After 8 1/2 seasons as a member of the Boston Red Sox (and half a season as a White Sox), Youkilis arrived in Tampa early Thursday morning for spring training with the New York Yankees. His first course of action, however, might get pinstripe-ophiles a little peeved. Youkilis sat down in the airport for coffee with a Red Sox fan, to talk Red Sox baseball.
When Youk arrived off his red eye at 6:30 in the morning, he felt like giving the loyal fan who came to greet him in the airport his due, sharing a cup of coffee and a chat with him. Apparently it was very amicable, and the man in the Red Sox cap had no ill feelings towards Youkilis, nor Youk towards the Red Sox. The fan would’ve helped brush scone crumbs out of Youkilis’ goatee if he had to, but it didn’t come to that.
And with Kevin, it’s all, “Rivalry? Schmivalry!”
“I know the rivalry is so hyped-up and all that, and it’s part of your life, but it’s not defining,” he said. “The fans are still going to like you or dislike you in the heat of the moment, but when all is said and done, I’m just another human being who’s going to go through those doors, and some other guy is going to go through them when I’m done.”
While Yankee fans might be none too happy about Youk’s kibitzing with a Chowda Chawmpa, or his seemingly tepid stance on the Yankees-Sox Rivalry now that he’s on their side of the tracks, his stance is refreshingly admirable. Beneath it all, the guy is just a baseball player, getting paid to swing a bat, flash a glove and help a team win a World Series along the way. This almost seems like the resolve you need to have to to stomach the haters in Boston and non-believers in New York when you transfer from Yawkey Way to the Bronx.
“You never know. Some people will be appreciative and some people might not, you know?” he said. “In life, some people see it in black and white and some people see it in grays, so for me, it’s you hope fans appreciate you but you also understand you’re playing on the team that’s the enemy in their eyes. They might cheer you the first at-bat and boo you the next. But it all sounds the same to me.”
He also admits to grabbing a beer with Giants fans at the 2011 Super Bowl, though some might argue that offense was more egregious than this one — Youkilis is married to Tom Brady’s sister, Julie Brady. At the end of the day for Youk, it’s just sports. There’s a lesson to be learned here. We should go find it.
[ESPN New York, Getty Images]