The Boston Red Sox finally pulled the trigger on trading one of their core players from the past eight and a half seasons. It has been widely reported that Sox star Kevin Youkilis was officially traded to the Chicago White Sox after Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Braves.
Youkilis or “Youk” as so many Red Sox fans affectionately called him went out with a standing ovation from the sell-out crowd in attendance. He also received a big ovation from crowd before his first at bat in the second inning.
Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington called manager Bobby Valentine before the bottom of the seventh inning to let him know that something was in the works with Youkilis.
Valentine went back to the dugout and notified the team and filled them in with the news. Youkilis got the message right before he stepped into the batter’s box and was given the opportunity to leave Fenway in style.
In what is now his last at bat in a Red Sox uniform, Youkilis delivered with a triple off of Braves pitcher Chad Durbin. The ball was ripped to deep right center field as Braves right fielder Jason Heyward failed to make a play on the big rip from Youkilis.
After reaching third base Youkilis was subsequently pulled from the game for pinch runner Nick Punto. In what was an emotional scene, Youkilis got a big hug from Punto and then from the Boston players who emptied out of the dugout to the top step.
It did not take a genius to figure out that something was going on and that the players knew about it as their emotions toward Youkilis made it obvious. Red Sox fans are amongst the most knowledgeable fans in the game and they had to know this was goodbye.
The Youkilis and Will Middlebrooks situation was beaten like a dead horse in the media and Boston fans all but knew that the older veteran was on his way out of town at any moment. Boston fans stood and chanted “Youk” as he went into the dugout only to come out for a curtain call with the urging of his teammates.
Boston fans showed class by saluting a two time world champion on his exit. The trade leaves David Ortiz as the only player left from the 2004 championship team. Man, does 2004 seem like forever ago or what?