A great first half

Mariners300_1We definitely have a bad streak going in Seattle, so it was good to get out of there ?- for now. I?m glad we get to go back there in August to try and redeem ourselves, though.

Last year it was tough because we had a lot of injuries. I had the flu and missed two games. Manny was injured. We just didn?t have the whole team out there. This year, we were in some ball games but we just couldn?t finish them. That was the biggest thing. We just couldn?t seal the deal on a couple of them. But that?s just baseball. We move on. In this case, we got to come home from a long road trip and get back in front of our home crowd again.

All players like to win on a get-away day. We joke about that all the time. We always tell each other that we want a "happy flight." The long flight from Seattle wasn?t one of them, though. Getting swept leaves a bad taste in your mouth. But it was still good to get back to Boston.

We landed at about 3:30 a.m., so it was nice to have that off day so we could get everyone acclimated to being in Boston again. For me, an off day like that, after getting in so late, means sleeping as long as I can, then catching up on some of the stuff you can?t tend to while you?re on the road.

You don?t get very many days off in this job during the season, so you try to take advantage of them. I spend most off days just trying to enjoy some of the things that you can?t enjoy very much during the season.

My off day was relaxing, although I did have an autograph signing obligation in the evening, actually a makeup for a signing session that got rained out earlier in the season. It wasn?t that bad, though. I still had a nice day off.

***

Defense200I?d never really heard of Stuffy McInnis before this week. In fact, I didn?t even know I?d set a record until our PR director, John Blake, came up to me and told me the media wanted to talk about setting the record -? going 120 games without an error at first base. It was exciting to know I?d set the record, but it kind of took me by surprise.

It?s great, though. I take a lot of pride in my defense. You play for your teammates. I love the idea of helping out our pitching staff or picking up one of the guys across the diamond on a bad throw. As a third baseman most of my career, I know what it?s like to throw the ball in the dirt and I know how it feels to have a good first baseman make a good scoop and save an error.

As an infielder your confidence rises when you know you have someone at first base who can make a lot of plays. But I?m pretty fortunate, too, because we have a group of infielders who throw the ball very well.

I played first base my senior year in high school and I played over at first for about a month in high A ball at the beginning of my career, so it wasn?t completely new to me when I moved over to first. It wasn?t completely new to me but it wasn?t something I?d been doing on a daily basis, either.

I?ve had a lot of help becoming a first baseman in the Major Leagues, too. Last year, DeMarlo Hale, was our infield coordinator and he helped a lot. Terry Francona was a first baseman so he had a lot to offer. Brad Mills, our bench coach, has been great. Dave McCarty and J.T. Snow were always giving me pointers a couple years ago.

But really it?s a matter of getting a lot of repetitions. You need to take a lot of ground balls and get to the point where you have confidence and a good feel for the position. A lot of it for me was trying to transfer my third base skills across the diamond.

***

Drew350We?ve had a great first half.  We feel we could have done a little better here and there and we know we can definitely be better than we are right now but, on the other hand, we?re in a good position and have a nice lead in our division.

Now we need to keep building on our lead. There?s no such thing as enough cushion in the AL East with the quality of our opponents. We need to keep putting more ground between us and the second- and third-place teams in the second half. We don?t want them getting any closer.

***

As for the All-Star break, it will be nice to get a few days of rest. We?re playing it by ear at this point. We?ve talked about staying around the New England area and finding a beach resort or maybe going out to Vegas. I?ll let you know how it works out.

66 Comments

Your plans should calling for you to be in San Francisco All-Star Week. You deserve it.

http://soxanddawgs.com

I was there for the 11 inning game on Wednesday (I just blogged about the Seattle buzz saw). My husband and I sat right 17 rows away from first base and enjoyed a great day. I’ve lived in Seattle since ’93 but was born in Boston (Oct. ’67, if that gives me more street cred…) and have been a lifelong sox fan. I was sorry I couldn’t cast an all-star vote for you. You’re a great asset to that team and to MLBlogs. Keep up the good work!
http://www.SavvyGirlsofSummer.com

Pack yer bags pally, we’re sending you to SF.

WRITE IN YOUKKKK!!!!!!

Youk we’re sending you to the all star game! you were my write in every time. You deserve it!!! keep up the good work at first base!

Great job & congrats on the record!

Congrats on the record and on the first half. It’s great to see an infield that is solid on defense. I know that Julio Lugo gets criticism about his defense (and, of course, his hitting right now), but he is a decent defensive shortstop, with the exception of the occasional bad throw that you have to pick. Good luck in the second half. And good luck with getting an All-Star spot that you deserve.

Jeff

http://www.soxandpinstripes.com

Why don’t you write about something other than baseball? We already watch you play every day, so it’d be cool to hear about your life outside of the game.

As always, great to read your update! It’s interesting to hear some of the team’s thoughts on the season thus far & the change from 3rd to 1st. I understand the other poster asking to hear about your life outside of baseball & while that would be cool, I also understand & respect that you’d want to keep that private too.
Thanks to all of you for the amazing first half so far! Keep everyone healthy & let’s blow it out of the water in the second half! I hope to see you in San Fran for the All Star break! You deserve it!

Hi Youk! You are my FAVORITE Red Sox player. I’ve chatted with your brother about your Youk’s Hot Sauce (he was going to donate an autographed bottle to our Relay for Life fundraiser – but unfortunately it’s unavailable right now) so I’m waiting until I can get myself a bottle. You always play baseball with your whole heart and soul and put everything you have in to it and you also do such great things off the baseball field raising money for important causes – I want to say thank you Kevin Youkilis. I hope to read more about them on your blog. You are the best! You deserve to play in the All Star Game, you are of course, my pick!

hey, don’t be making too many all star break plans…you just might be heading to san francisco :) …hopefully the players who vote on their ballot will be smart enough to pick an excellent first basemen who has the highest batting average on the team (and 10th in the league!) :D… good luck!!

I’ll be there for the Chi Sox series, make me proud. You’re the greatest player ever to be in the tribe, in my opinion, except for maybe Koufax and Greenberg.

hey, u guys dont need to worry too much about lack of offense, i mean its a fact good pitching leads to offensive slumps in opposing ballclubs. thats usualy what our rotation does to other clubs’ batters. u guys faced a plethora of good pitching on that road trip. and yea u definitely deserve to be a all-star. i remember so clearly that year when u were a swingman between the majors and triple A, when u hit the game winning RBI, and u had to be sent back down later that night. i was furious. theres no doubt uv come a long way. offensive MVP : youkilis. ur definitely the most CONSISTENT threat at the plate. pitching MVP: okajima, and tavares needs some cred, too. man just please don’t tire out by the end of the season..

Congratz on the record, you very well deserve it. Keep putting your heart and soul on the field, you more than everyone knows that your team greatly appreciate all of your efforts to take them for another World Series =)
Hope you have fun in your vacations!

Luis (born in Dominican Republic, living in NY, and always been a RedSox fan!)

Yooooouuuukkk!!! I love watching you play. Everytime you come up to the plate I feel confident that your going to get a hit. Your definetly allstar material. I hope your part of it. When you guys go to tampa on the 28th of July, Im going to be there. So pull through for me and let me see a win!!! :)

Congratulations for your remarkable record!!! keep it better.

From Italy and italian Boston Red Sox fan, Emilio.

Yoooouuuuukkkkkkk!!!

Hey dude, I own a house on Revere Beach, your welcome to come up and hang out.

I’ll make myself scarce if you walk the dog for a week.

Tough choice, Revere Beach or the All Star game in S.F.!!! You have certainly deserved to be there and it is your 2nd full season and you get the nod, that speaks volumes right there. Who knows you get the call that your going and you might end up playing 3b in the game!!! Of course after the break we’ll be hearing all sorts of rumors regarding the Red Sox and some true and some not!!! Looking forward to the 2nd half and good luck the rest of the way!!!

hey youk! your season brings all smles back down here on the cape! I have been on Mike Rikard for the last three years telling him to get Theo on the right page! I hope Froggie has enough lobsters ready for a few more home runs! Hey remember the day that guy tried to kick you me coach Spaz and Rikard off the golf course because he thought we snuck on? hey you went through sun delays down here and even when your folks won the fifty fifty at chatham the night Duquette was there! we all knew you would make it big!!! well keep on keepin on! Hey what ever happened to Dwight edge your room mate at Froggies! Rikard will be here on the cape next week to scout the cape league i wish you could come down and play golf! but we are all pulling for you to be inSANFRAN! good luck and thanks for a great cape league summer when you were here!

My husband and I are huge Sox fans and you are one of our favorite players. We think you are awesome and were very disappointed you did not make the All Star Team. There is no doubt you should have. We went down to SD last weekend to cheer the Sox on and was disappointed you did not play much on Sat & Sun. We will be in SD again the next time the Sox play and hope that you will be in the starting line up. Hopefully you wont be on your day/s off. Take care and keep up the great hitting.

So sorry and disappointed that you weren’t selected to go to the All Star game! As I wrote in a post that wasn’t posted, you are the Sox’ MVP thus far, in my book. Your work ethic and performance are stellar.

keep up the hard work and perennial will be the adjective we use in regards to your all star appearances…not snubbed!

I am really upset that you didn’t get voted into the All Star team. As much as I love Big Papi I really think you deserve to play. In my opinion you are the best first baseman out there. Keep up the good work!!!!!!

Youk
I have been a major fan of yours since your first major league game. Ask my husband and son, I called it when I said you are going to be a great MLB player. I’m very disappointed you did not make the all star game, but your statement about wanting the world series as your real goal rings true everyday you play. I hope some day to meet you.

You guys have played hard this first half. You have certainly earned your break. And even though you’ve shown a great attitude about it, I want you to know you’re an All Star in my book — and I even named you as a write-in when I voted on the ballot.

Thanks for making 2007 a fun season so far for Sox fans! Can’t wait to see where the second half brings us!

http://daybreak1012.blogspot.com

you totally deserved to go to the allstar game. you all did actually. youll always be an allstar with me. you guys had a great first half and hey, thanks for that :) good luck second half… gotta keep that pace going :DD [knock on wood]

hey great first half , always been a red sox fan always will be :) do you even have time to read the lil notes we put up for you and the red sox? did pedoria stop bringing in lunch bags from mcdonalds hahah i thought that was pretty funnuy when tito said that ok well good luck second half im with ya all the way .. have fun whatever you do , you deserve it :) thanks Ed Laramee in florida

my husband and I are big red sox fans and always will be. we are so impressed with how you play the game…101% we are so disappointed that you did not make the all stars…somethings wrong there. you are the BEST!!!!
GO RED SOX

Hey Youk,
I think you got jobbed on getting into the all star game. You are by far the best first baseman in the league. Congrats on setting the record. Also have you heard the cool song that WAAF did in your honor? Check it out if you haven’t. Good luck with the rest of the year.

Kevin, Peeps never seem to appreciate Jewish Pisces peeps who have a first name that starts with the letter “K” – takes one to know one.

“Youk’re” definitely All-Star worthy…

YOOOOOOOOUUUUUUUUUUUUK! im sure you get this all the time, but Please tell me you have seen the nesn video with dennis leary. I could watch it all the time, its hillarius. anyways your a great player, you were defetley deserving of an all star spot but there just wasnt enough room. Keep banging those at bats out, i love to watch you play.-bryan

Youk! Great to hear about what’s going on with you. Can’t wait for the next update!!

I think it is outlandish that Youkilis is not on the All-Star Team! This kid has exlemplified what an All-Star is supposed to play like. To be left off the squad denigrates the AL team and the game itself. If not Youkilis, who? Lowell? Rediculous!

YOUK!
So disappointed about the All-Star game – as much as I love and appreciate Papi – this season you have out-shined him in every aspect of what it takes to be an All-Star player! You’re the hardest working guy on the whole team, it shows every single time you’re on the field, and hopefully you’ll soon get the credit you deserve. Keep doing what you’re doing – kicking @$$ on First and racking in those RBIs – Boston loves you! :-) ~Ellen~

Hey Youk!
You should be going to the All Star game, but I’m sort of glad you’ll get a chance to take it easy and get some rest! You’re hands-down the best first baseman in the league. I love the way you play—never worry about those sharp shots up the line or those bad throws that you always seem to scoop. And you make it look effortless!

Take good care and know that no matter what, I’ll be out here in Texas rooting for you.

Bryan’s right about that Denis Leary video. I have it and watch it often…still makes me laugh so hard I mess up my mascara! I hope you’ve seen it.

Youk, You are the bomb! I think you are an excellent player and awesome first baseman. I am so addicted to the red sox and you! take care of yourself and if you ever need a nurse, call me!

YOOOOOUUUUUUUUUUKKKKKKKKK!!!!

How’s the hammy feeling? Great game tonight. Give Pedroia $h!t for me for bobbling that grounder tonight. Gotta love the kid, he’s All-Star material one of these days.

Dude, I didn’t know you have a hot sauce!!! Hook us up!!! I’m a line cook, I’d LOVE to use it in the restaurant I work in down here, SW FLA not far from Tampa.

The owner, kitchen manager, 3 of the waitrons, and a busgirl are all from Mass. and are all RSN. We have XM Radio in the Kitchen and the Sox Season Schedule posted in the Office, so when the games are on I make sure we blast it out of the kitchen.

Finish off the BottomFeeders, take care of the Tigers and enjoy some time off.

You deserve to be in SF!

Hey Kevin -
You are an All Star, whether you’re on the team or not – and I hope your team mates have conveyed that to you.

The All Star break is always a time I dread because usually, there’s a good groove going on – and the break interrupts it. You guys are in a good place, but I think I’m happy that the bats aren’t hot at the moment; let things kick up after the break rather than slow down which is more often than not the case.

Enjoy the 4th, enjoy the short time off. Eh, I’d say skip Vegas. You can go anytime…summer around here is gorgeous and truly, who wants to deal with jetlag??? :)

Looking forward to your next post.

http://supergoddessgirl.blogspot.com

hey kevin you got all the votes here on the cape and we know who shoud be starting at first! you are the type of guy that battles on no matter what! how many trips up from pawtucket? you never gave up and you will be there someday! you cant be denied the numbers from spring training until now you lead all the catagories!! Kevin your on our allstar team anytime you come over the bridge to the cape! chatham is not a bad place to be inducted into the cape league either! keep on keeepin on!!!!!

Youk,

simple fact, whether your in San Fran or not you are an all star. Thanks for being our guy!

Lars

Hey Kevin:
I am a life long Sox fan and you are one of my favorite players. I always appreciate how hard you play [offense & defense]. We know your heart ‘n soul are in the game – along with your amazing talent. Thanks for being Youk.

Kevin,

I see you are not in the lineup tonight, two nights in a row. Are you resting an injury? Resting for the Tigers this weekend? Thanks for your great, and increasingly more productive, contributions to the Sox.

How are you not an all-star. Its ridiculous, you deserve it! This lineup has been carried by guys like you this year with Ortiz and Manny struggling at times. Keep up the great effort and get well soon!

O yea, and check out this article that was written about you by Buster Olney at ESPN. You clearly are very unique and keep it up! Your heart and effort is not seen in the game enough today. Good job!
http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2927659

OR

http://metssox.metsblog.com/

Hey Kevin:

Do you know that the Red Sox are huge over here in England?

Thousands like me support the Sox and you are one of our favourite players.

You deserve the 1st base award and you should be going to San Fran..

Take care, keep up the good work and then all members of the Red Sox nation will be celebrating come October!!

well ya Carl Taylor… don’t you know, Red Sox nation has gone global son!

Youk, you are the effing man. I can’t wait to see you get back to healthy status and playing every day.

you should be an all star, but you know that’s not what the game is about. keep playing the way you do man, we all love watching you.

that pic of you at first defintely looks like he’s stepping on your leg too! hah!

GO SOX!

Just wanted to let Youk fans know about an amusing, if potentially offensive, error on the Baseball Prospectus website, as reported in the NJ Jewish News, where I’m the sports editor:

Sticks and stones

With hundreds of individual athlete pages to keep track of, sports Web sites often use their own brand of shorthand to identify the players, sometimes with unfortunate results.

Bangitout.com, a Jewish humor Web site, reported this faux pas on Baseball Prospectus, one of the most respected and visited sites on the national pastime.

BP?s page for Kevin Youkilis, the Red Sox?s Jewish infielder, comes up as ?youkike.? Their standard for naming pages incorporates the first five letters of the player?s last name (in this case youki) and the first two letters of his first name (ke). They have since edited the page name by adding several underscore characters to separate the two parts.

?Baseball-reference.com has the same naming convention, but they obviously caught the lettering mishap,? Bangitout reported. ?They replaced the ?i??with an ?l,? so their URL reads: youklke.?

Cheers,

Ron Kaplan

Baseballbookshelf.mlblogs.com

Hey, Youk – Looking forward to the Spectacle tonight, but wishing you were there. Your hard work and great play will, no doubt, be recognized throughout the MLB world shortly – for now, know that you’re an All-star to us in the Nation! (Vermont loves ya!!!)
As an aside, 3 of my kids and I were lucky enough to be in Beantown for the “Mother’s Day Miracle” and I caught the Friday night game with Texas – both great games – but I love the fact that my daughter and I were there in 2004 for one of your “brought him up” games. Kind of “knew you when”, and knew then that you’d be the great player you are!

Praying you’ll start the second half healthy!!

hey youk! we all watched the game down here last night at the trading post! we took a vote and we all said that #20 is the red sox 1st baseman and that no one should represent them at that spot! hey you should see the Braves new field down here! No more sun delays! Big second half coming your way! Good luck see you in October! Remember two rings better than one!

kevin i hate to say this dont for get where u came from. uc needs you to help out in the off season i have seen you at a couple of games (baseketball)but brain cleary is gettin old and when its the right time he will get fired he has not did anything and years.
help save his job

Uc fan

Kevin,
I had the time of my life on the weekend before the 4th as my family and I traveled from Texas to Boston to see you guys play our Rangers. It was my first time (and likely only time) to be at the great Fenway Park to see my favorite team play. Just to clarify, my favorite team is NOT the Rangers! It’s the greatest team in all of baseball, the Red Sox. Been a fan since the early days of Yaz! Anyway, it was great fun to yell “YOOUUUUUKKK!!” with all of the Fenway Faithful, and most especially to sing “Sweet Caroline” in the 8th inning! I hope you all stay healthy this year and finish the season as strong as you started it!

Great first half Youk!!!

JB

Kevin, we live in upstate NY in Yankee land. I grew up in Mass and am a lifelong fan. I just want to let you know that we go to about 2 or 3 games a year, and my son who has a disability similar to autism was with us at the game when you hit the inside the park hr. He is 9 yrs. old but is about 5 yrs in his development. This is a kid who has no attention span to sit still to watch Sponge Bob, but he will sit and watch a baseball game. He will tell me when a lefty or a righty is batting. He loves You and Papi, and loves to be at Fenway Park. I was afraid he would be overwhelmed there, but he’s been to 2 games and has done very well (he thinks papi hit a home run for HIM). It’s not always easy getting him to a game…a 4 hour drive. This is not always easy with a child who needs a very structured schedule, but I have to, and want to do it. It is amazing to me that I’ll turn on the tv and ask him what he wants to watch…cartoons?…no…”is there a game on mom?” He’d rather have that game on than anything else. “Mom…is that where we were?” Yes, baby, it was.
Fenway Park is our special place.

Thanks.

Hey Kevin,
Thanks for the great first half. Bro’ you are a HOOVER at first. I am a Boston born New Yorker and will never be anything other than a Sox fan. Great to see a “Member of the Tribe” doing so well. We have needed an athletic first bagger for some time. Stay healthy we need you down the stretch.

Dear Kevin, Isigned up to comment on your batting. It seems that when you start an at bat you are more prone to take what I perceive as dynamite easy pitches for strikes. By the time your serious, you are defending low and away strikes or balls in the dirt. My opinion, but you get the drift.

I share the same testimony as npokat.

Kevin you really rock, I have never seen anyone give as much as you do. No matter how far down the Sox are I always feel good when you come to the plate. You always have a great at bat and give it your all. Stay healthy and good luck to you and all the players.

Kevin you are a very good ball player the only complaint i have is when you get two strikes on you instead of becoming defencive you tend to become an umpire and wind up striking out on a pitch that you think is a ball. Check your stats to see how many times this has happened.

Boston Red Sox first baseman and Bald Guyz spokesperson, Kevin Youkilis, will host the first ever Bald Guyz 8-Ball Challenge at the Boston Billiard Club during the month of September.

For more information on the event please visit:

http://baldguyz8ballchallenge.blogspot.com/

Good to see Youk hitting the ball well again. I am hoping the Sox do not make any major deals at the deadline. The chemistry is great with true professionals like Lowell, Youk, Pedroia, Varitek, Papelbon and Timlin. Would like to see Reggie Sanders or another productive right-handed hitting fourth outfielder, but otherwise the lineup, rotation and bullpen is fine.

Jeff

http://www.soxandpinstripes.com

youk… seriously you need to stop…. your a good ballplayer but not neccessarily a good writer!!!

anyway…. rsn loves you…

Hello Kevin, I am looking to organize a 10-day trip to Israel for young adults 20s/30s in the Boston area and had the idea that you might like to join us for all/some of the trip. The trip would take place during the off-season, and your expenses woud be covered. I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Israel but, either way, having you on the trip would be a cool experience for others who might otherwise not be inclined to make their first visit there.
If this might be of interest to you, kindly write me back at: dschimmel@verizon.net

Thank you,

David Schimmel

(Boston, MA)

“youk… seriously you need to stop…. your a good ballplayer but not neccessarily a good writer!!!”

Heh. Actually, from someone who aced English class, you’re pretty darn sharp :) I’m sure I’m not the only one who enjoys your down-to-earth and charismatic writing style… and we’re looking forward to your next update.

I gotta say, I’ve always been more into playing sports than watching them, but finally started paying attention the past couple years… and despite being raised in Atlanta, I may as well be a transplanted northerner… I’m loving the Red Sox and your playing in particular! Boston’s definitely got the best baseball in the country, in terms of both fans and players…

Here is my take on the deal, we completed 50% of filling our holes and if you ask me, it was the wrong 50%. I do not understand how we didn’t pick up another bat or why don’t we bring Ellsbury back up. Hinske and Mo Pena are absolutely horrible and other teams know that. The worst is when Wakefield pitches because the bottom of our order absolutely stinks.

I am a logical person and I am trying to reason with some of these facts:

1st point: We got rid of JC Romero and Piniero, who weren’t great, but their performance was better then Hinske and Pena, how come these guys haven’t been designated for assignment?

2nd point: Didn’t we just put Tavarez back in the bullpen because he s*cked as a starter? So let me get this straight, we traded for an iffy reliever, when we already have the best bullpen in the majors, and Tavarez is starting today because we traded the Gabbard who would have started today. Just to put the cherry on top, Tavarez wasn’t very good in his last relief appearance!

So what did we really accomplish yesterday? Nothing, the biggest hole is our bench players. Let’s not forget, it was a bench player in 2004 who made it all possible, Dave Roberts. Way to go Sox!

hey YOOOOUUUUUUUUUKKKKK!!!!! I just saw my very first game a few days ago at tampa bay when we won in the twelvth inning. anyway just wondering if you could e-mail me at drewbarthel18@cox.net.or any girl between the ages of 10-13 as of 2007.YOOOUUUUKKK YOU ROCK YOU ARE THE BEST FIRSTBASEMAN IN HISTORY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Youk:

Your a poor excuse for a major league hitter, you strike out, more then you drive in runs! Get with it, or hit the bench.

congrats dude!! Dwight Edge

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