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BASEBALL EXTRA

Young Is on an Emotional High

Dodgers: He is greeted warmly by fans in return to Colorado and adds two hits in L.A. victory.

September 26, 1997|JASON REID | TIMES STAFF WRITER

DENVER — You may not be able to go home again, but visiting a former residence during a division race is common stuff. And if you cause a little damage in the old neighborhood during the process, well, that's OK too.

That's how Dodger second baseman Eric Young viewed his first trip to Colorado after being traded by the Rockies on Aug. 18. Young said he had plenty on his mind and in his heart on his inaugural return to Coors Field on Thursday and not only because of his homecoming.

The Dodgers still hope to win the National League West, no matter how much their recent play seemingly indicates otherwise, and Young said his performance in the season's final series could be a big factor. He received a standing ovation before his first inning at-bat, signaling the beginning of a good night for Young in the Dodgers' 9-5 victory.

"That was very nice of the fans and it made me pretty emotional, it gave me the chills a little," said Young, who tipped his batting helmet to the crowd in appreciation.

"I wasn't sure how it was going to be coming back here, how they would treat me. I was worried it might be a little bit awkward, but the fans really embraced me.

"That was very special, tears were coming to my eyes a little bit, but I held them back because I had a job to do. I never forgot that."

Sentiment aside, Young cared most about the game's outcome. He did his part to keep the Dodgers from slipping further behind the first-place San Francisco Giants as time slips away, getting two hits in four at-bats and playing his position flawlessly.

Young spent 4 1/2 seasons in Colorado and he said he continues to have a "special relationship" with the Rockies' fans, who send mail to him daily at Dodger Stadium. However, Young said he's determined to do everything he can to end the Rockies' season badly.

"We have to sweep this series, we can't let up in any game," Young said. "Hope is still alive for us, but any loss here threatens our chances.

"I thought about that before the game, that I'm back in Colorado and I can't let up now. We can't expect any help from the Padres [who begin a season-ending, three-game series at San Francisco today] unless we take care of business, so that's what I'm focusing on."

Sometime after the season, Young said, he will reflect on the trade that brought him back to the Dodgers and the night he returned to Colorado. But for now, Young won't allow himself time for anything except visiting further damage on the Rockies.

"I'm sure everything that happened this season will hit me later on," Young said. "The reception I received [Thursday] was great, but the big thing is that we got the win we needed."

All in all, it was a night for Young to remember.

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