and I'm sure he appreciated it.
Michael: I'm glad I was able to be a part of it.
Chuck: What made you choose the Rangers and what are your plans for a "forever" stay? Question submitted by: Sally Putirskis
Michael: When I signed my extension last spring, 2007, and I really felt like at that point in my career I was ready to take off. I wanted to be in one spot and I wanted to play here in Texas and I thought I would get most of my enjoyment out of being at a point where I've been in my career and seeing it all the way through, seeing it full circle, and winning here. I thought that would be the most enjoyable way. I knew free agency was right around the corner and, you know, I'm from the west coast and I've always enjoyed playing on the east coast. So those things were tempting but nothing like me staying here and finishing my career here and seeing a winner being built here.
Chuck: Next question, what was the biggest change you had to make from second base to shortstop? Question submitted by: Lon Oakley
Michael: The biggest thing was just angles. And it actually took a lot longer than I thought it would. It's tough to really bear down on jumps. You realize you have way more time at second base than you do at shortstop. And you really have to make sure you cut down your angles. It gets tough and the biggest thing is making sure you stay after it, stay in a zone on defense, too, just like you would on hitting. Make sure that you never, never take for granted that first step. That first step is massive and I'm still trying to make sure I get better at it.
Chuck: Well you had a good year. You led the shortstops in fielding percentage. Was that a tough decision for you? Was that something you lost a little sleep over making that decision?
Michael: Sure. Sure, I did. It was initially it was definitely a tough decision because I felt like second base was where I was home. I had established my self there. I felt like my best years defensively were ahead of me. At the time, I felt like I was getting robbed of seeing where I could end up at second base. But at the end of the day, the team thing kind of over ridded everything and the best move for me and the team was for me to play short. So, that's what I did.
Chuck: What do you think of Josh Hamilton and the way he has been hitting? And what has he meant to the team this season? Question submitted by: Beverly Wooten
Michael: He's been incredible. The fun part about seeing Josh is seeing him in the league for the first time. I'm more proud of him, it has nothing to do with his numbers, I don't judge things on that, but how he's been doing over the last month [August/September], because this is his first full season and first season in a new league, and for him to really pound away and finish out this season with a bang is something I've been really proud of him for.
Chuck: Michael, are you ever going to play in the UCSB Alumni Game again? I live a couple hours from Santa Barbara and drove down to watch it when you went a couple of years ago, but it got rained out and I didn't get to see you. I would be so excited if you did!!! I only get to see you play when you guys come to Oakland or Anaheim. Question submitted by: Amanda Weaver
Michael: UC Santa Barbara is where I went to college. Our alumni game happens every offseason. When I was in the minor leagues, I went all the time, but I've been spending so much time in the Metroplex over the past few years because right when the alumni time is that's when I'm hitting with Rudy here and lifting with Jose, our strength coach, so I don't really get the opportunity to really leave here. I went back a couple of years ago but it got rained out. That was the last time I had been there, but hopefully I can get back there soon.
Chuck: I'm familiar with the Foresters because my son played the Foresters for a little bit and got to play in the Midnight Sun Game up in Alaska. Talk a little bit about the Santa Barbara Foresters.
Michael: Yeah, I played in Santa Barbara Foresters, it's a summer league they have up there. I ended up playing in Alaska during my summers when I was at Santa Barbara. But it's really an incredible area (Santa Barbara). The weather is unbelievable, apart from that rain out we had in January, but it was a great place to go to school. I wouldn't change it for a thing.
Chuck: Being from the west coast, how about you love for the Los Angeles Lakers? You're a big Lakers fan, right?
Michael: Oh... yes I am. It's kind of like it comes in the water over there. You're a Lakers fan at birth. We don't have a football team any more. I was really a Raiders fan but that kind of faded away. You know, there are two baseball teams there and the Clippers don't seem to match up. So the Lakers, it's a massive thing over there, a massive following for basketball in LA. Even though I've been here and I happen to be a big Mavs fan, I'm a huge Cowboys fan; the Lakers are someone that I just can't get enough of it.
Chuck: I knew you were a big Cowboys fan which is why we had you catch the first pitch when Michael Irvin threw it.
Our next question, is it hard to balance family life with your All-Star baseball life? Where is your all-time favorite place to eat in Arlington? Question submitted by: Adriana Farias
Michael: Baseball life, it gets tough. I'm obviously in a hotel for three months out of the season. We have a six month season and half the time I'm living in a place that's not home. That gets pretty difficult. My sons at an age where he knows when I'm leaving, and that's obviously really tough. But on the bright side, I don't have a job in the offseason. I'm not going 9-5, Monday through Friday. I'm home all the time, so I get to catch up on my time with my family for four months and that's always great. It is tough during the season for sure.
Chuck: So if we went out to eat in Arlington, where would you want to go?
Michael: Actually, my favorite place is right here on Collins. It's call la Mexicana. It's a little place where I always get my carne asada and we take it back to the house and cook it up there. But that's the place that my wife and I always stop in and take it home.
Chuck: What about Dallas over all, the entire Metroplex?
Michael: I would go to Shinsei. It's a place right by my house, right off of Inwood and Lovers Lane. It's my favorite place to eat, by far.
Chuck: What is your favorite thing to do during the offseason? Question submitted by: Stephanie Bickley
Michael: I love time with my family because that's the number one thing. But I love to play golf, catch up on that. Golf is a way for me to relax in the off season and not take it nearly as seriously as I do when I play for the Rangers but it's still a way to stay competitive and have a fun day. I love to play as much golf as I can and love to watch football. Those are my top two.
Chuck: What is the strangest thing you have ever been asked to autograph? Question submitted by: Becky Cange
Michael: Let's see, um... foreheads. Probably a baby is the oddest one. Signing a baby's cheek I think. I'm not really sure if I was comfortable with that. Probably shouldn't have even done it, but the mom asked me to do it. If it was the dad, I would have said no, I need permission from the mother. But the mother asked me to do it so I couldn't really refuse that request. But I did think it was a bit odd to say the least.
Chuck: Y'all had a lot of fun this year, but what about the night it was raining at Shea Stadium and you took off out on the tarp?
Michael: That was fun. You know, we were in New York. It was the first time I had been to Shea Stadium. We knew right away when the rain came that we were done; we knew we weren't going to play that night. I forget whose idea it was but it was either [Ian] Kinsler or Josh [Hamilton]. They said 'Let's go for a tarp slid.' And I was like, I'm in! My sister was there and I had to go outside to get on my phone to tell her the game was cancelled and to wait for me in the family area. When I get off the phone, I hear the crowd going crazy. Sure enough, I get to the dugout and they are already out there, so I'm just kicking off my shoes as fast as I can and went out there and joined them. It was pretty crazy to have a New York crowd chanting 'Let's go Rangers.' It was a blast. Even though it had nothing to do with baseball, it was one of the more fun nights of the year.
Chuck: You know, Michael, you are one of those guys like Rusty Greer, that when you are in that on deck circle there's not anybody that we would rather have coming up to bat in a clinch game situation than Michael Young. You found yourself in that again at the All-Star Game, so what were you thinking?
Michael: You know, it's funny. I was talking to a lot of guys who I played with at the All-Star Game, over the years I've gotten to become friends with a lot of guys that always seem to end up there. And I was talking to Derek [Jeter] about it was I was like 'you have the easy job. You get two or three at bats, no pressure, because the beginning of those games is nothing, just the buzz from the crowd, nothings on the line. He gets three innings and a standing O [ovation] then I go and pick you up and I get all the tough at bats.' So that's been the interesting part about coming in late. I love it. That's why whether it's the All-Star Game or not, those are at bats that are incredibly competitive. When I know something's on the line, I really want to step up and answer the challenge.
Chuck: Michael, we appreciate your time today.
Michael: Thank you, Chuck.
Chuck: All-Star Shortstop Michael Young right here on texasrangers.com. Be with us next month, our guest is going to be Second Baseman, Ian Kinsler. Again, anything Rangers Baseball, come right here to texasrangers.com.
Submit your questions for our December web chat for Rangers All-Star Center Fielder Josh Hamilton. Questions will be accepted until midnight on October 15.
Chuck Morgan is the voice of Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.