Boston Red Sox: The All-"Ungraceful Exit" Team (Updated with Kevin Youkilis)
Kevin Youkilis played his final game with the Red Sox yesterday. He got a pair of hits, including a triple, made some nice defensive plays at third base and left the game to a thunderous and emotional standing ovation.
Do not be fooled by the day's events. This was not a graceful exit by Youk. This was a farewell filled with anger, a sense of betrayal and pettiness from the organization.
Or as the Red Sox call it, "Business as usual."
The Red Sox like to portray themselves as warm and cozy as Fenway Park. In truth, they have been heartless and callous with many beloved players for several generations. Remember how many Red Sox legends failed to show up at the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park?
About a month ago, I created the All Ungrateful Exit Red Sox team, a 25-man roster of players who left the team in a huff and with a chip on their shoulder.
Now it is updated to include Youkilis.
There's a starting player at each position, a five-man rotation, a five-man bullpen and a six-player bench. Also, there's a coaching staff and front office of disgruntled managers and GMs as well.
Welcome to the club, Youk. As you can see, there are some pretty big names on this list.
Starting Catcher: Carlton Fisk
New England’s favorite son and 1975 World Series hero clashed with GM Haywood Sullivan over money. The Red Sox front office mailed his contract a day late, making him a free agent after the 1980 season. He wound up being a free agent and spending more years in Chicago instead of Boston.
Starting First Baseman: Kevin Youkilis
The beloved "Youk," aka The Greek God of Walks, played hard and with endearing intensity. He put up terrific numbers, especially in the 2007 postseason, and his gritty play and unusual batting stance made him one of the most popular players in recent Red Sox history.
But his place within the organization soured in 2011. He was believed to be the source who ratted out his teammate starting pitchers who were pounding chicken and beer during the great collapse down the stretch of the '11 season. And things went from bad to worse when new manager Bobby Valentine questioned his intensity at the start of the 2012 season.
The emergence of Will Middlebrooks at third made him expendable. Soon his playing time became sporadic and it was clear that the home-grown Red Sox star had to go.
He was dealt for pennies on the dollar to the White Sox with lingering animosity towards Boston's new manager.
Starting Second Baseman: Mark Bellhorn
Starting Shortstop: Nomar Garciaparra
Starting Third Baseman: Wade Boggs
Starting Left Fielder: Manny Ramirez
Starting Center Fielder: Johnny Damon
Starting Right Fielder: Dwight Evans
Designated Hitter: Mo Vaughn
Starting Pitcher 1: Roger Clemens
Starting Pitcher 2: Bill Lee
Starting Pitcher 3: Bruce Hurst
Starting Pitcher 4: Luis Tiant
If the Yankees had not broken enough New England hearts in 1978, they added insult to injury in the offseason.
Starting Pitcher 5: Fergie Jenkins
Jenkins did not have the best seasons in his Hall of Fame career in Boston.
Reliever 1: Jonathan Papelbon
Reliever 2: Keith Foulke
Foulke was the single-most underrated hero from the 2004 title.
He literally risked his career throwing 14 innings (and throwing 257 pitches) that October and letting up one earned run in the process.
By 2005, his arm was shot as was his effectiveness. Fans started booing him, and he called Red Sox fans “Johnny from Burger King.”
His time in Boston ended on a sour note as he was an ineffective mop-up man with a terrible relationship with the fans and the media. All of this took place less than two years removed from delivering the highlight Red Sox fans had been waiting their whole lives for—a World Series title.
Reliever 3: Lee Smith
Smith was one of the top closers in the game and helped lead the Sox to the 1988 division title. But before the 1990 season, with Smith still under contract, the Red Sox signed free agent Jeff Reardon.
Reliever 4: Alan Embree
Reliever 5: Bronson Arroyo
Reserve: Jose Offerman
Yes, Jose Offerman was once an All Star as a member of the Red Sox. He represented the Sox in the 1999 All-Star Game.
Reserve: Doug Mientkiewicz
Only us insane Red Sox fans could turn the guy who caught the final out in the 2004 World Series into a bad guy.
Reserve: Orlando Cabrera
Reserve: Bernie Carbo
Reserve: Rich Gedman
Reserve: Doug Mirabelli
Manager: Terry Francona
Coaching Staff: Kevin Kennedy
Coaching Staff: Tommy Harper
The Elk’s Club of Winter Haven, Florida invited some of the Red Sox team and management to an event. Tommy Harper wasn’t invited.
Why? It was a white-only establishment. Tommy Harper complained to the media. So what did the Yawkey-run Red Sox do? They fired Harper.
He sued and won an anti-discrimination case. This wasn’t in the distant Jim Crow past. This was in 1985.
Harper eventually returned to the team, but the stench of the Yawkeys hung over the team for years.
Coaching Staff: Joe Kerrigan
Joe Kerrigan was caught in the middle of the Jimy (sic) Williams and Dan Duquette squabble in 2001. When Jimy (sic) was fired, pitching coach Kerrigan was inserted as manager. The Red Sox were still contending then, but they lost 26 of the 43 games Kerrigan managed and fell from contention.
Front Office: Theo Epstein
Front Office: Dan Duquette
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