The Young and the Peerless

Baseball's best-kept secret plays in your backyard

"He's the face of our franchise," says Rangers senior director of media relations Gregg Elkin. "You could do a lot worse than building a team's image around Michael Young."

This week the Rangers will put up billboards along I-30 near Dallas and in Arlington congratulating Young on his All-Star MVP honor. Sales of his No. 10 jersey have caught and are starting to nudge ahead of teammate Mark Teixeira. Young isn't, however, in the same stratosphere of popularity as franchise icons Greer, Ivan Rodriguez and Nolan Ryan. Nor is he, upon further review, perfect.

After raising the MVP trophy in Pittsburgh, Young arrived in Baltimore and promptly went 2 for 16 during the Rangers' disappointing weekend split. Through the first 17 days of July, he had as many strikeouts as hits. Worse yet, he inexplicably admires Barry Bonds.

Forgive him. But it's now impossible to forget him.

During a recent interview Young was posed this nonsensical question: "Of all the players and people at the All-Star Game, who were you most excited and nervous to meet?" The answer: "Nobody, really."

You get the feeling people are about to start getting excited and nervous about meeting Michael Young.

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