Youk's diary: Clearing the air

August, 1, 2010
Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis continues with his season long diary. He talks trade deadline, clarifies the Jacoby comments, explains why he keeps knocking out pitchers and takes on Bill Simmons calling the Red Sox boring. (As told to Louise K. Cornetta)

At the trade deadline, I can't speak for anyone else, but I wasn't nervous. I have never really been nervous about the trade deadline because you can't control it. I've been very fortunate. Look, anyone can get traded, but you can’t worry about it. You just have to play baseball.

I'm trying to think back if there were any teammates traded who I was bummed to see go. We haven't had too many big trades, more so seeing friends leave through free agency. When some of the young guys get traded, it's a better opportunity for them. Instead of being upset, you're kind of happy for them because they'll get a chance to play. Here, we haven't had too many crazy trades of position players.

We have a bunch of guys we should be getting back off the disabled list soon. Pedey [Dustin Pedroia] is someone who wants to play really badly. He's doing a lot more stuff like hitting and drills. When he's ready -- and hopefully he doesn't try to come back too early where he can hurt his foot more, but I know the doctors are on top of that -- for us it will be great to have him back in the line up. Victor [Martinez] coming back was huge, and now with Pedey it's going to be really big.

OK, Jacoby. I said I wished he was here supporting the team and what did I mean? I meant exactly that. People asked and I said, "If guys are hurt, you want them to be here to support you." That was it. I think it got taken out of context, like always. I've heard I was questioning him. I've heard that I called him soft. I didn't say anything like that. People have said a lot of stuff that I said and you can't believe it all. All I said was it would be good for him to be here because there are others guys here supporting the team.

That's the whole thing -- when you're hurt, it sucks. It terrible for Jacoby, when you can't play. It's not fun. A lot of times the mental part of it is a lot tougher because you want to be out there. But at the same time, you have to also be there for your teammates and cheer them on because you'd want the same thing from the person next to you, to cheer you on.

Cheering sounds strange to say because we don't need cheerleaders here, but it's a respect thing. That's the biggest thing, it's about being a good teammate. I'm not saying he's not a good teammate, nothing like that. It's all about being there to support your teammates because when it's all said and done at the end of the year, if you can't help the team out by playing, you're there to support them. Maybe you'll see something and help out a guy like, "Hey, you're kind of jumping at the ball when you're hitting." Jacoby is good at stealing bases, maybe he can help a guy do that. That's all I'm saying, is a lot of guys can help out even while not playing.

Also, you can learn a lot. He's still at a very valuable part of his career when being at the games is a good thing for him to watch players and develop. Sometimes you can just sit and watch the game and it will help develop you as a player. He's my lockermate in Boston, sitting next to me. I haven’t talked to him since those comments because I think it’s pretty self-explanatory. He knows. I've told him before. It's one of those things that I think was taken way out of context. Everything I say gets taken to seem like the biggest deal ever. What I've found is you can't win. No matter what you say, you're going to be the villain. Some guys say something and they’re the hero, but for some reason if I say a word, it's kind of taken a little differently.

Okie [Hideki Okajima] caught some flak recently for not talking to reporters after a rough outing. My philosophy in Boston is if you talk every day, you're going to be respected a little bit more. But there's nothing in any part that says we have to talk to the media. You don't have to say a word. Manny [Ramirez] didn't say much to the media ever and he was a great player who did his thing.

I think there comes a time when some guys just don't want to talk because of things that get written. They say something and the quote might not be written down the same way it was said. Some guys don't feel comfortable talking to the media because they don't like their words put in a different context. That becomes a big deal a lot of times to guys. Some guys just don't like the attention either. So they don't like to talk to the media.

It's not part of the game -- except here in Boston, where it really is a part of the game. I think we'll take players who will go out there every day and hit .300 or have a 2.00 ERA rather than guys who are going to speak to the media and be very personable.

What else has been going on? Well, I'll admit, it was definitely disappointing to not make the All-Star team. I had a couple of opportunities to make it. The fans voted well and did a good job. I just came up a little short. Then Paul Konerko got chosen by Joe Girardi, which is a good thing for Paulie. He was certainly deserving. You can't be too mad because everyone who is on the All-Star team is deserving of being there. It's one of those things where it's just how the All-Star Game works; some people are going to be left off. It's part of the gig. So instead, I just hung out and rested. It was nice to just do nothing.

Now what's this I hear about Bill Simmons called the Red Sox a boring team? I don't think so. There are a lot of guys working hard, playing hard. Maybe we are boring. Maybe that's why the fan voting was down. I don't know, but what I do know is that we're a good ballclub that plays hard. Next time I see Bill, I'll tell him his writing stinks! Nah, just kidding. He's a good guy. The team has had a lot of injuries, so it's not the normal players you see out there and some people don't like that. People like normal and don't like change.

We feel good coming off the West Coast road trip. Thursday, I had a good game and was able to tie things up in the ninth. Last time we were home, I was able to tie up a game and then get the winning hit against the Rangers. It feels good when you do that. A lot of time, you just want to be the hero so that the game ends. That's the best part about it because no one wants to play extra innings and play on for an extra hour. It's good to be the guy walking off but it's really all about winning, that's the key. Whether you were the guy at the plate or the guy on base who scores the run, it's great. It's great just to finish the game up and get the W out of it.

You've got to want to be in that situation. You can’t be scared of getting out. You're going to be the final out in some of those situations and you're going to be the hero sometimes. You've just got to hope for the best and try to be the hero as much as possible.

After that Rangers game, I heard their manager, Ron Washington, said something nice about me always rising to the occasion; that's a very good compliment. The reason I play this game -- and fans will say what they want and media will say what they want -- but for a lot of us players here, it's about the opposition across the way having respect for you. They don't have to like you, but they respect your game. If you go out and play the game hard and get good compliments like that, it's what you play for. You play the game to earn the respect of a guy who's going to see you go out there and play hard every day, and you hope to do it well.

Kind of weird that in the course of a week, I ended up taking out two pitchers when hitting: Dan Haren in Anaheim and [Armando] Galarraga. You don't want to hurt guys at all. You're hoping the best for them when it does happen because you don't want a serious injury. We get hit by pitches too. I certainly do. Hitters, we kind of always joke around that if you get hit, you might as well hit a line drive right back at them. That's not your intent, and to do that is very hard. Just so happened that I did it two times in a week. You can't really do anything about it because your whole goal is to try and stay up the middle and hit the ball. Sometimes it hits the pitcher and sometimes it doesn't. You just hope it doesn't hurt him.

They're making a movie out of Micheal Lewis' book "Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game." Everyone knows by now that's the book where [Athletics GM] Bill Beane refers to me as the "Greek God of Walks." Let me say, I don't care about the movie "Moneyball." I won't be going to see it. First of all, I don't see how that book could be made into a movie. The book is kind of telling the story of the A's drafting techniques and I don't know how that's going to be put into a movie. I don't see this being the same as say, "The Blind Side." I just don't see this book being a movie, especially one with Brad Pitt starring in it. They must be readjusting that book in a lot of different ways for that to be a movie. I bet it will be more about the story of the life of a general manager. If Billy really wants to do that, good for him. If someone plays me, I don't care who.

We're home through Thursday before heading to New York. How do I think we'll do this homestand? Your guess is as good as mine. Hopefully a bunch of W's, that's all I hope for any way and any how. Could be 1-0, 12-1, 13-12 -- whatever it is, I just hope they're W's. This time of year, that's all you want. It doesn't matter how you get them, just try and find a way to do it. We just need to play some good baseball.

Even a game like Friday night against the Tigers, we came up just short but almost won. As long as we keep playing like that and give ourselves the chance and put ourselves in a good position every day to win, then we'll be all right.

The goal now is to get into the playoffs. The way it works now, we pretty much have the same ground to make up whether it's for the division or the wild card. We definitely have a shot and have to keep trucking away and hope for good things in August. I know the Rays have been on a hot streak; we do see the scoreboard. All we can do is worry about ourselves and winning ballgames. We go up against the Yankees and Rays a few more times and we have to be ready to play and do our thing. For us, it's about us winning rather than worrying about other teams. You can only control what you can control, and that is trying to win a ballgame.



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