Young reprises role as AL hero
Shortstop collects second game-winning RBI in three Classics
NEW YORK -- Being an All-Star is old hat for Rangers shortstop Michael Young, who made his fifth Midsummer Classic appearance Tuesday night. Playing the role of hero is getting pretty familiar, too.
Young, named the All-Star MVP in Pittsburgh two years ago after hitting a two-run triple in the ninth inning, supplied the game-winning RBI for the American League again Tuesday with a 15th-inning sacrifice fly that ended an epic 4-3 battle.
"You can always expect something crazy to happen at Yankee Stadium," Young said. "Fifteen innings and it ends on a sacrifice fly? That sounds about right."
Just another vivid memory for the franchise-record four Texas All-Stars to take home from the 79th All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium -- the last Midsummer Classic to be played at The House That Ruth Built before a new Yankee Stadium opens across the street in the Bronx next spring.
There were some disappointing moments for the Rangers, but it truly was a classic.
Young, who went 1-for-4, lost his first chance at being the game's hero when Dioner Navarro of the Rays got thrown out trying to score from second on his 11th-inning single. Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler had his chance in the 12th, but grounded out with runners at second and third to end the inning.
"We had a lot of chances to win that thing, and so did they," Young said. "But it really wasn't that tense at all. We knew if we kept getting guys out there, eventually someone would find a way to get someone in."
Kinsler had a feeling that someone would be Young.
"He's just so good in those situations," Kinsler said. "In every situation, really. That's why he's a five-time All-Star."
"I've really enjoyed myself," said Young. "I'd love to be an All-Star every year, and they're all great, but this one was special because of the circumstances. This being the last year here, if I had to pick one to go to, this would be it. I really wanted to be a part of it."
Part of his role was serving as something of a father figure for his first-time teammates.
"I've definitely called him a few times since we got here," copped Kinsler, who entered the game in the fifth inning and went 1-for-5. "I'm like, 'What are you doing? Where are you? Should I be there?'"
Rangers outfielder Bradley, who started at designated hitter and went 0-for-2 with a walk, expressed similar -- and understandable -- feelings of unfamiliarity.
"It was about what I thought, a lot of moving and shaking," Bradley said. "Us [All-Star] rookie guys don't really know what's going on. We're like, 'Where do we go? What do we do?'"
Young's advice? Go everywhere. Do everything.
"I just told them to soak it all in, enjoy every little thing about it," Young said. "You never know when it's going to be your last All-Star Game."
Kinsler obviously hopes it isn't his last, but if it is, it's something of which he'll be forever proud. All-Stars Kinsler, Young, outfielder Josh Hamilton and Bradley bat leadoff through cleanup during the regular season.
"That has to be very rare," Kinsler said. "I don't know how many times in Major League history the top four guys in one team's lineup made the All-Star Game, but it's great. And what's really cool is we all get along so well."
Even more rare: The Rangers became the first team to have three All-Stars steal a base in the same game. Bradley, Kinsler and Hamilton, who went 1-for-3, each swiped a bag.
"That's pretty cool," Kinsler said. "We'll have to get all over [Young] for not getting one."
Bradley said he didn't have any nerves working before the game, but his body was telling him he was part of something special.
"No butterflies, but lot of other feelings all jumbled up," Bradley said.
Young, the Midsummer veteran, said he gets butterflies before every All-Star Game.
"A little bit, because it's a real game," Young explained. "Baseball has the best All-Star Game, hands down. In hockey, they don't really go all-out because the sport's so physical, and you don't want to hurt anyone for the rest of the season. Football's Pro Bowl is at the end of the year, so a lot of guys are already banged up; a lot of the best players don't even play. And basketball, it's no defense and a bunch of alley-oops. Our game is a real game, and guys are getting after it.
"You're obviously not going to take someone out on purpose, but you're still out there going hard, and that's what I love about playing in these games so much."
That might be why he has a habit of coming up big when he's there.
"It feels good," Young said. "I made a concerted effort to really try to win this game. I thought we had it [in the 11th], but we didn't. I'm glad I got another chance."
Mychael Urban is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.