The comparison is there, even if some Yankee fans are reticent to concede it. When you watch Kevin Youkilis moan about a close call, fling his bat or go into a dugout rage after an out, you should be reminded of another fiery player from the recent past. You should see shades of Paul O’Neill.
Before some of the O’Neill acolytes explode, relax. This doesn’t mean Youkilis and O’Neill are exactly the same player with the exact accomplishments. Of course, they’re not. What it means is that Youkilis and O’Neill share the same style for playing baseball with an intensity that’s visible to everyone and with an approach that chases perfection.
...For the Yankee fans who say that they can’t or won’t accept Youkilis, they need to take a quick baseball history lesson. After the Yankees added Wade Boggs, Roger Clemens and Johnny Damon, three players with deep roots in Boston, all three eventually won at least one World Series title in New York.
Youkilis is a Yankee because the Yankees needed him, needed someone reliable to fill in until Rodriguez returns from hip surgery. If you watch Youkilis play, you will see an ornery guy who doesn’t care if the other team dislikes him. Youkilis once told me that “other teams aren’t supposed to like you.” There’s something for Yankee fans to like about Youkilis now. Look closely. He’ll remind you of O’Neill.
“I really didn’t think I was like Paul O’Neill until someone mentioned it to me,” Youkilis said. “I have a lot of respect for him. I’ve always liked guys that played with a lot of fire.”
Posted: December 13, 2012 at 07:47 AM | 30 comment(s)
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