I have refrained, most honorably, may I add, from writing about Youk on this, the greatest blog of all time. But with news of him signing in Japan for the 2014 season (http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/youkilis-leaving-mlb-play-japan-article-1.1554521), I must speak up. Youk, you have been stealing what is rightfully mine for too long. And now you want to go international too!
Imagine, if you can, Ladies and Geetles, dearest, faithful reader, a young KOJB, my first Big League game, Fenway Park, Red Sox vs. Athletics, bleacher seats, right field. I was not prepared for the size of the field, the brightness, the green, the brown, the crisp white uniforms, Henderson, Canseco… The game was tied 1-1 going into the bottom of the 9th. Tom Brunansky hit a solo walk off home run on the first pitch over the left field fence, the Green Monster. I made up my mind, one day I would be the 3rd baseman for the Boston Red Sox.
Fast forward. I am on the fast track to Fenway. I’ve been invited to visit the University of Cincinnati, they can’t resist me, want to see if they can tame the wild young stallion, harness the power. Watching practice, the 3rd baseman is fat and slow. He has a funny name no one can pronounce and no one will ever know anyways, unlike my name, which everyone will know, he is nobody, and I am the future starting 3rd baseman for the Red Sox.
My first day of practice, we are hitting partners. He is funny. And he has a weird batting stance. He definitely is no good. We’re both Jewish. Brothers! From then on, we hit together at practice, and throw together before games.
Fast forward. 2004. I am sitting at a bar in New York City watching Youk win his first World Series with the Red Sox, the first Red Sox Championship in 86 years, the curse of the Bambino, broken, the comeback against the Yankees after being down 3 games to none, first time ever.
How could this happen? Betrayal. It was supposed to be me! I never even started at 3rd base in college, except when Youk moved to short stop for half a season, instead being banished to catcher, tortured behind the plate. I thought we were friends, bro. We had a seder together!
Youk went on to win 2 championships in Boston, 3 time all-star, Hank Aaron award-winner, gold glover, finished top 5 in MVP voting multiple times, set the record for errorless games for a 1st baseman, and, eventually, moved to 3rd base, the final dagger in my back, my rightful position.
So I found new turf. Went out into the world, into the frontier, the unknown, international baseball. I played in the Israel Baseball League, and in Germany the next year. I went to the Dominican and Puerto Rico. I was slowly becoming an expert on international baseball, the King of All Jewish Baseball.
Now, after all these years, Youkilis wants to swim out into open water, too, leave his comfortable little bubble, the so called “Major Leagues”. Well, bring it on, bro. This is my domain. You have no idea what awaits you, the harsh reality of non-America, the language barrier, monopoly money. You think the Tokyo Dome is nice? – Think again. The place is a dump. If you needed a contract to play international baseball, you could have just asked. The Tel Aviv Comrades were prepared to make you the generous offer of 350 shekels a week. But suit yourself. If you want to play in a lesser league where not everyone on the field is Jewish, go right ahead. Let’s see if you can handle it…
Youk, you are good, and you are brave, and we are rootin’ for you more than you know.
Prepare yourself, Japan– World, a big bright Jewpanese Star is coming, Ichiro, Matsui, Daisuke, all in one, and his name… is YOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUK.
Go Golden Eagles.