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Soup of This Day #275: Well It’s A Happenin’ Thing

December 16, 2012

Lightning
Another lightning strike, another mythical baseball story. It’s less about the technical details of the lightning and more about the magic of the story – Photo: Rainer Knäpper, 2009. Rainer Knäpper is not affiliated with Longworth72. Image cropped by Longworth72.

Back in the mid-90’s I did a course in website design. I could code a program and so it was easy credit – Never mind that I’m pathologically incapable of combining 2 colours, let alone multiple elements, into a cohesive design.

Still, that latter skill deficiency didn’t matter in those embryonic days of web aesthetics. If you could make a toaster appear to fly you clearly had the kind of design mojo suitable for the hot new medium of the coming millennium.

And my toasters could fly like a zeppelin. Usually in multiple frames across the screen.

In this course though I soon learned that frames were bad. 1 also learned that a website is only as good as it is current.

Which is awkward for Longworth72.

I hope that latter rule is not a hard-and-fast 1 with no exceptions. Longworth72 you see is not very current – My 2nd to last post featured a baseball catcher who was tearing up the leagues in the 1870’s. True, Deacon White will be admitted into Cooperstown in July of next year, so you could make an argument that my post is even a little ahead of its time. Still, almost none of the information I presented was new.

It’s because I’m a great believer in loyalty. Of a sorts.

I’m loyal to the story of Deacon White. Mostly because the details around him fit that post and the skein running through it. They also have a link to this post:

Deacon White left the Boston Red Stockings to join the Chicago White Sox in 1875. 136 years later Kevin Youkilis left the Boston Red Sox to join the Chicago White Sox. Back in 1877 White returned to Boston after just the 1 term away – Could Youkilis return to Boston too?

Probably not now – He’s signed a 1 year $12m deal with the Yankees.

Youkilis apparently wants to play and to compete.

Going to New York mostly fits those criteria – At least better than returning to Boston. He would struggle to get a game for the Red Sox – The reasoning behind him being traded remains valid – Will Middlebrooks is seen as the future at 3rd and neither the club nor Youkilis would be happy with a platooning arrangement. Youk is 33 and his powers are seemingly on the wane – He needs to be maximising his game-time now. Middlebrooks, by contrast, is just 24 and last season he batted .288 with 54 RBIs. The kid needs to make the most of his time on the field of combat too.

Brooks was ‘ere and he will be staying ‘ere.

And if Youkilis wants another ring in a hurry then Boston is not for him either. They’re rebuilding down Yawkey Way – Looking to bounce back from a disastrous 2 seasons on the trot – A period across which they chose to prolong a superstar list past it’s use-by date in the hope of 1 last rush for glory. That plan failed catastrophically and now it’s likely that steady improvement will be the mantra for the next couple of years.

That alone will be difficult enough. The American League East looks again like 1 of the toughest Divisions in the majors – The Blue Jays have made their intentions clear early with blockbuster trades for established talent. The Orioles have largely kept the ingredients of 2011 in the pot and they will surely be dishing up a challenge again. The Rays meanwhile will be solid, rebounding from a disappointing year where they were not quite good enough, while the Yankees…

Ahh, the Yankees… They’ll be there-abouts in most pre-season discussions and that’s surely what a competitor like Youkilis wants.

You can’t not be in the mix early on with that payroll. Don’t be thinking though that it’s a given that the Yankees will actually be in the picture come October 2013 – The New Yorkers are coming off a fairly disappointing 2012 and have an aging payroll that looks more set to corner the market in high-end Zimmer frames than World Series rings. Kevin Youkilis isn’t as old as some of the Yankees key pieces – Hiroki Kuroda is 37, as is Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter is 38, Andy Pettitte is 40 and closer Mariano Rivera is 43 – but he’s not injecting youthful vitality into the line-up either.

Unless he’s an alien, intent on rescuing his marooned buddies from hibernation in the sewer system beneath Yankee Stadium. In which case he’ll imbue the ballpark with a life-giving field of Iowan corn where retired old players can fashion wonder-bats from a grove of lightning-struck trees tended by Steve Guttenberg.

Some or all of that could just be from the cocoon that is my mind – A field of movie dreams mashed up in my head – The natural product of a vivid imagination.

That stars Steve Guttenberg.

It’s a little messy up in there.

That’s all in my head though. My heart has a different, less ambivalent view on Kevin Youkilis going to the Yankees. Bluntly, I’d rather he didn’t. If we rule out the Red Sox, then there are 28 other teams in the majors that I’d prefer to see Youk go to.

But that aside, I’ll not be booing Youk or otherwise begrudging him his chances at the plate. For 1, as others have pointed out, a resounding ‘Boooooooo’ is largely indistinguishable from Fenway’s characteristic ‘Yooouuuuuk’ chant.

Ambiguous yelling at sporting events is a sure sign of madness.

And for 2, there’s this story stuck in my mind – It features Kevin Youkilis batting at .500 through the 2007 American League Championship Series (ALCS), driving his team on for the title.

I’m loyal to that story and so I wish Kevin Youkilis well. And I’m not alone – Just yesterday, out Christmas shopping in Perth, Western Australia, I passed a guy wearing a Red Sox t-shirt. On the back was a No.20 and the name Youkilis. That’s some cling to history from 1 gazillion kilometres away.

Others who are geographically closer might feel differently. 1 of the blogs that I link to will be a sure-fire litmus test – Too Soxy for my Shirt has been a committed Red Sox fan and future bride of Youkilis for a while now. That Kevin Youkilis doesn’t seem to know her hasn’t harshed her flow and she has written some pretty cool stuff along the journey.

Until September 2011, and then Bobby Valentine, happened.

Then Too Soxy went quiet. Like a submarine in enemy waters, deep and silent.

I didn’t remove the link though. I say this not to big-note my loyalty cred, but instead to explain why this blog can seem a little out of date. It’s not laziness you see – It’s because I cling to a quixotic belief that all of those links, regardless of how offline they might seem, will come good again.

Early on I implied a link between the Boston Red Stockings and the Boston Red Sox. Which is a valid connection.

Of a sorts.

The Boston Red Stockings are from Boston and wore red hosiery. The same is true of the Red Sox but that’s where the parallels end. The Red Stockings became the Red Caps, the Beaneaters, the Doves, the Rustlers, the Braves, the Bees and then the Braves again. Along the way, in 1907 they lost the red from their socks – Apparently the manager thought that the colour would lead wounds to become infected.

He probably wasn’t a big fan of the American Red Cross then.

Then in 1953 they moved to Milwaukee before in 1966, settling into the city they now call home.

I’m wondering if the Atlanta Braves need a gritty 3rd baseman in 2014?

Well It’s A Happenin’ Thing

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