Biz Markie‘s “Just A Friend” permeated through the Fenway Park speakers. Then on cue, the Fenway faithful started chanting “Youk” in unison. All the while, Kevin Youkilis sauntered up to the plate and settled into his unorthodox batting stance.
But on Monday, Youkilis entered the batter’s box as a visitor. For the first time in his major league career, the third baseman faced the Red Sox wearing a new uniform — with the White Sox — and emerging from the opposing dugout.
“It was just weird,” Youkilis said after Boston’s 5-1 win, “all the settings are off. But in Chicago, our dugout is on the third-base side, so I’ve kind of gotten used to that. But you look around and it’s the same place you’ve played in all these years.”
Unlike the beginning of the season, it was a different result. Youkilis flashed his rejuvenated bat against the Red Sox, going 3-for-4 with two doubles and a run to raise his batting average up to .261.
It was Youkilis’ fifth three-hit game of the 2012 campaign and fourth as a member of the White Sox. Each time he delivered a hit, the fans at Fenway Park continued to shower him with praise.
“It does feel good, but you want to win,” Youkilis said. “That’s our job here. We want to win games. It doesn’t matter how many hits you get if you don’t get a win.”
Youkilis also appreciated the warm reception he received from the crowd, taking a few seconds to tip his cap to each corner of the stadium. His former teammates, like Jarrod Saltalamacchia, also enjoyed the 33-year-old’s resurgence — to some degree.
“Not against us, I want to win,” Saltalamacchia said. “I love Youk and he was a great teammate and I was proud to be with him and play with him. I’m happy for him when he does well — but not against us.”
Despite the loss, Youkilis delivered a small dose of revenge to his team and showed signs of life in his at-bats, the same ones that helped lift the Red Sox to two World Series titles in 2004 and 2007.
“The place was pretty loud and rocking,” Youkilis said. “It was really cool.”
And for a few seconds, it felt just like old times.