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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Curry: Kevin Youkilis: Shades of Paul O’Neill

All in! Hated in the nation!

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.”

Repoz Posted: December 13, 2012 at 07:47 AM | 30 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: yankees

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   1. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: December 13, 2012 at 08:45 AM (#4323654)
Ridiculous comparison. O'Neill has a much smaller, less sweaty head. And much better hair.
   2. 1k5v3L Posted: December 13, 2012 at 09:20 AM (#4323658)
Also, Paul O'Neill once hit two home runs in a game to make a child in a hospital happy.
   3. Rants Mulliniks Posted: December 13, 2012 at 09:28 AM (#4323661)
O'Neill didn't look like he was taking a dump after being constipated for a week when he was standing in the batter's box either.
   4. I Am Not a Number Posted: December 13, 2012 at 09:33 AM (#4323663)
Their slash lines are similar:

O'Neill 288/363/470, 120 OPS+
Youkilis 283/384/482, 124 OPS+

O'Neill logged 8300 PAs whereas Youkilis is just at 4300. A few more decline years should bring their numbers even closer together.
   5. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: December 13, 2012 at 09:34 AM (#4323664)
Also, Paul O'Neill once hit two home runs in a game to make a child in a hospital happy.


Well, a homer and a triple.
   6. charityslave is thinking about baseball Posted: December 13, 2012 at 10:24 AM (#4323682)
Paul O'Neill did once dress up in a rhinoceros costume and have sex with a washing machine, so they're a lot closer in style than many would believe.
   7. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: December 13, 2012 at 10:39 AM (#4323691)
I'd be shocked if this really was the first time Youk had ever heard the O'Neill comp. Maybe he just kind of tunes all that stuff out but it's been a pretty regular comparison throughout his career.
   8. Rowland Office Supplies Posted: December 13, 2012 at 10:55 AM (#4323704)
I never found O'Neill's ridiculous histrionics the slightest bit endearing, either.
   9. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: December 13, 2012 at 11:00 AM (#4323709)
Has Youkilis gone into a dugout rage after making an out? He's never beaten an inanimate object has he? He's obviously grumpy and sweaty and all that, but I think his rep is a little overblown.
   10. Bob Tufts Posted: December 13, 2012 at 11:01 AM (#4323711)
Agreed, Rowland. When I see O'Neill clips, I am reminded of what Rodney Dangerfield's Thornton Melon said about his professor in "Back to School" - "he really seems to care....about what, I have no idea"?.

.
   11. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: December 13, 2012 at 11:03 AM (#4323713)
Has Youkilis gone into a dugout rage after making an out? He's never beaten an inanimate object has he?


Youkilis' primary method of expression is the helmet slam accompanied by a curse audible in the Monster seats.
   12. SoSH U at work Posted: December 13, 2012 at 11:03 AM (#4323714)
Has Youkilis gone into a dugout rage after making an out? He's never beaten an inanimate object has he? He's obviously grumpy and sweaty and all that, but I think his rep is a little overblown.


Youks isn't nearly the on-field jackass (or off-field, I suspect) that O'Neill was. If Yankee fans can not only tolerate, but revere, that complete d-bag, they can surely learn to live with Youks.
   13. Hello Rusty Kuntz, Goodbye Rusty Cars Posted: December 13, 2012 at 11:35 AM (#4323734)
Youks isn't nearly the on-field jackass (or off-field, I suspect) that O'Neill was. If Yankee fans can not only tolerate, but revere, that complete d-bag, they can surely learn to live with Youks.


"Youkilis isn't a complete d-bag" was my first thought. Literally speaking, an incomplete d-bag seems like it would be worse.
   14. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: December 13, 2012 at 11:39 AM (#4323738)
Well, a homer and a triple.


He made up for it by agreeing to catch a flyball with his hat the next game.
   15. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: December 13, 2012 at 11:40 AM (#4323739)
Yankee fans loved O'Neill because he produced. Yankee fans will love Youkilis if he produces. They'll hate him if he doesn't. And if he helps them in a (purely hypothetical at this point) postseason, he'll quickly be called a True Yankee. Nobody but a ####### moron cares about whether a player is demonstrative or not, or slams bats against a water cooler, or screams at umpires, as long as he produces. And why should anyone give a crap about what fans of other teams think of your favorite players? Did Giants fans ever care about what the rest of the world thought of Barry Bonds?
   16. MikeTorrez Posted: December 13, 2012 at 11:43 AM (#4323742)
Wasn't O'Neill the Secretary of the Treasury at one point too? Big difference between the two.
   17. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: December 13, 2012 at 12:04 PM (#4323757)
Wasn't O'Neill the Secretary of the Treasury at one point too? Big difference between the two.

Plus a composer with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra
   18. Howie Menckel Posted: December 13, 2012 at 12:13 PM (#4323762)

they're both pretty obnoxious. seems like a good comparison to me

   19. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: December 13, 2012 at 12:30 PM (#4323776)
they're both pretty obnoxious. seems like a good comparison to me

I can never keep the fandoms of the various Howies around here straight, but let me know when you've ever seen a fan base that didn't wind up loving an intense and productive player whose obnoxiousness was consistently directed at either opposing teams, umpires, or himself. The list of such "intense" players extends from here to the moon, so it shouldn't be too hard to find one among that large group who was scorned by his team's fans if he truly ever existed.
   20. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 13, 2012 at 02:17 PM (#4323872)
I never found O'Neill's ridiculous histrionics the slightest bit endearing, either.


Quoted for truth.
   21. Dale Sams Posted: December 13, 2012 at 02:59 PM (#4323934)
Don't forget kids, JD Drew=bad guy, doesn't care enough.

Kevin Youkilis=bad guy, cares too much.
   22. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 13, 2012 at 03:57 PM (#4324026)
We don't care about how much he cares - just about the manner in which he shows it.
   23. Bob Tufts Posted: December 13, 2012 at 03:58 PM (#4324028)
I got this crap my entire professional life. Just beacuse I wouldn't let loose with streams of obscenities or make a show of throwing inanimate objects after a home run, loss or bad outing, it was assumed that I did not care. And an Ivy League degree made it even worse!

People approach pressure and failure in different ways and have different coping mechanisms. None of the choices is necessarily superior, but acting like a giant douche seems to be something that reaches the "won't somebody please think of the children" that emulate their sports heroes stage.



   24. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: December 13, 2012 at 04:11 PM (#4324051)
Don't forget kids, JD Drew=bad guy, doesn't care enough.

Kevin Youkilis=bad guy, cares too much.


How much was Kevin Youkilis booed in Boston, as long as his caring produced runs? I thought he was even cheered in Fenway when he came back wearing a White Sox jersey. Am I wrong in my recollection?

   25. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: December 13, 2012 at 04:20 PM (#4324071)
But, Tufts, people expected more emotion from a future star
   26. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: December 13, 2012 at 05:00 PM (#4324139)
But, Tufts, people expected more emotion from a future star


That is quite the card. Brenly looks like a 60 year old Just For Men card carrying member, Chili looks like he drew his facial hair on with a permanent marker and Bob looks like he's 19. Which he may well have been, so I guess normal.

Marker Hair
   27. Mirabelli Dictu (Chris McClinch) Posted: December 13, 2012 at 05:03 PM (#4324142)
You remember right, Andy. Youkilis was beloved in Boston, and was seen as having been shipped out of town to satisfy Valentine's ego. I'm curious to see how he'll be welcomed at Fenway when he comes back with the Yankees.

I actually called him Paul O'Neill 2 in a response to Joe Posnanski this morning. He's the kind of guy you hate when he's playing for a rival because he's a red-ass, but you love him when he plays for you because he's fiery.
   28. Bob Tufts Posted: December 13, 2012 at 06:05 PM (#4324225)
JMac/AKA:

The baseball card picture is from the spring of 1981 when I was a non-roster spring training invitee, so I was 25. I got married the next year - and that quickly helped me catch up to the normal aging process.

   29. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: December 13, 2012 at 06:18 PM (#4324242)
JMac/AKA:

The baseball card picture is from the spring of 1981 when I was a non-roster spring training invitee, so I was 25. I got married the next year - and that quickly helped me catch up to the normal aging process.

I just looked up the roster of the 1981 Phoenix Giants--Brenly was 27 and Chili was 21. Davis put up some seriously good numbers that year* which is why he was hyped so heavily in 82

*so did Tufts, for that matter,
   30. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: December 13, 2012 at 09:03 PM (#4324369)
You remember right, Andy. Youkilis was beloved in Boston, and was seen as having been shipped out of town to satisfy Valentine's ego. I'm curious to see how he'll be welcomed at Fenway when he comes back with the Yankees.

I actually called him Paul O'Neill 2 in a response to Joe Posnanski this morning. He's the kind of guy you hate when he's playing for a rival because he's a red-ass, but you love him when he plays for you because he's fiery.


I just find it funny to read comments suggesting that "redasses" from Team A (O'Neill, Clemens) are somehow monsters while at the same time not noticing the "fiery" players on your own Team B (Youkilis, Varitek) that you've been rooting for all along. I've always thought Petunia Pedroia was the most annoying sawed off runt I'd seen since the days of Eddie Stanky, but there has hardly been a month when I didn't wish that the Yankees had about half a dozen like him. Same with Youkilis and Varitek when they were in their primes. Beckett's another story, but that's only because I'm not overly fond of potential clubhouse cancers, which the Yankees have been mostly fortunate enough to have avoided in the past 15+ years.

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