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Michael Young says Rangers were “flat out” better team in 2011 World Series

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(USA Today)

Michael Young joined Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington and general manager Jon Daniels on Friday to officially announce his retirement following a 14-year career.

Young, who spent the 2013 season divided between the Philadelphia Phillies and Los Angeles Dodgers, elected to return to Arlington to make the announcement after spending the first 13 years of his career in a Rangers uniform. It's his baseball home, after all, and it just made sense to bring his career full circle.

With his wife Cristina and sons Mateo and Emilio looking on, Young did a pretty good job keeping his emotions in check while discussing his career and expressing his desire to spend more time with his kids. In fact, he seemed very much at peace with his decision and satisfied with the career he's had. However, it became obvious there's one event during his time with the Rangers that still sticks in his craw: the 2011 World Series.

As you may recall (or may be trying to forget if you're a Rangers fan), Texas dropped that World Series to the St. Louis Cardinals in seven thrilling games. But Young may have a point about that Rangers team. The series was theirs to take in Game 6. They were one strike away from securing their first World Series championship in franchise history, and then Nelson Cruz misplayed David Freese's frozen rope into right field into a game-tying two-run triple.

The game continued into extra innings, with the Rangers even regaining the lead on a Josh Hamilton home run, but St. Louis pulled off the improbable victory on David Freese's walk-off homer. 24 hours later, St. Louis wrapped up their 11th championship with a 6-2 victory, while the Rangers headed home empty-handed.

That has to be about the biggest emotional letdown a professional athlete can experience in competition. To come so close to the ultimate goal and then fall short, that's something that will stay with you for a long time. Especially for those who were also on the 2010 team that was swept in the World Series by the San Francisco Giants.

It's understandable that Young would also say "he's over it, but yet he's not" because there's no way to escape the memories. The fans will always ask about it, the highlights will always be played. It's always going to be there.

Whether or not the Rangers were truly the better team is debatable, but let's remember the Rangers cruised to 96 victories that season and won the AL West by 10 games. The Cardinals won 90 games to earn the wild card position, but had to overcome a 10 1/2 game deficit on Aug, 25 to get there. St. Louis was certainly the hotter team entering that series, but the Rangers threw water on them and were poised to win it. They just didn't, and you can almost feel Young's pain simply writing about it.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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