Monday, March 11, 2013

0 comments Kevin Youkilis Says He'll Always Be a Red Sock, New York Media Will Always Manufacture Drama

Kevin Youkilis recently made the huge mistake of saying he considered himself a Red Sock at heart. Naturally because he plays for the New York Yankees now, this an unacceptable way to endear himself to the Yankees fans. Well, actually Yankees fans probably don't care how Youkilis considers himself as long as he plays well this year. They get that when Andy Pettitte was signed by the Astros a few years ago, Pettitte still considered himself to always be a Yankee even though played for the Astros. The New York media didn't enjoy this comment by Youkilis though, and so columnists like Johnette Howard say Youkilis needs to embrace New York. Sure, Johnette Howard would be outraged if Andy Pettitte stated he didn't consider himself to be a Yankee when he signed with the Astros, but it doesn't work both ways. It's fine for a long-time Yankees player who no longer plays for the Yankees to consider himself still a Yankee, but it isn't all right for an ex-Red Sox player to consider himself a Red Sox when he plays for the Yankees now. Embrace the Yankees, Kevin Youkilis, or go home forever. You'll never be a true Yankee!

So Kevin Youkilis said on his first official day as a Yankee that he'll always be a "Red Sock" at heart? On the list of crimes in the sports world, this is a misdemeanor.

Or it's not a crime at all, but just a reflection that he cherishes the eight-and-a-half years he spent in Boston, winning two World Series during this time. This is the typical sportswriter opening that starts with "This topic I'm getting ready to talk about really isn't THAT big of a deal," followed by 500-1000 words making that topic a deal big enough to get an entire column out of it.

Still, somebody should've pulled Youkilis aside before he arrived at spring training and told him that he doesn't want -- and the Yankees shouldn't want -- his stay here looking like the second coming of Tom Glavine's turncoat years with the Mets.

Because if a veteran player is going to come play in New York then he better prepare to forget all of his friends, family and teammates who he knew prior to coming to New York. It's like baseball's own version of the Witness Protection Program. You play in New York, prepare to entirely give up your previous life.

So Johnette Howard starts off saying the crime Youkilis committed isn't a major crime and then says he doesn't want to be seen as a turncoat like Tom Glavine was seen as being. IS a big deal that Youkilis still has fond memories of New York then, because it sort of seems like it is a big deal. This is like when a woman says, "Sure you can go out with your friends and get drunk as opposed to spending time at home with me while I have the flu. I would love to see you and have you take care of me, but it's no big deal to go out with your friends and leave me alone sick on a Saturday night."

Men don't fall for this trick anymore, so the joke is on you Johnette Howard. We know it isn't all right to go out and get drunk with our friends while you are sick and we know it isn't all right for Kevin Youkilis to say he will always be a Red Sock at heart. We know this is true because Johnette goes out of her way saying it is all right, which naturally means because she is writing a column about how it isn't all right, then it isn't really all right.

Everyone confused now?

New Yorkers remember the moral of that story: Love the one you're with.

Or else.

Say you love the Yankees OR ELSE! Boy, it sure doesn't seem like a big deal, does it? Johnette Howard seems to be enjoying some dominatrix-style journalism, but everything is cool in reality. It's just a misdemeanor for Kevin Youkilis to say he will always be a Red Sock. There's just hell to pay for saying this, that's all.

By the time Glavine came to a fiery end in the Mets' historically bad September 2007 collapse -- serving up a horrifically bad one-third-of-an-inning start on the final day of the season, and then infamously promising he was not going to torture himself over it the rest of his life -- it was easy for scalded Mets fans to say get out, already. Just go.

It sounds to me like Johnette Howard has more of an issue with Tom Glavine than she has with Kevin Youkilis.

Go back to Atlanta on that midnight train or Peachtree Center bus or whatever TNT corporate jet you arrived on.

Yes, go back on whatever corporate jet TNT has provided, you big corporate shill. Go back to that corporate environment of Atlanta, Georgia and stay away from our small town of New York (Johnette Howard turns on YES Network happy she lives in a town without corporate shills).

No more lamenting how his stay here had a cloud of karmic doom hanging over it from the minute he left the Braves in a snit -- angry that general manager John Schuerholz didn't pay him what the Mets were willing to give him -- and busted up his dental work on that cab ride after he got here.

Okay, again, this article is supposed to be about Kevin Youkilis.

Glavine still lived in Atlanta. 

Renounce your home in Atlanta or have your home burned down.

He had a legacy with the Braves that he cherished, and there were times during his 61-56 run over five seasons with the Mets when he'd drop hints that he wanted to return. No wonder the Mets and their fans were feeling a bit chapped by the time he left.

Youkilis was in Boston for 8.5 years. Glavine was in Atlanta from 1987-2002. I would say he had pretty good ties to the city. Kevin Youkilis isn't Tom Glavine. Youkilis was traded away from the Red Sox, while Glavine only left to show John Schuerholz he could get big money somewhere else. Both teams moved on without each of these players, but Youkilis isn't bitter towards Boston and didn't sign with the Yankees to stick it to Boston. There's no real comparison to Glavine and I can completely see why Youkilis says he is a Red Sock at heart. It's a non-story.

Youkilis left Boston under uncomfortable circumstances, too. He didn't want to go after eight-and-a-half seasons. Not really. But after former Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine questioned the veteran's effort and commitment, Youkilis was traded to the White Sox last June because the breach between the two men seemed irreparable.

But then Valentine was gone mere months after Youkilis was. And now there's this sad little feeling still hanging in the air that none of it had to happen -- to Youkilis, I mean.

And given the chance to come back to Boston (come on, Youkilis could have come back if he really wanted to I would bet), he chose to sign with the Yankees. It's a non-story. The idea Youkilis has to pledge his allegiance to the Yankees and renounce ever saying anything good about the Red Sox is absurd. He's getting paid to do a job for the Yankees and he will do that job. I can't imagine Johnette Howard would be up in arms if Andy Pettitte had signed with the Astros and proclaimed that he still was a Yankee at heart. There aren't different rules for the Yankees and players can play for the Yankees and not pledge their undying loyalty. There is no lifelong blood oath a player has to make to play for the Yankees. There is simply a contract to be signed.

It's understandable.

Except, you know it isn't understandable because Johnette Howard is warning Youkilis about being a turncoat.

He took a one-year, $12 million contract with the Yankees because it was the best offer he got. It's not like the whole league was clamoring for his services at this stage of his career.

Oh yeah, the Yankees really took Kevin Youkilis and made him look like a fool. They gave a 34 year old declining player coming off his worst year as a professional $12 million to play first/third base. I bet Kevin Youkilis feels stupid right now.

I love the idea that Youkilis settled for the best offer he could get on the free agent market and that offer was $12 million. Isn't that the very purpose of free agency, to get the best offer available? $12 million for a guy coming off a .235/.336/.409 season, and that's with a .236/.346/.425 "revival" with the White Sox, isn't anything to sneeze at. I won't say the Yankees overpaid, but Youkilis did well for himself. To paint him as settling for a deal (like Howard seems want to do) isn't quite accurate.

So now that he pulled the trigger and he's here, Youk -- are we allowed to call him that, or does that stay in Boston too? -- might want to ask around for a little friendly advice on how to handle this from someone other than Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, his brother-in-law. 

Hey look, it's a reasonably forced Tom Brady reference that is presented only for this punchline:

Brady's only experience of making nice with New York is buying a pied-a-terre in the West Village and not being mocked for his Uggs.

HAHA! Tom Brady dresses well, buys expensive apartments and shops in expensive parts of New York. Good one. Tom Brady knows nothing about pressure and having to adapt to playing in New York. He plays in New England where there are few media members and certainly no media members who enjoy seeing the local team fail.

In related news, Brady is married to a very well-known model. I get it's funny to rag on him for what he wears and his fashion-forward off-the-field reputation, but being married to a model do we expect him to dress like shit and not look good in public? Brady is wealthy and he can afford nice clothes. His wife wears nice clothes for a living. That is her living, dressing nice. So it is fun to pick on Brady, but it's like knowing Russell Martin is married to a real estate agent and mocking him for having a house with nice resale value.

Johnny Damon's example, once he jumped from the Red Sox to the Yankees, is the better example to follow. Damon always acted like he was all-in when he was here. Yanks fans missed him when he left.

In what way has Kevin Youkilis not acted "all-in?" By saying he always feels like a Red Sock? That's just him saying he played for them the longest and had the best memories in Boston.

After watching Youkilis' gritty play for years, it's hard to believe any conflicted feelings will roll through his mind once the games begin.

And yet, Johnette Howard was worried enough about Youkilis' conflicted feelings to write an entire column about how he should pledge his full allegiance to the Yankees and try to avoid being like that asshole turncoat Tom Glavine.

Still, Youkilis was smart to realize that even as soft rollouts go, opening spring training by saying, "I'm not going to replace Alex Rodriguez" and "I'll always be a Red Sock" was not the most bang-up start.

Youkilis just has to say the right things and not give the New York media a whiff of any controversy they can blow up and turn into a huge issue. It's not like Youkilis has any experience handling an over-eager media horde who is looking to take one failure or incident and turn this one incident or failure into some big issue it probably doesn't deserve to be turned into.

Regarding A-Rod, he might've gone too far the other way.

Did Youkilis forget A-Rod isn't even A-Rod anymore? They played the same number of games (122) a season ago and -- what do you know? -- their stats were nearly identical: Rodriguez hit 18 home runs, Youkilis hit 19; A-Rod had 57 RBIs to Youkilis' 60; A-Rod hit .272, while Youkilis finished at .235. They each had 51 walks.

So naturally Youkilis should have said, "Hell yes I am here to replace A-Rod. He sucks now and I am a better player." Because that would have gone over so well and not turned into a media circus with SportsCenter leading off the show with this news story. It would have created a dilemma for the New York media. Defend A-Rod or the guy who said he is a true Red Sock? I'm guessing the New York media would still defend the guy who says he feels like a Red Sock at heart. If given the choice, the New York media would probably defend Fidel Castro before taking A-Rod's side. 

So no need to tiptoe into town, Youk. Bang your chest a little. And don't make the gaffe Glavine did.

I'm fairly certain that Tom Glavine never stated he would always be an Atlanta Brave at heart when arrived to play for the Mets. Maybe I just missed that quote. 2003 was a wild and crazy time for me.

Better to say nothing if you can't fake it even a little.

Love the one you're with.

If Johnette Howard remembers the lyrics to the chorus that precede this specific phrase, they go,

"If you can't be with the one you love, honey, love the you're with."

Basically the point of the song is to not drown in the sorrows of what you don't have, but enjoy what you do have. Youkilis aying he will always consider himself a Red Sock at heart is loving the one he is with, while acknowledging where he used to be. Stop blowing little shit like this into a big deal when it isn't a big deal.