"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Biggus Dickus


Over at Grantland, Michael Schur presents this Requiem for a Hardass:

In his prime, Youk was an elite hitter, and he fielded two positions quite well. His OPS+ from 2008 to 2010 were 144, 146, and 157 (all OBP-heavy), and over those three years he was among the five or so very best hitters in most ways that matter. He was one of the best players in the game. But what made him special was how weird it was that this was true.

Kevin Youkilis is one of the most oddly shaped human beings in professional athletics. His torso is giant and cylindrical — he looks like a cartoon poor person wearing a barrel. He is completely bald — like, aggressively bald, like he hates hair — except for a fiery red goatee bush that tumbles out of his face like Play-Doh from a fun factory. When he hits, he stands with his feet so close together the ump could tip him over with one quick index-finger jab to the sternum — an action that must have been tempting for many umps over the years — and as he raises the bat above his head and aims the barrel back toward the pitcher in a manner any Little League coach would surely curtail (“No, Kevin, not like that, that’s all wrong … just … is your dad here? I need to talk to him”), his hands are a foot apart on the handle of the bat, and he then slowly slides them toward each other as the pitcher moves through his delivery. It’s fucking insane. (“Kevin? Buddy? Hands together, buddy. See? Like this? … Is your dad here?”) From this stevedore’s frame, alopecic head, and just completely goofy stance came a truly elite ballplayer. Who is also kind of a dick.

[Photo Credit: AP]


1 Jon DeRosa   ~  Jun 26, 2012 9:06 am

That was an outstanding piece by Schur.

2 kenboyer made me cry   ~  Jun 26, 2012 9:17 am

I fear that Youk will haunt the Yankees again. He might be a dick, but if he's on your team, he's your dick and happy to have him.

3 bags   ~  Jun 26, 2012 9:29 am

i think my favorite part is the francona aside.

4 BobbyB   ~  Jun 26, 2012 9:30 am

Yeah, that was a good article. Glad I read the entire piece. I hated Youk since I feared him every time he came to the plate. Had to respect the man in his prime. Good offence, good defense and badass attitude. Great line by Francona andyou also gotta like the sidebar about Shur's wife meeting Paul O'Neill.

5 Alex Belth   ~  Jun 26, 2012 9:32 am

2) He'll be in town for four games later this week.

6 RagingTartabull   ~  Jun 26, 2012 10:49 am

He's one of those guys that we all hate, but we all know we'd love if he were a Yankee.

Basically we reacted to him as Red Sox fans reacted to Paul O'Neill...and that's fine.

I also think he'll give Chicago something like a .380 OBP with respectable power

7 glennstout   ~  Jun 26, 2012 10:57 am

"Top five or so hitter" as long as that "or so" actually means top fifteen or twenty - I don't think he was ever a top five by any measure, although I though he deserved the MVP more than Pedroia. Very good player for a few years and very dangerous, to be sure, but I think Shur is overstating things a bit. Yet he was, as Dick Williams used to refer to players, "a prick who can play," the kind of player every good team needs, and also the kind of one that one a not so good team somehow never seems quite as good.

8 RIYank   ~  Jun 26, 2012 12:12 pm

[7] I think you're wrong, he was top five.

In 2008, I see Milton Bradley, A-Rod, and Carlos Quentin better, but nobody else. In 2009 I see only Mauer clearly better. 2010 is different because Youk was injured, but his rate was good enough for top five even though his total production wasn't close.

9 kenboyer made me cry   ~  Jun 26, 2012 1:26 pm

Whose the "prick who can play" currently on the Yankees? Tex should be that player, but he isn't. Martin could be, but he's too quiet, and isn't a good enough hitter.

Yankees need a prick we can love.

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