Over the years I have had varying emotions about Kevin Youkilis. I loved seeing him hit his first Major League home run back in 2004. I cringed watching him slur and mumble in what I thought was going to be shown on ESPN when the Red Sox won an ESPY in 2005 and they decided to film Youk, Bronson Arroyo, Johnny Damon and Lenny Dinardo accepting it live on stage during Bronson’s cd release party. (Witnessed that in person. Youk was wrecked and when he spoke, essentially, he said nothing. Thankfully ESPN edited it out.) I actually argued with him via email after I criticized his comments about the fans on the now defunct “Daughters of Kevin Youkilis” site and I remember being really annoyed that he ignored the group of women wearing “DOKY” t-shirts at Spring Training in 2005. For a good amount of time, while I didn’t mind his being a part of the Red Sox organization, I was never what you would call a fan of his.
But I started to soften toward him in the past few years. I like the way he plays, HE softened his stance against the fans and I started to think he’d be with the team for his entire career.
Well, things didn’t work out the way I hoped and when he was traded this summer, as much as I was sad for him, I wished him well and figured I was done having any kind of emotional feelings toward him. Yeah, I was wrong.
Here’s where I acknowledge that I don’t believe Kevin Youkilis owes any kind of loyalty to the Boston Red Sox organization. I don’t. They made their decision this summer and I really have no issue with any hard feelings he might have toward the front office. But the fans…well the fans are another thing. And if there wasn’t another team in MLB who wanted him…or if there even just wasn’t another team who offered more money than the Yankees, I would be fine with the choice he made today. But the thing is, there were other offers, there was even a better offer, and he still chose to go to the Yankees. Maybe he thinks that’s sticking it to the Red Sox, but we all know it isn’t. But as far as I’m concerned, he’s sticking it to the fans.
Now I know my opinion on this isn’t shared by a lot of fans. I am quite aware that I sound like a whining baseball fan who expects that everything should go the way I want it to. While I really do usually try to step back and be rational about these things, I’ve decided that this time I’m going to let my inner, irrational, fandom to come screaming out. And I get that many people reading this don’t agree with me but I’m choosing to rant a bit about it anyway.
I think it’s lousy. I’m bummed because the idea of Kevin Youkilis in pinstripes is something I just can’t wrap my mind around. So for making me have to deal with that, I’d like to invite him to bite me. But I won’t be booing him (nor will I be “Youking” him) when he comes to Fenway. I’m sure I’ll be a cross between sad and pissed…as I am right now…and I’m trying to figure out what I’m going to do with his autographed baseball bat. Not sure I’m going to want to keep that thing in the house.
So please don’t tell me the Red Sox didn’t want him so it doesn’t matter where he ended up. I don’t want to hear that this isn’t like when Johnny Damon left because Youk never said he wouldn’t go to the Yankees. I know all of the rational reasons behind why I shouldn’t be bothered by this…and yet I still am. No one ever said being a sports fan was a rational decision.