Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Red Sox Links and Thoughts Youk Edition 6-26-12

I realize I am a bit late to the party to add my extended Youk thoughts to the mix.  However, there are still articles being posted this morning from some of my favorite writers about him, so I thought I would do a links and thoughts post focusing mostly on that ‘ol dirt dog Youk with a few others thrown in.

1.  First off, when I heard the trade first went down, I read the following article from ESPN.com

I have several thoughts about this article, including:
Will Bobby V get some credit from the boston fans for the way he orchestrated Youk’s sendoff?  By all accounts, Ben Cherington informed Bobby V of the impending trade, and instead of just shrugging him off or waiting until the end of the game to give him a nice gesture, Bobby V orchestrated one of the best non-game moments in recent memory at Fenway Park (I would argue it was better than the 100 year anniversary ceremony because it was unscripted and organic and proved the wherewithal of the Fenway Faithful).  This was one of those moments that Sox diehards will remember for a long time, and Bobby V has to be given a lot of the credit for it.  Will this gain points in his favor from Boston fans?  It has from this Maineiac.

And while we’re talking about Bobby V, can I just say I think this guy has done a damn good job this year?  Yes he opens his flap too much, but he has done a masterful job of cementing the bullpen, switching Franklin Morales to the rotation and Adrian Gonzalez to RF, and juggling 275 (approximately) different players between the lineup, AAA, and the DL.  The fact this team sits three games above .500 and only 3 1/2 games out of a playoff spot is pretty remarkable.  In fact, if the Sox make a charge and make the playoffs in 2012, doesn’t Bobby V have to be considered the front-runner for AL Manager of the Year?

2.  Here is the video of Kevin Youkilis’ last at-bat.  Fast forward to the 2:40 mark to watch Youk chug around the bases and then get his memorable send-off:


Here’s another thought that jumped out at me after watching that video again and reading the ESPN.com article:

Dustin Pedroia couldn’t be bothered to speak out when the “toxic clubhouse” s***storm was swirling around his team, but when his good buddy Kevin Youkilis gets shipped out of town, he is the first one out of the dugout to embrace him, and he gives the media his first quote I have read in a long time.  It’s interesting to note that Pede had nothing to say about the divided clubhouse, yet just about breaks down sobbing Youk’s praises.  I know they have played together under the Boston microscope for quite a while now, and they both played the game with similar reckless abandon, but I guess I’m just still bitter at Pedroia for staying quiet, or even perpetuating the toxic clubhouse angle.

Also, I expect Youk to play well in Chicago.  His debut didn’t go so well on Monday night, but still.  He so badly needed a change of scenery.  Interesting quote in the ESPN.com article from White Sox GM Ken Williams:

He said he is very excited to join our club and he has a little bit of edge to him, which I like. I can't tell you exactly what he said, but he wants to come in and prove some people wrong."

Sounds like Youk really wants to stick it to the Red Sox staff and prove that he isn’t washed up.  He probably said something similar to Rick Vaughn’s tirade in Lou Brown’s office after getting pranked by Dorn.  Other than the games the White Sox play against the Red, good luck to him.  

It’s amazing how much venom has been directed towards Youk in recent weeks for his below-average play and lineup-clogging presence (this guy included - I proposed last week that we ought to trade him straight up for a bat boy), and then when he leaves there is a deluge of sentimentality.  It’s like when Michael Jackson died and all everybody talked about was how talented and special he was, and forgot that he was a raging psychopath.  And so there may have been 200 articles written about Youk since Sunday, but I bet I’ve been the first to compare him to Michael Jackson!  Take that Chad Finn!

I really hope there isn’t any residual bitterness towards Will Middlebrooks, even if he struggles, for forcing out Youk.  Sox fans have been crying/shouting for weeks to trade Youk to get Willie Middle in the lineup, and now we have to live with a rookie 3B.  He will have rough patches.  He will have slumps.  But he WILL (no pun intended) be better than Youkilis.  Let the kid play, and don’t jump down his throat and compare him to the dearly departed Youk every time he bobbles a grounder or strikes out.  For all of the sentimentality oozing out of Red Sox Nation this week, this was the right move at the right time.

3.  Joe Posnanski had an interesting take on Youkilis on his blog:

The general premise of his post is to examine Youk’s career based on “out percentage”, which is basically the opposite of on-base percentage.  With the Moneyball/OBP explosion in baseball in the last decade, the idea that a ballplayer’s worth is tied to the percentage of his plate appearances that do not result in outs is somehow a revolutionary idea.  Nevertheless, Youkilis embodied this new fad in baseball perhaps better than any other player, consistently working pitch counts, frustrating pitchers, and finishing in the top five in out percentage.


4.  Chad Finn posted his thoughts on Youk on his Touching All the Bases blog this morning:

Finn’s angle is that Youk was one of only two remaining players on the Red Sox’ current roster who was also on the ’04 and ’07 World Series-winning teams.  I like Finn’s concept of “The 25”, referring to the 25 special players who were part of the magical 2004 run.  Now it is only David Ortiz remaining from that roster.  I suppose this isn’t so strange in 2012 for there to be only one of twenty-five players remaining on a roster eight years later, but it still makes this Sox fan a little wistful.  As Finn notes in his post, it also makes us think about what it will be like in the not-so-distant future when Papi also leaves us, leaving exactly zero players from the ’04 run still wearing the red stockings.  When Big Papi does go, I hope it’s on his terms, and I hope they find a way to have a special tribute similar to Youk’s departing curtain call - organic, raw, real, and not Red Sox front office-ceremonial-scripted-rehearsed-over-produced.  He deserves that much, and more.  

In fact, let me preemptively suggest a departing song when Oritz decides to go:

(to the tune of Puff Daddy’s “We’ll Always Love Big Poppa”)
We'll always love Big Papi
We'll always love Big Papi (We'll always love you Big)
[vocals get louder]
We'll always love Big Papi
We'll always love Big Papi (We'll always love you Big)
We'll always love Big Papi (Yeah)
We'll always love Big Papi (We'll always love you Big)

5.  Boston Globe soon-to-be-retiree Bob Ryan weighed in on Youk here:

Ryan’s angle is, well....to pretty much summarize every point already made about Youk’s career with the Red Sox and the trade.  So let’s just say Ryan’s angle is, “I’m Bob F***ing Ryan and I can write whatever the hell I damn well please”.  I think the most jarring thing about the article is the big picture of Youkilis wearing a White Sox uniform at the top.  Very weird to see him in black.

6.  If you are not reading Shane Ryan’s “About Last Night” or “About Last Weekend” on a daily basis (weekdays only) on Grantland’s Triangle Blog, then shame on you.  It should be required reading every morning.  It contains links to the biggest sports stories of the day, plus hilarious jokes.  Here are a couple of beauties from Monday’s post:

  1. After 953 games and two World Series titles, Kevin Youkilis hit a triple in his final Red Sox at-bat before being traded to the White Sox Sunday. After the game, an angry Youkilis could be found at the buffet, loading cold cuts and cucumber salad into a large Tupperware container. "Hell if I'm leaving empty-handed," he grumbled.
  1. Zack Greinke and Chris Sale combined for 17 shutout innings Friday night in a game that remained scoreless until a 10th-inning Rickie Weeks single gave the Brewers a 1-0 win over the White Sox. Afterward, White Sox manager Robin Ventura urged his players to enjoy the postgame quiet, saying it would be their last chance before Youkilis arrived with his steady stream of disgusting anecdotes that all end with him dropping his pants and shouting, "BA-BA-BA-BANNNGGGGG!"
And now moving on to other links and thoughts unrelated to Youk:

7.  Gordon Edes got to spend a day as the PA announcer at Fenway Park:

This was a fascinating look behind the scenes at how the sausage is made in the game production booth at Fenway.  I loved the anecdotes about the sense of humor in the booth, and especially the image of Carl Beane sprinting down the hall between innings to the bathroom like Danny Woodhead.  By far the weirdest part of the article was when John Henry poked his head into the booth, razzed Edes, and then tickled him while he was announcing Omar Infante to the plate.  Repeat: John Henry tickling Gordon Edes while PA announcing at Fenway Park.  The world isn’t real.

8.  Jamie Moyer has signed a minor-league deal with the Toronto Blue Jays.  Old Hoss Radbourn has something to say about that:


9.  This is hardly the most reliable source in the world, but according to this post from beantownbanter.com, Clay Buchholz’s DL stint is caused by “intestinal bleeding”:

The post goes on to reference a Channel 7 (in Boston, I presume) report that the intestinal bleeding is from taking too much ibuprofen.  There can only be two reasons to take enough ibuprofen to make your intestines bleed into your abdominal cavity: One, his arm hurts and he wants to numb the pain; or two, he has to listen to his wife talk so much at home that he swallows painkillers like candy to lessen the impact on his eardrums.  Did you hear her interview with Jenny Dell last night?  Yikes.

Seriously though, if it’s true that Buchholz has been taking so much ibuprofen that his intestines are bleeding in order to dull pain in his arm enough to pitch, then I believe it exposes a hypocrisy in baseball’s drug-enforcement campaign.  Is there really a huge difference between Buchholz popping painkillers like candy in order to dull the pain in his arm and Marlon Byrd injecting whatever-designer-steroids are called these days?  Aren’t these both cases of players using drugs in order to be able to perform on the field?  And if Marlon Byrd can take PED’s and still struggle to hit the ball out of the infield, then isn’t it about talent in the end, and not just a syringe-full of ‘roids adding some muscle to your frame?  I don’t know.  But it reminds me of my last link of the day:

10.  Finally, this is an interesting blog post with Maine references by Steve Buckley reacting to the Roger Clemens acquittal:

My first reaction to this post was, “wow, Steve Buckley is a blowhard”.  My second reaction was “wow, Steve Buckley covered the Maine Guides?”  I am not old enough to remember the Maine Guides.  All I can recall about them really is that my brother Barry used to have a Maine Guides pennant hanging on his wall when we were young.  Apparently they were a AAA team that played at mosquito-infested The Ballpark in Old Orchard Beach, ME.  There is also a couple of references to Dickie Scott, a baseball player from Ellsworth, Maine who turned down a scholarship to the University of Maine to play AAA ball and ended up having a cup of coffee with the Oakland A’s.  All in all, there are a lot of Maine references here.

I’m torn about the main premise of the article.  On the one hand, this is as good of a premise to leave these players off HOF ballots as any I suppose.  But on the other hand,  I suspect Clemens, Bonds, Sosa, etc. would have been good-to-excellent MLB players whether or not they used the juice.  Certainly better than 'ol Dickie Scott.  Feel free to leave your comments about this or any topics raised in the comments section below.

I think I’ve outdone myself this time.  I’m onto page 6 of this post.  Time to wrap it up.  Until next time, Go Sox!

2 comments:

  1. I was surprised at the reaction Middlebrooks got from Fenway last night when he misplayed that grounder. You would think he would have a little rope after earning AL Player of the Week and coming on as strong as he has.

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    1. I agree John, but unfortunately nothing surprises me with Red Sox fans. It seems like it is constantly a what have you done for me lately situation. Despite an amazing week at the plate it only takes one poorly timed misplay to anger the masses.

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