ATLANTA -- A little more than two months after winning the World Series, Braves first-base coach Eric Young Sr. can also proudly boast about his youngest son starring in one of Netflix’s most popular series.
As Dallas Young has occasionally spent time with his father at the ballpark over the past few seasons, he has endeared himself to players, coaches and fans with his bright smile and positive energy. Now, the 14-year-old actor is building a much larger fan base, playing the role of Kenny Payne in the recently released fourth season of "Cobra Kai."
“As a father, I love the fact he’s doing something he genuinely loves and has a passion for,” the Braves coach said. “He’s not doing it just for the money. He’s doing it because he loves it and he wants to be the best. I’ll always remember the one goal he had. He said, ‘Daddy, one day we’re going to walk the red carpet together.’”
Dallas Young has previously starred in Nickelodeon’s "Cousins for Life" and he has made appearances on a number of other shows, including "9-1-1," "Shameless" and "The Fosters." But he has now found what could prove to be a career-altering role.
"Cobra Kai" has ranked as Netflix’s top show in the United States since the fourth season was released on New Year’s Eve. The internationally popular show serves as a sequel to the "Karate Kid" movies from the 1980s. Young was introduced in this fourth season to play the role of a young kid who is bullied while being introduced to a new city and school.
“This show is just phenomenal,” Young Sr. said. “Dallas has become an instant star. So, he doesn’t need to be holding on to dad’s shorts anymore. He’s got his own fan club out there. It’s been great to see.”
Adding to the splendor of this experience is the fact "Cobra Kai" is primarily filmed in the Atlanta area. So, father and son have had a lot of time to bond over the past couple years. Dad was on set to watch filming whenever possible, and Dallas traveled with the Braves all the way through their World Series victory on Nov. 2.
Dallas was present for every home and road game during the postseason. But when the Braves held their victory parade on Nov. 5, he had already returned to the set to begin filming the fifth season of "Cobra Kai."
“It was so good to have him here to experience the championship run and then to go right into, you know, his line of work,” Young Sr. said. “You know how he smiles and everything, but when they say action, he turns into that character instantly.”
One of Young Sr.’s favorite moments on the set occurred recently, when Dallas went to work dealing with a sore leg. There was some concern the discomfort might limit some of his kicks. But it didn’t take long for him to erase those concerns.
“His kicks and everything were unbelievable,” Young Sr. said. “I was like, ‘That’s my son.' I was smiling from cheek to cheek. I could just see him lock in. That’s a tremendous trait to have at a young age. His concentration and focus is just unreal.”
After enjoying a 15-season big league career that included 462 stolen bases, Young Sr. saw his son Eric Young Jr. experience a 10-season career, which included stints with five different clubs, including the Braves in 2015.
Dallas may have also possessed the physical and mental talents necessary to be a successful athlete. He has impressed while shagging fly balls or taking batting practice with his dad before games. But he was never pressured to play sports. Instead, he was allowed to simply pursue his primary passion.
“If he was pursuing baseball or something like that, I think he’d be the best of my little Young game, which includes me and Jr.,” Young Sr. said. “I think he’s the one who would have had it all. He’s an athlete, but I’m glad he’s taking this route.”