I think not.
The gay pornstar goatee. The most obnoxious stance I’ve ever seen. The fact that he is on the Sawx.
Those facts alone have locked in my distaste for ‘Yook’ at about an 11, on a scale of 1-10.
All of that said, I still had a pretty deep respect for the guy, tepid as it may be.
The fact he has single-handedly killed my Yankees on several occasions demands my respect.
But beyond that, the guy is just an extremely impressive hitter, and seemed to be the consummate professional in the way he carried himself - on and off the field.
Then, last night, on a pitch that hit him in the back, he decided to charge the mound and throw his helmet in the general direction of the Tigers' Rick Porcello. He was then tossed by his head to the ground, ala Don Zimmer, courtesy of the aforementioned hurler.
It took me a full nights rest, and a few hours today to process how I felt about this incident.
Traditionally, I am all for batters standing up for themselves if they feel they are being head-hunted at the plate.
A fastball to the temple could end a guys career, mental health, or even life.
I understand a retaliatory strike in the next inning; I even understand charging the mound and punching the guy in the face if he was gunning for your head.
This pitch, however, was nothing like that. It wasn’t thrown anywhere near his head, and it wasn’t thrown with any intent to injure.
Yes, it was most likely an intentional hit-batter.
Yes, it was the second night in a row Youkilis was, apparently, the target of choice for retribution.
Regardless of those facts, if I am speaking from a ‘Sawx-centric’ point of view, I would have some words for Mr. Youkilis.
If I may….
‘Mr. Yooouuuk’, you are your team's best player, and their offensive lynch-pin. Your team just got swept by the Yankees, who now lead you by 5 ½ games in the standings.
Your team is short-handed offensively, with Jason Bay being out, Mike Lowell nursing a bum hip, and Big Papi becoming ‘a little sloppy’, as the bleacher creatures put it.
You got hit in the back with a pitch. Its no fun, I'm sure. But guess what?
It happens basically every single day somewhere in Major League Baseball.
Did you really think that it would be a good idea to get yourself suspended for a week?
Do you really think depriving your team of a much needed middle-of-the-line-up power hitter, such as yourself, would prove anything to anyone?
Or is it just that you didn’t think?
I would go with the latter, as you have essentially alluded to in interviews from last night.
So, ‘Yoouwwwuuuwuwk’ – everybody gets mad – and nobody likes getting beaned.
But when you are the team MVP, and most certainly their primary run producer, you just can't take yourself out for an entire series.
Especially when there are other critical injuries – especially when you are slumping as a team – and very-extra-especially when you are getting ready to play a team that is threatening to take away your playoff berth.
The redeeming factors that made you a player (despite my rivalry fueled hatred) I enjoyed watching have all but fallen by the wayside, much like your feeble, misguided helmet toss.
As much as I delight, personally, in your incident poking one more hole in the leaky raft that is the Red Sox' 2009 season, I have to feel for Sawx fans who suffer from your stupidity.
And as a baseball fan, I've lost a substantial amount of the respect that I once held for ‘The Youuuker’.