It feels like it was just three weeks ago when I was driving home after a nice weekend on the Cape, listening to the WEEI broadcast of the Red Sox, Braves game. Kevin Youkilis, in what proved to be his final at-bat in Boston uniform, tripled. Nick Punto, who pinch ran for the bulky corner infielder, met Youkilis, his good friend, with a hug at third base. As he jogged off of the field, Youk emotionally acknowledged the Fenway Park crowd that stood together in praise of the two-time World Series champion.
Wait a second. It was three weeks ago.
Roughly 21 days does not provide enough of separation to truly understand and appreciate Youkilis’ body of work in a Red Sox uniform. Is it enough time to analyze his injury plagued and trade-shortened 2012 campaign? Not a chance. Wait till after the season.
The Red Sox are in the middle of a playoff race. Make fun of the second Wild Card all you want, but the fact remains that it exists, and it’s just as good as the first spot. That’s where fans’ sight should be set–making the playoffs.
Look, I’m as much of a Youk fan as the next guy, but one standing ovation during his first at-bat is more than enough.
He is now a contributing member of the opposition. The White Sox are more than in the hunt, and tonight represents the next opportunity for the Red Sox to record a win, to get closer to the dance.
And that’s what it’s all about, right? Winning ballgames, making the tournament, and seeing what happens once you get there.
So whether you’re at Fenway, watching on television, or listening in the car, tip your cap to Youk, but then move on. Hope the opposing third baseman grounds out to short and then makes an errant throw in the field.
Save the gushing for off-season NESN programming.