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5 Reasons I Hated Kevin Youkilis & 5 Reasons I Don’t Anymore

December 11, 2012
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A face only a fan could love (Getty)

A face only a fan could love (Getty)

Today the Yanks acquired one of my least favorite baseball players ever, Kevin Youkilis, from the Chicago White Sox.  I hated Youkilis, but now that he will be donning pinstripes next year (for $12 million), I need to find a way to accept it.  Maybe in the spirit of the Christmas season, my heart can grow 3 sizes for Youk.  Here is my attempt to reconcile my 8 years of loathing for that bald head with the fact that he is now a part of my beloved team.

5 Reasons I Hated Kevin Youkilis

1.  He was a Red Sock

Problem solved.

2.  He is a dirty player

During his time with the Sox, Youk cultivated a reputation as a dirty player.  Collisions at home plate and on the base paths were a normal part of his game.  He also had a quick trigger when charging the mound and in ’09 he whipped his batting helmet at the Tigers’ Rick Porcello after being plunked.  Now that he’s a Yankee he’s not dirty.  He’s just “scrappy.”

3.  His batting stance

I can hear his Little League coach now: ‘Youkilis’ stance?  Oh, that started as a big joke.  We were just trying to mess with him in practice one day, but when he started hitting we just let him keep standing in the box that way.’  He looks like my mom trying to kill a spider with a rolled up magazine, complete with the tip-toe stance.

4.  He looks like a Hells’ Angel

If he showed up to a game with a skull tattoo on his forehead, I don’t think I’d notice anything out of place until the 4th inning.

5.  He’s a whiner

The man has a permanent scowl on his face.  He has also never agreed with a strike call in 4,318 career plate appearances.

5 Reasons I’m (Still Learning to be) Glad He’s on My Side

1.  He is the Greek God of Walks

Anyone who read the book or saw the movie, Moneyball, knows that Billy Beane salivated over “Euclis: the Greek God of Walks.”  He has gotten a free pass to first on 12.3% of his at bats over his career and is 46th among all active players in career walks (531) despite being 90th in career plate appearances (4,318).  He is also tied for 15th among active players in on base % (.384).  The man he’s tied with?  Alex Rodriguez.  He may not have A-Rod’s power, but he’ll get on base the same amount of time.  Also, everyone knows A-Rod’s power numbers have declined in recent years, due in part to injuries.  In fact, Youk and Rodriguez played the same amount of games in 2012 (122), and Youk hit 1 more home run than A (19) and had just 2 fewer RBIs (60).

2.  His defense

Youk’s defense is often maligned.  A-Rod’s has not been celebrated very much either since moving to 3rd base, but we are not giving up any defense if Youk becomes our every day man at the hot corner.  Both have played 9 years at 3rd and Youk’s career fielding percentage at the bag is 2 points higher than A-Rod’s (.966).

3.  He’s scrappy

Youk is one of those players that you hate to play against but you’d love to play with.  I can’t wait for the first time Youk slams into Jarrod Saltalamacchia at home plate in Fenway Park.  He’s the type of player that with grit and passion can be a catalyst for his team.  I think we could use a spark plug like him, someone who isn’t afraid to get his uniform dirty.  During last year’s ALCS I was waiting for someone to look at least miffed, irked, perturbed during that anemic sweep.  Maybe we need a guy like Youk to destroy a water cooler or charge the mound, if for no other reason than to wake us out of our collective coma every once and a while.

4.  The guy can play ball

3 times in the last 4 years Youk made the list of top 50 active players compiled by The Sporting News: 2009 (36), 2010 (38), 2011 (35).  In 2008 he finished 3rd in the AL MVP voting and 6th in 2009.  The guy gets on base, creates runs, and knows how to do the little things to help a team win.

5.  He’s a good guy

Youk’s foundation, Hits for Kids, has done great things for kids across Massachusetts and his home town of Cincinnati.  Also, here’s what Robinson Cano had to say about him: “I’ve gotten a chance to talk to him, and he’s a nice guy.  I’ve had a chance to meet him at the All-Star game, and he always seemed cool in talking with everybody.  There’s some guys that, the way they play the game, you say this guy is not a nice person.  But he’s a great person.”  Good enough for Robbie, good enough for me.

Bonus:  How much Sox fans will hate this

He’s not Babe Ruth, but the psychos to the north loved Youk.  Add his name to this list of former Sox that put on the pinstripes: Sparky Lyle, Waite Hoyt, Carl Mays, Red Ruffing, Wade Boggs, Roger Clemens, Johnny Damon, Herb Pennock, Derek Lowe

The more I think about it, the more I am convinced that Youk is not just the best viable option for us, but one that I’m excited about.  I may be in the minority right now (even my wife is upset I’ve come around so quickly), but I think Youk could be a huge piece of our team this season.  He just needs to leave those 2 rings at home.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Jami Beth permalink
    December 11, 2012 10:50 PM

    Good article babe, but i’m not convinced just yet!

  2. Anonymous permalink
    December 12, 2012 9:21 AM

    You’ve pretty much read my diary on this one. I’ve watched the guy play for the last 8 or so years. Also love that he can play first when Tex inevitably gets hurt or needs a break when his slow start seeps into July.

    • December 12, 2012 9:31 AM

      Absolutely! The guy is very versatile in the field. He even won a Gold Glove at 1st in 2007. He’s also played games at 2nd, LF, and RF. The more I think about this the more I think it could work out.

      • Arock permalink
        December 12, 2012 9:45 AM

        Totes. I think the real question is: what number will he wear? 20 is off limits. Come to think of it, pretty much every number is off limits in the Bronx.

        • December 12, 2012 11:35 AM

          That’s a great question A-Rock. He certainly won’t get 2-0. It is amazing how many numbers are currently retired (1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 23, 32, 37, 44, 49) and those that should never be worn again (2, 6, 20, 21, 51). How long before we go with triple digits?

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