It's been a quiet offseason so far for the New York Yankees. Brian Cashman and the front office only gave fans one new present for the holiday season in Kevin Youkilis (the rest, re-signing Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, Hiroki Kuroda and Ichiro Suzuki, were recycled gifts).
Yankees fans are going to have difficulty accepting the "Greek God of Walks" as part of Yankees Universe after his years as a member of Red Sox Nation. Here are three things Youk can do to endear himself to Yankees fans.
1. Come Up with a Good Roll Call Greeting
One of this Yankees fan's favorite parts of going to a game at the Stadium is participating or watching the Bleacher Creature's roll call of each player during the first inning. When Nick Swisher signed with the Indians over the weekend, the team lost the most enthusiastic roll call.
The more flamboyant greetings generally come from outfielders, but if Youkilis can come up with something clever from the infield, he can become an instant fan favorite. It worked for Swisher.
2. Call out the Red Sox in Spring Training
Even though the Red Sox have not been competitive on the field for the last year and one month of play, they're still the Yankees' biggest rival, and Youkilis needs to make it clear which side he's on.
He'll be asked on a daily basis about switching sides, and while the safest answer would be to deflect the question, Youkilis would instantly gain the respect of Yankees fans by calling out Red Sox players, staff and/or fans.
Didn't like the way Josh Beckett, John Lackey and Jon Lester ate fried chicken and drank beer during the Sox's epic collapse? Still upset about Bobby Valentine's comments from early last season? Tired of the booing from Red Sox fans? Let Yankees fans hear it.
3. Make a Clutch Play Against the Red Sox
The Yankees open the season at home against the Red Sox this season, giving Youkilis an immediate opportunity to "earn his pinstripes" by having a big hit in a big moment. Hit a big home run and get a walk-off hit, for example, and Yankees fans will immediately embrace him.
4. Play Well
The most important thing to Yankees fans is winning. If Kevin Youkilis helps the team win, they'll forget about his past and embrace his present.
It worked for Johnny Damon, who earned the love of fans by hustling on the field and helping them win the 2009 World Series.
Merry Christmas to all.