Now, that nameplate is gone and that locker is cleared out, just as is Youkilis from the Boston ball club — after nine seasons, two World Series championships and a litany of memories of hard play and dusty uniforms.
After not having been in the lineup for the past four days — a fact he was reportedly unhappy with — Youkilis was back in the Red Sox batting order on Sunday afternoon, and he gave the Fenway fans one last reason to cheer his name. For the day, Youkilis went 2-for-4, reaching on an infield single in the second and hitting a triple — flopping head-first into third base in the process — in the seventh.
Before his first at-bat in the second, Youkilis was given a standing ovation by the Fenway crowd, in recognition of the fact they realized that it may have been his last game in a Red Sox uniform.
After his seventh-inning triple, Youkilis was removed from the game for pinch runner Nick Punto, at which time the fans again came to their feet, cheering and chanting the ubiquitous “Youuuk.” The corner infielder then came back on to the field for a curtain call, prompted by manager Bobby Valentine and the rest of the team.
By the time the game was over, Youkilis’ nameplate was gone, and his locker had been cleared out.