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Dmitri Young is back in the game



Dmitri Young, who I'd argue remains one of the five or six most popular players in Nats history, ended his career quietly in D.C., tearing a quad muscle while on a rehab stint with Harrisburg and then retiring without fanfare. He's since resurfaced as a consultant and hitting instructor with the independent Oakland County Cruisers of the Frontier League. The Detroit Free Press caught up with him recently, and in a video interview, Young reflected on his late-career resurgence in Washington, when he at least temporarily overcame his health problems to become an All-Star.

"You don't want your kids to see you not fighting," Young said. "You don't want your kids to look at you as a loser, somebody that quit. One of life's lessons is, in order to play baseball and to enjoy it, everything in your life's gotta be good. The rebirth of Dmitri started in D.C. I fell in love with the game again. And when it was said and done, my career, I look back, and I ended it the way I wanted to end it. I got a base hit hustling."

The Freep's story focused largely on Young's time in Detroit, but they also talked to Lenny Harris, whom Young gave a great deal of credit for his Washington resurgence.

"I began calling him at 5:30 in the morning," Harris said. "He was overweight. He'd lost his power. He told me, 'I need you to make me better.'"

Harris punished Young, forcing him to throw medicine balls, to run, to lift weights, to pound ball after ball after ball. Hundreds of them. Young worked harder than he ever had, said Harris.

"Dmitri had had it too easy. He was a superstar too quickly," Harris said.

But in those early mornings in Florida, after losing just about everything, Young began to understand what his father, now a close friend, had tried to teach him. The son used that revelation to earn a roster spot with the Nationals. He hit .320 and was named comeback player of the year in 2007.

"To this day I still don't know how to repay him," Young said of Harris.

Well, there has to be a Dmitri Young Day at some point, right? One last bobble head with the little extra-base hand waggle toward the dugout? Right?

(Via @khudak11)

By Dan Steinberg  |  May 25, 2010; 11:11 AM ET
Categories:  Redskins  
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Comments

I believe most of us remember "da Meathook" fondly for that great season. It is too bad for him and the NATS that the next season went the way it did.

Sec 204 Row H Seat 7

Posted by: adhardwick | May 25, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Hey kids, you too can get run off of your team for drinking, beat up your girlfriend, sign on with another team, play your way into a $5 million contract, and then immediately drink your way back out of the league.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | May 25, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

PowerBoater - Maybe your stories about Dmitri are true and maybe they are not.

Maybe Roethlisberger did it and maybe it was all fabricated.

Dmitri for his short stint in Washington seemed to be a great guy and great to the fans. Like Elijah Dukes, so many want to dredge up the past instead of looking at the present and future.

I wish Dmitri good health and happiness.

Posted by: dmacman88 | May 25, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

So he tore the hamstring drinking? Sounds like he was doing it wrong.

Posted by: zimbar | May 25, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Young from my reading has diabetes and that has caused him trouble in maintaining his weight and energy levels.

He has other demons as well as documented but his baseball career I think was ended prematurely by these health issues.

Posted by: leopard09 | May 25, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to know where the info comes on him drinking again. Do you have reliable info on this PB69?

Posted by: fan-o-matic | May 25, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

It's really not important - take it for what it is: Dmitri was not in everyone's Top Five or Six. But I think part of his appeal (for those of us who've got nothing against him) was that he was a bit of a throwback, to when the hard-living Meatball-type was not so uncommon in baseball, and even included some all time greats. They're more like us, I guess.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | May 25, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Powerboater69: As usual your low class style of posting is crass and way out of line, no need to soil a very nice article on "Da Meathook" with your bush league comments so shut the hell up!

Posted by: dargregmag | May 25, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

I always liked Dmitri, and I have some very happy memories of his time here (his July 4 grand slam at RFK among them).

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | May 25, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Dmitri Young is just another 300lb pile of squandered talent, substance abuse, selfishness, diabetes and violence.

I don't blame him for getting all the $$ he could. Who would not have done the same? I blame him for spitting in the face of fans by eating and drinking his way out of the game.

I wish him improved health and happiness, which perhaps he will find out of the spotlight for the rest of his life. He can get a good start by doing something for someone other than himself.

Posted by: ElGordo9 | May 27, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

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