When the dust cloud settled after his awkward slide to complete an RBI triple in the 7th inning of Sunday’s game, Kevin Youkilis walked off the field the same way he will be remembered in Boston for years to come – with a dirtied uniform.
And that was it. On the day the White Sox wore red, Kevin Youkilis had been traded to the south side of Chicago, ending his decade-long career in Boston. It was a good career, though. Youkilis was beloved by the Fenway faithful. His intense passion endeared him to a fan base that appreciated maximum effort.
Although most people might describe the farewell as a sad moment, I would classify it as bittersweet. The emotion surrounding the moment was undeniable, but it was a situation that was becoming increasingly volatile, and ultimately it was inevitable.
Kevin Youkilis, despite his struggles this season, still deserves a chance to play at this point in his career. And with the emergence of phenom Will Middlebrooks, that just was not going to happen if he had stayed with the Red Sox.
Regardless of the details leading up to his departure, there aren’t too many players who work harder and care more than Kevin Youkilis did. I can’t think of a more appropriate scene to say goodbye. That final at-bat was a microcosm of everything that Youkilis represented. He didn’t always have the most talent on the field, or he wasn’t always the most naturally gifted player on the field, but there was no way he was going to let someone outwork or outhustle him. And that was the case all the up until his final plate appearance in Fenway Park.
While the tone of this article is a bit somber, this is really a success story for the Red Sox farm system. Kevin Youkilis, prior to Sunday, had been a Red Sox player his entire career. He was drafted by the organization and rose up through the minor league system to become an All-Star and help bring two World Championships to Boston.
Now, he’s being replaced by Middlebrooks, who has travelled a seemingly identical path. He’s been on a tremendous pace early in his young Red Sox career, and the future certainly looks bright for the Red Sox.
I have no doubt, with his work ethic and dedication to the game, Youkilis will provide the White Sox with the same type of production and inspiration he delivered to the Red Sox for so many years. I wish him the very best, as I’m sure the majority of Red Sox Nation will.
His contributions as an integral part of two World Series Championships will not soon be forgotten and his entire time in Boston will be looked upon with great fondness. It was always said when describing Youkilis’ personality that he was a player who you loved if he was on your team, but you hated him if he was on the other team. Well it won’t be long before the Red Sox get that chance to see Youk in a different uniform, as the Chicago White Sox will visit Boston July 16th-19th. Something tells me the Red Sox players and fans won’t be buying into that theory.
About the AuthorNathan Conley is originally from Norton, MA, and is a huge fan of all the Boston sports teams: the New England Patriots, Boston Red Sox, Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins. He currently attends the Connecticut School of Broadcasting, and writes on the Boston sports scene. If you’d like to contact him, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll pass along the message.
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