Youkilis’s Cleats Are Asking For Diplomatic Immunity
In Soccer it is called the “professional foul”. An action played out within the game itself sometimes brought about by frustration or a chance to throw a little intimidation into the mix, but suddenly spirals out of control and beyond it’s initial intent. Surely Red Sox slugger Kevin Youkilis was on the verge of seeing his own emotional steam kettle explode after going 0-4, including grounding into 2 double plays to end innings.
“Professional fouls” are not rehearsed or even planned, but they are intended to change the course of a game, or send a message.
Youkilis possibly had no malace or intent to harm prior to his cleats coming down upon the left exposed calf of Tampa Bay Rays First Baseman Casey Kotchman, but it left more than just an impression on Kotchman’s calf post-game.
Youkilis was trying to do anything, even something dastardly to get his team some momentum last night. But to me, it was vintage “You-Kill-Us”.That to me was commonplace Kevin Youkilis. I have screamed and projected that pronunciation of his name at him for years during the Rays/Red Sox battles.
Sure Youkilis has been my Red Sox Bulls-Eye poster boy for a while as this “B” bonneted baseball antagonist always seems to drive a stake through the Rays Republics heart, or makes an impossible play to end a Rays rally. Youkilis always seems to do enough with his bat and glove to make you despise the guy. But this action has mee seeing a deeper shade of red than Tuesday night’s Red Sox jerseys.
Now I have some more potent vinegar for my veins to further despise this guy. Heck, Kotchman once wore the same Boston red jersey, but last night he was truly a casualty-in-waiting. Youkilis gives you reasons to not like him, from his funky bat maneuvers in the box, to his seemingly “old school” baseball demeanor. I think fellow cleat surgeon Ty Cobb would have loved Youkilis.
Rays First Baseman Casey Kotchman today told the Tampa Bay media, “ I know (Youkilis) didn’t do it on purpose.” Really Casey! I know you had your back to the play and thankfully got to complete the play for a critical out, but the video shows something a little more sinister in my eyes.
Come on Casey, Third Baseman Evan Longoria robbed Youkilis of a Red Sox offensive moment in a game dominated by Rays starter James Shields. Youkilis’s frustration breaking point had to have reached the red zone at that precise moment producing the second out of the 9th inning with Shields nursing a complete game shutout. There are too many aggressive embers burning under that hairless scalp of yours to not want to let out a little mis-guided aggression.
Even after Kotchman went down, the thing that further infuriated me is Youkilis did not even look Kotchman’s direction as he grabbed the now throbbing left calf. Youkilis watched the video replay on the Trop’s Jumbotron and jogged to the dugout like any other ground out in his career. I did not expect him to get down on one knee and profess his crafty deed, but I thought it warranted at least a visual signal of some sort.
Youkilis’s action last night will surely have some effect down the line either during this series or in the near future. Tonight’s Rays starter Jeremy Hellickson probably will not buzz Youkilis’s tower, but later someone like Rays relievers Joel Peralta, J P Howell or Kyle Farnsworth could certainly take care of some unfinished business. A “unwritten rule” could rears its ugly head.
In my opinion, Youkilis picked the wrong time to make any kind of Red Sox statement. It was the wrong time to circumvent his snide, snarly personality. Kotchman himself seems to want to throw it into the bulging pile of “ things that happen in the course of a game”, but I am not so diplomatic.
It was a spontaneous “ professional (baseball) foul” . It was an action meant to provoke an error or dropped ball. Just looking at the photos. Why is Youkilis running so far inside the baseline on this play? Most hitters coming out of the right side of the box run closer to the line or in foul territory.
Depending on which side of the fence you sit on, it was either intentional, or an accident. I admit accidents do happen in the course of running the bases, but this one just seems so clearly pronounced to me. To me, it was a blatant action.
If you notice in the photos, the Home Plate Umpire Dave Rackley seemed a bit focused on the play from afar. Rackey had his mask off fast and was watching the progression of Youkilis down the First Base line with a little more focus than usual. Makes you wonder if the Youkilis was grumbling in the Batter’s box and ended it course on Kotchman’s calf.
“Professional Fouls” have no place in baseball, but if an action looks to harm or make a statement with intent to injury…Instant ejections is the only solid cure to keeping this illness at bay. So mind your “P’s” and “Q’s” tonight Youkilis, or you might get some professional guidance right in your ear hole.