When the Orioles clinch their first division title in 17 years, outfielder Delmon Young will be in the middle of another postseason celebration — his sixth in six years with four different teams.
"I've been fortunate enough to be on teams where you have good players, good managers, a good front office, good young players that come up and a knack for winning," said Young, who has batted .288 with seven homers in 77 games with the Orioles through Monday.
Heading into this season, the Cleveland Indians' Nick Swisher had the longest playoff streak among active players with six consecutive from 2008 to 2013, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. But Swisher is out for the season after undergoing surgery on both knees, so his streak will end this season whether or not the Indians make the playoffs. So Young holds the longest current postseason streak among active players.
In 2009 and 2010, Young played with the Minnesota Twins, who lost in consecutive American League Division Series to the New York Yankees. He was traded to the Detroit Tigers in August 2011 and went to the ALDS and AL Championship Series with the Tigers that year. In 2012, his Tigers lost to the San Francisco Giants in the World Series after Young was named ALCS Most Valuable Player, hitting .353 with two homers against the Yankees.
Young was released by the Philadelphia Phillies last August, signed a deal with the Tampa Bay Rays, his original club, and made it to the ALDS with them in 2013. He was a free agent this offseason and signed a minor league deal with the Orioles in January. He made the club out of spring training and has been a solid contributor, particularly off the bench, for the Orioles.
In his career, he was traded to Minnesota and Detroit, but he chose to go to Tampa Bay and Baltimore.
"You just look for good teams where you have a good opportunity to contribute. And luckily I have been able to pick the last two," Young said. "Maybe I should start picking some Lotto numbers, too."
As a veteran of nine playoff series in the past five postseasons, Young has more October experience than his Orioles teammates, many of whom have never been in the playoffs or only once, in 2012. Young hasn't just played in the postseason, he's done well. He is a .265 hitter with a .320 on-base percentage and a .538 slugging in 33 playoff games. He has nine homers in 117 at-bats.
So what would be his advice to the rest of the Orioles as the intensity of the games pick up in October?
"Keep your booty loose and go out there and play baseball. Don't be afraid to make mistakes, because if you make a mistake anyway, we lose a game and you're going to get scrutinized on TV, anyway, by the media for nit-picky things," Young said. "And if you play well, you are going to be thrown into a status that's really good. But you can't play scared in the postseason, and you can't be afraid to make mistakes."