Young family had chance to bond at Spring Training
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- For some families, Major League Baseball runs in the veins. From the Griffeys to the Alous to the Boones, some families' lineages include pine tar and the 4-6-3 double play passed from generation to generation.
The Young family is no different. Eric Young Sr.'s playing career spanned 1992-2006, and a good chunk of that was spent with the Colorado Rockies. His son, Eric Jr., followed in those mile-high footsteps and has spent his entire four-year Major League career with the Rockies.
This spring, father and son shared the same clubhouse at the Rockies' Salt River Fields Spring Training complex in Scottsdale, as the elder Young was brought on as a special instructor for the Cactus League.
"To have my original coach here. It's a dream come true for, I think, both of us," Eric Jr. said.
Young Sr. is one of many former Rockies players now serving as a coach for the organization. Former shortstop Walt Weiss was named the team's manager in November, outfielder Dante Bichette is the hitting coach, and third baseman Vinny Castilla is a special assistant. Bringing in those players from the Rockies' past has brought a swagger back to the current roster.
"They went out there hard nosed and just played ball, so I just think they are trying to instill that new attitude," Young Jr. said. "Bringing those guys around, they're credible with what they're saying, because obviously that was the era that most of us grew up watching."
Young Jr. grew up watching those players from a much closer vantage point than most. According to his father, that has helped him with his current coaching staff.
"[As a kid] he always went up to players and talked to players and everything. So it's easy for [him] to relate to the Walt Weisses, the Dante Bichettes, the Vinny Castillas. He knows these guys," Young Sr. said. "He pretty much feels like he grew up with them coming around the locker room so much, and they know him as well."
Getting to mix former teammates with family created a special Cactus League experience for Young Sr.
"I was there from the beginning, and now my son is now currently a player," he said. "To come back to be an instructor, to be around the best of both worlds -- the Rockies and actually spend time with my son -- is just tremendous."
So for some, the Cactus League meant getting back into shape or battling for roster spots, but for the Youngs, it was a family affair.