Michael Young recently collected his 2,000th hit.
I didn't really notice. If I had noticed, I wouldn't have done anything. Right or wrong, fair or not, that particular number just doesn't resonate with me. Perhaps because someone else just reached 3,000. Perhaps because I've witnessed someone reach 4,000 hits. I don't know ... without looking anything up, 2,000 hits seems to me akin to 400 home runs, or 150 wins for a pitcher. A lovely accomplishment, but not worth getting into a lather about.
Anyway, you can definitely count Aaron Gleeman among the Great Unlathered ...
Young is the 234th player to reach 2,000 hits, which isn’t exactly exclusive company. By comparison, only 202 hitters have 250 homers and 203 pitchers have 150 wins, and no one really makes a big deal about either of those milestones.
Oh. Two thousand hits is significantly less common than 400 home runs or 150 wins.
All this seems innocuous enough, doesn't it. Sure, it might be impolite for Gleeman to mention at the Young Family Reunion. Or in the Rangers' clubhouse within earshot of Mr. 2000. But the numbers are the numbers, and nowhere in his post did Gleeman suggest that Michael Young is anything less than a fine player and a model citizen.
Still, that simple numbers-based post brought a cascade of tweets from Brandon McCarthy, a one-time teammate of Young's. Here they are, all put together for your reading convenience:
I read A LOT of nonsense on a daily basis, but this tops the charts today.
"Young is the 234th player to reach 2,000 hits, which isn’t exactly exclusive company" That's like what, 1 out of every 3 people on earth?
"Even reaching 2,000 hits by age 34 isn’t that rare" You're right guy, we should probably stone him in a public square for failing us all.
Every single thing that happens, doesn't have to be contextualized historically. Some things are nice moments. Leave em alone.
Our friend C.J. Nitkowski weighed in, too:
@B__McCarthy 234th player out of 17K to ever play. You know the drill, these guys try to see who can say the dumbest thing 4 most attention.
I don't know. There's some of that, I guess. But I've seen a lot of dumb things on the Web, and Gleeman's post about Michael Young wouldn't make the Top 10,000 List.
Gleeman saw all of those tweets, of course, and finally offered this:
I like @B__McCarthy and his Twitter feed a lot, so his ripping me does make me sad. I'll stop trying to defend myself and just take it.
Five years ago, we wouldn't be having this conversation, because even if Brandon McCarthy and C.J. Nitkowski had read Gleeman's post (which they probably wouldn't have), they wouldn't have had any forum in which to respond.
Twitter's changed all of that, and for the better.
But just in case any of our baseball-playing friends don't realize this, let me be very clear about something, right now and forever ...
We get it.
Oh, I won't suggest that we understand what baseball players go through, to get where they are. We probably underestimate the problems that come with being on the road all the time, and having your fates determined by luck and injuries and opportunities. We don't know anything, really, about your inner lives.
What we do understand is how good you are at what you do. I can promise you, with metaphysical certitude, that Aaron Gleeman knows almost exactly how rare Michael Young's talents are; that Michael Young is one of the few hundred most talented hitters on the whole planet; that what Brandon McCarthy can do every five days (when his shoulder allows) is among the rarest talents in all of sports.
People like me spend a fair amount of time running down Jeff Francoeur's talent, mostly because he's wildly overrated by some baseball men, mostly because Francoeur's a good-looking guy who smiles a lot and is great fun to be around. You know what, though? We also understand that if Francoeur weren't incredibly talented, he wouldn't be able to uncork a throw like this, or rank among MLB's 100 best hitters over these last three seasons.
My baseball-playing friends, you have to understand that we're not writing for you. We're writing for us: All the millions of mere mortals who could never, for any number of reasons, do what you do. We would like to do what you do. We admire what you do, and celebrate what you do. But we also analyze what you do, and we're compelled to point out the relative merits of what you do.
We can't write for you. Lenny Dykstra tried that. Turns out there aren't enough hyper-talented professional athletes to support a glossy magazine. And if you can't even support one of Dykstra's brilliantly conceived business ventures, how do you expect us to include you in our target audience?