PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Grateful for the gift, Eric Young Jr. tried to take his new stolen base title belt home with him earlier this weekend. But his Mets teammates stopped him, telling Young he must keep it displayed in the clubhouse at Tradition Field.
So there was the wrestling-style belt on Sunday morning, proudly displayed above Young's locker. Mets manager Terry Collins and first-base coach Tom Goodwin presented it to him during a pre-camp meeting a day earlier, to the delight of a surprised outfielder.
"I had no clue it was coming," Young said. "I was just sitting there listening as though it was a regular meeting, and then they brought this out to me."
The leather belt, which includes flag decals from several nations and a mirror on each side, was the Mets' gift to Young for winning the National League stolen base title. Now that it is in his possession, Young, who swiped 38 of his league-leading 46 bags with the Mets, said he does not intend to give up the belt without a fight.
"The only way they can challenge me [for it] is by stealing some bases," Young said of his National League peers.