Wednesday, July 11, 2007

All Star Game Belongs to Dmitri Young

Gadabout is not going to take any cheap shots at the NL after a nail biting bottom of the ninth victory for the AL. It was a great game and will most likely go down in the annals of baseball history as one of the most exciting, professional and colorful All Star Games ever played. It was a class act from beginning to end. If you had to turn off the game because it was just too late in the evening for those of you on the east coast who had to get some quality rack time before hitting the office, then you missed out. The starting times for these games are always late for EDT households, but I guess the marketing department has it all figured out—we won’t win this fight.

What made this game sensational for me was that the players really seemed to enjoy themselves. The players played as a team, and the teams were both led by baseballs finest; Jim Leyland and Tony La Russa. Even Barry Bonds appeared happy!

The fans were treated to homeruns, an in the park homerun (the first in All Star History) by Ichiro Suzuki, 5 broken bats, stolen bases, A Rod and Jeter smiling together, an aging albeit tough umpire, and a bases loaded ninth inning finish. But there was another charmed whisper of goodness that occurred last night that was detected by Gadabout that was important, and that was the play making by Dmitri Young of the Nationals.

Dmitri Young was released last year by the Tigers because of a continued track record of personal problems. Problems ranging from divorce, drug and alcohol abuse to domestic violence, and most recently his battle with diabetes. Dmitri’s play is exciting. Upon first glance you have a tendency to dismiss him as a threat. He is frumpy looking, his shirt never stays tucked in, he sweats a lot and his grooming standards mirror 1970’s Detroit popularity. But when he walks to the plate and takes a swing, you think twice of those preconceived notions of a no-talent fat boy.

Young sat out the end of the 2006 season and watched from the sidelines, unemployed, as his Tigers made it to the World Series. That must have cut deep. But 2007 offered him hope as the Nationals picked him up for a mere $500,000. A bargain for the National’s, but the investment came with risk.

For Dmitri, his entire career came down to his plate appearance at the bottom of the ninth with 2 outs. The game was considered over—lost for the NL at that point. But Dmitri made it on base (an error, but he kept it alive) and subsequently scored, helping the NL make a run of it and load the bases with a one run deficit and two outs. The NL lost, but for Dmitri, well Dmitri experienced redemption last night. I saw a smile on his face that I hadn’t seen in years, and I am guessing those smiles turned to tears once the cameras were taken away and he settled into the solitude of his hotel room. I hoped he cried, because Dmitri made a difference last night. Last night belongs to second chances and forgiveness. Last night belongs to Dmitri Young.

The record books won't reflect this, but that's okay. You know it, I know it, and Dmitri knows it. Baseball is special this way.

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