Chris Crossed

There is probably no Arizona Diamondbacks player who should be looking forward to the end of the 2009 season than center fielder Chris Young. Young has unfairly become the poster child for all that went wrong this season for the Diamondbacks.

As the season began Young was being counted on to lead the group of core young outfielders to help the Arizona Diamondbacks rebound from a disappointing second place finish in the National League West to once again battle the Los Angeles Dodgers for the divisional title. Instead Young found himself marred in a season long slump.

This was not some kind of ordinary slump that lasts a few games. This was one of those epic yips that leave you scratching your head wondering what happened. Young went from being talked about being one of the best young centerfielders in the game to being compared to one of the biggest busts in Major League Baseball.

With each game where he struggled, the pressure mounted on Young. Finally the Diamondbacks could no longer sit by and watch their outfielder struggle any longer. They sent him to Triple-A Reno to help him get his confidence back.

While that was probably the right move, it was a dicey proposition. An inexperienced player such as Young might view this demotion as a further example that he really doesn’t have the skills to play at the highest levels. Young took the demotion in stride and went to Reno with a positive attitude.

During his minor league stint Young was able to find some success hitting .370 during this time. He was recalled on August 29 returning to the big leagues. In his first few games after returning Young continued to struggle going 1-9. In the stands there were fans questioning why Young was brought back at all and on more than one occasion you could hear comments hoping that General Manager Josh Byrnes would make another trade sending Young out of town.

It was not just the fans who were calling for Young’s benching. Local sports talk radio announcers also took this opportunity to jump on the criticism bandwagon beating a player while he was down.

Credit goes to the Diamondbacks and manager AJ Hinch who never lost faith in Young and continued to stand behind their centerfielder despite his struggles. That patience was rewarded in Colorado when Young broke out hitting three home runs in the final game of the series with the Rockies.

Young continued this mini-power surge hitting home runs in two of the next three games. Since that fateful game in Colorado Young has hit safely in eight of the last nine games. Many of the hits he has received have been extra base hits including a double in last night’s game in San Diego.

Hopefully he will continue to have some success during these last three weeks of the season and carry that into the long off-season and return to Tucson next February with the confidence that he does belong on the roster and is vital to the Diamondbacks success.

Chris needs to realize that in our lives there is opposition in all things. For every trough or valley there is an equal peak. Given what must seem like the deepest low he has ever experienced in his life; he must remember that there will be success at the same level of magnitude.

I’m personally pulling for Chris Young. He is quickly becoming one of the best players I have ever seen roam center at Chase Field. I am looking forward to watching him play for the Diamondbacks for a very long time. And as his long and illustrious career ends many years from now we will look back and remember how far he has come.

My advice to Young is to ignore the jeers and the mindless talking heads and remember the love you have for this game and the admiration you have from the fans that appreciate how difficult this game can be. We’re pulling for you Chris. Hang in there.


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