First Pitch: In defense of Youk

February, 15, 2013
2/15/13
6:00
AM ET
TAMPA, Fla. -- Kevin Youkilis told the truth.

"I'll always be a Red Sock," Youkilis said on Thursday. "To negate all the years I played for the Boston Red Sox, and all the tradition, you look at all the stuff I have piled up at my house and to say I'd just throw it out the window, it's not true.

"Those were great years in Boston. One bad half year doesn't take away from all the great years I had there."

Judging by Twitter -- which perhaps might not be the best judge, but it is what we've got available -- Yankees fans would prefer not to hear that.

But what is Youkilis supposed to say? Should he have sworn off the Red Sox? What should he have done? Should he have burned his two World Series rings to show loyalty to the pinstripes?

The truth is most players don't really care that much about the uniform they have on. This is not to say they don't get into the rivalries or don't care about winning, but this is a business for them. Ultimately, it is about providing as much as possible for their families.

So Youkilis is just being honest, which could hurt him in this case. Some fans seem to have been really against this signing from the start. If his season doesn't begin well, I'm not so sure it ends well.

ON DECK: Wallace Matthews and I will be in the clubhouse when it opens at 9:10 a.m. We are all still waiting on Mariano Rivera.

IN THE HOLE: On Sunday, all position players are due to report so there could be some new players coming through the door as soon as today.

QUESTION: WHAT TYPE OF YEAR WILL YOUK HAVE?
Andrew Marchand is a senior writer for ESPNNewYork. He also regularly contributes to SportsCenter, Baseball Tonight, ESPNews, ESPN New York 98.7 FM and ESPN Radio. He joined ESPN in 2007 after nine years at the New York Post. Follow Andrew on Twitter »

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Jacoby Ellsbury
BA HR RBI R
.271 16 70 71
OTHER LEADERS
HRB. McCann 23
RBIB. McCann 75
RB. Gardner 87
OPSB. Gardner .749
WM. Tanaka 13
ERAH. Kuroda 3.71
SOH. Kuroda 146