Eric Young Jr. opens up to Angels teammates
By Pedro Moura
On Jan. 24, Eric Young Jr. agreed to a minor league contract with the Angels to compete for a spot on their bench. On Jan. 26, he and his wife of four years, Victoria, welcomed their first child, Eric Young III, into the world, three months premature, too much so to survive. They held their baby boy in their hands for one night before he died.
At Angels camp four weeks later, Young stood in the middle of the Tempe Diablo Stadium clubhouse and relayed his family’s story of hardship. Please, he told his new teammates, do not be afraid to talk to me, about this or about anything.
“He knows that generally in those types of circumstances, teammates, coaches, front office and support staff generally try to give guys space,” General Manager Billy Eppler said. “E.Y. wanted to confront that. That’s a very high-character, very admirable thing to do, and he spoke from the heart.”
Young said he was determined to be open about his grief to help untold others processing pain of all kinds.
“I’m trying to turn tragedy into triumph, and maybe inspire some people along the way who might be battling something just as devastating to them,” he said. “I’m not scared of the situation. I don’t shy from it. It’s one of the cards that’s been dealt to me, and I’m going to play it the best I can.
“Hopefully, other people can work hard through just watching me.”