Youkilis was a fan favorite in Boston for many years, and although he’s on the downside of his career, seeing him in pinstripes is going to be a jolt. If not for the continued watering down of what’s left of the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry, Youkilis going to the Yankees takes much of the intrigue out of the battles the two teams have fought in recent years.
When Boston and New York did go at each other on the baseball diamond in the last decade, Youkilis was often at the center of the shouting. He and Joba Chamberlain had a nice beanball symbiosis, and Youkilis was everything the clean-cut, dirt-free, showboy Yankees never were.
All that is changing now, though. Youkilis will have to shave his whiskers as he takes his bat south.
Youkilis isn’t the first Red Sox player to join the Yankees, though, and he does have the excuse that Boston dealt him away last year to the White Sox (can all this be pinned on Bobby Valentine somehow?). But his defection marks more than a Red Sox player joining the Yankees. Youkilis is also the latest member of the magical 2004 Red Sox team that won the World Series to take his wares to the Bronx. Johnny Damon, Derek Lowe, Mike Myers, Mark Bellhorn and Doug Mientkiewicz all ended up on New York’s roster at some point.
The cross-pollination between Boston and New York includes plenty of players, including a few who have made the trip in the opposite direction (David Wells, Alfredo Aceves, David Cone). A few coaches — Don Zimmer and Tony Pena — have also worked for both clubs.
Of all the swaps that sting, let’s see where Youk’s ranks.