Kevin Youkilis returned to Fenway Park on Monday night and Red Sox fans let him know how much they appreciated the time he spent in Boston.
The Fenway Faithful did not wait long—he received a standing ovation before the game when he simply came out to stretch.
Say what you will about the Red Sox this season, but they have had a flair for the dramatic. This little slice of drama only adds to the deepening layers of drama this year.
Let’s look at the run down of events:
Lillibridge came to the Red Sox as part of the deal that sent Kevin Youkilis to the Chicago White Sox. Lillibridge became just another side note to the drama that surrounded this club all season.
The decision to designate Lillibridge for assignment was not a difficult one. His line on the season is 165/.212/.177. But I, for one, thought he would be a positive influence on the Red Sox clubhouse.
I also thought the Youkilis saga was over.
Bobby Valentine blamed the early season clubhouse drama, in part, on Youkilis. Valentine questioned Youkilis’ desire early on and claimed Youkilis just couldn’t get over that statement.
Per ESPN.com, Valentine said of the Youkilis drama:
I think the comment I made early, he made a big issue out of, and I don't think he ever wanted to get over it.
Wow. This is a little bit of the Bobby V. Red Sox fans thought they were getting this season. Unfortunately, Valentine can’t seem to let it go either. Even if he is asked about it, he always has the option of taking the high road. That’s just not Bobby V’s style.
That was more in Terry Francona’s wheelhouse.
Just to add yet another layer of drama to this scenario, Youkilis wrote a thank you letter to the Red Sox for his time in Boston.
In part, it reads:
I want to thank the Red Sox ownership for all the hard work and dedication to making the Red Sox and Fenway Park a special place to play They have always supported me on the field, and have helped out in many ways off the field. I can't thank them enough for my time in Boston.
Later in the letter he made a point to thank Francona:
To Terry Francona, who led us to 2 World Series championships in 2004 and 2007, I thank you for your support and personal guidance through my career with the Red Sox. I thank you for being there for me not just as a manager but as a friend off the field. (NESN.com)
Obviously he made no mention of Valentine. But did anyone really expect him to mention Valentine? Youkilis and Valentine spent less than half a season together.
Then came the fans.
In Youk’s first at bat in a different uniform, Red Sox fans erupted with a huge ovation. He received a 47-second ovation (by my count) and tipped his cap to the crowd. Josh Beckett and Jon Lester could be seen clapping in the dugout.
He greeted starting pitcher, Aaron Cook, with a base hit up the middle. He later scored on an errant throw by Adrian Gonzalez.
Let us hope this is the end of the Youkilis drama and the Red Sox can get back to the business of baseball. Something tells me we have a lot more in store this season.