There are plenty of players throughout the years that have “slipped up” in front of the media. These comments and one liners are usually spoken out of true emotion. The latest blunder was made by New York Yankees newest acquisition Kevin Youkilis. It is still tough for me personally, as a lifetime Yankees fan, to imagine Youkilis in Yankee Pinstripes. Well, unfortunately that imagination will become a reality this April. Upon his arrival to spring training, Youkilis made it very clear where his heart still lies. Youkilis said, “I’ll always be a Red Sock.” My initial reaction was woahhh buddy what are you saying, but when I took the time to think about it, I realized that no one ever confused Youkilis with a rocket scientist. Listen Kevin(I’m not calling you Yoouuukkk), in reality you might feel that way in your heart, but you’ve been in the league long enough to know how this works. You need to talk to writers, reporters, and fans as if you are a politician. You need to answer questions without really saying anything. Reporters and fans alike love guys who are honest and speak the truth. It’s like giving them free ammunition for an empty gun. However, it usually ends poorly when a player says what’s really on his mind. Now, I know it’s a catch twenty-two when it comes to talking to the media, but Kevin needs to be smarter.
Every athlete in the world, not just baseball players, should take lessons from Derek Jeter. Think about it, have you ever heard Derek Jeter say something out of bounds? Has Mr. November ever been in hot water over a controversial comment? The answer is an emphatic NO. The other day, I heard a fan call-in to a radio show and suggest that Derek Jeter would have said the same exact thing if he signed with the Boston Red Sox. The host of the show quickly interjected and needless to say that was the end of that phone call. People like that anger me so much that I actually had to pull over to the side of the road while I was driving. Derek Jeter will NEVER wear any other uniform besides a Yankees uniform. For argument’s sake though, let’s just say that he got traded to or signed with the Red Sox. That doesn’t mean he is all of a sudden going to start talking out of his rear end. Everyone knows Derek Jeter is a Yankee for life, that goes without saying. But if somehow he found himself wearing the enemy’s colors, he wouldn’t be so brainless as to say that in his heart he’ll always bleed Yankees blue and white. He’s too smart. He’s too savvy. We should all take lessons from Derek. Another thing I love about Derek Jeter is his loyalty to his team. It is rare to see a ball player stay with the same team throughout their entire career. I think baseball needs more of that. Baseball needs more of the Barry Larkin’s, the Craig Biggio’s, and the Cal Ripken Jr’s. Free agency and the growth of players’ salaries has caused players to chase money rather than stay loyal to the team that drafted them. It’s really a shame that baseball is strictly a business, but it makes you appreciate the Derek Jeter’s and Mariano Rivera’s of the world even more. Now, in Youkilis’ situation he was traded and then signed with a team that had a need for him. It’s not like he chose to leave Boston to sign with the Yankees(only Johnny Damon was smart enough to do that). Youkilis is still not off the hook for putting his foot in his mouth, but at least we know he’s not a traitor. From a strictly baseball perspective Youkilis fills a need for the Yankees. With Alex Rodriguez caught up in whatever it is he’s caught up in and his injury, Youkilis should serve the Yankees well at 3rd base. His offensive production has slipped since the end of the 2010 season, but we all saw what a change of scenery did for him last season. I think he’ll give it his all out there on the diamond, but I’m still not calling him Yoouuukkk.