I've always liked Rockies utility man Eric Young Junior. Tonight though, I fell in love with him...in a baseball sense.
At Coors Field, the Mets put up a 4 spot in the 5th inning to take a 6-2 lead. Young led off the bottom of the 5th and hit a one hopper back to pitcher Chris Schwinden who threw to first. The throw was a little high and pulled first baseman Zach Lutz (who had his first ML hit tonight) off the bag. Not a big deal. Well, it wasn't just anyone jogging down to first. It was Young who ran full speed out of the box and dove into the bag to avoid the tag. Safe.
Mets Manager Terry Collins came out to argue but Young was clearly safe. The play and argument may have unnerved Schwinden as the Rockies proceeded to tack on 11-runs.
Young, by simply running hard down the line, sparked the team to an 18-9 win. Not often the key play in a game is a routine come-backer to the mound. Most guys would have jogged down the line or made a token effort. Can you imagine Manny Ramirez or Barry Bonds busting it down the line? Neither can I.
After the game, I talked with Young in the Rockies clubhouse. I asked him, "So many guys wouldn't have run hard down the line. Why did you?" He said, "That's the way I play. That's what you're supposed to do." Exactly. I love hustling ballplayers. Eric Young Junior is one of those hustling ballplayers. I've never seen him coast on the field...ever. And with his display tonight I'm pretty sure I'll never see him loaf on the field.
Lastly, I told Young that I appreciated the way he plays the game. I truly meant it. He graciously thanked me. Not only is he a hustling, full effort player, he's a pretty nice fellow too.
On another note, Scott Hairston of the Mets hit for the cycle and drove in 4 runs. It was the 10th cycle in Mets history. It would have been nicer for Hairston if the Mets had won but...the Rockies bats and the heart of E.Y. Jr. prevented that from happening.