"I don't want that anti-Semite", many exclaimed as news broke that the Phillies signed controversial outfielder Delmon Young. People remember the hard-to-forget incident a year ago in New York City. The incident was reported as follows by the New York Post:
Young directed his rage on four men who were in town for a bachelor party when he saw them talking to a yarmulke-and-Star of David-wearing pan handler outside the Hilton Hotel on Sixth Avenue at 2:40 a.m.
He allegedly shouted “You bunch of F-ing Jews!” and pushed the first member of the group that he could get his hands on — Jason Shank, a business man from Schaumburg Ill, sources said.
The 6-3, 240-pound Young allegedly shoved the much smaller Shank, 32, into a hotel wall, and then tackled him before the scuffle was broken up, sources said.
I, for one, am horrified by this incident and find the behavior reprehensible. However, Phillies General Manager, born to a Jewish mother, does not see the worst in Young after this incident.
Amaro told Jon Heyman of CBS Sports that it was a "mistake" that Young made, and not a bias against Jewish people:
I'm part Jewish, so it's a concern to me...He's not an anti-Semite. He made a mistake. Hopefully, he can move on from that.
Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Daily News writes that after the incident Young spent time with a Detroit area Rabbi. Rabbi Joshua Bennett spoke to Brookover:
Out of a strange and unfortunate situation, we have become friends. I have over the course of the last year connected with Delmon. We speak somewhat often and much of what we talk about privately will remain between him and me.
Really, the most important theme is that he is trying to get through this incident and make people recognize this does not define him. He's a good human being and obviously an excellent baseball player. He's very appreciative that he's going to have a chance to prove that to people.
So, Judge the Young move not by his character, but what he may bring to the team. As a fan, my greatest concern is his weight. I do not think the weight is an issue because he eats doughnuts all day, but his brother Dmitri always had to struggle with diabetes and to keep his weight down. The very talented Dmitri had a very up-and-down career with the issues.
If Young is healthy and not burdened by extra weight he can be a very talented player, still young at 27 years old. While the team signed him to a major league contract, he can be cut at any time with the deal only costing the team money. That may be a better risk than trading any of the Phillies' young talent for a marginal player.
Young's rabbi said that he is appreciate of a chance to prove that he is a good guy. I hope that he also appreciates the opportunity to the point where he will do his absolute best to fight genetics as well as he can. Things may turn out to be just fine.