Pre-ramble: I wrote this early on the morning of July 7th, 2012, when Kevin Youkilis was at the height of his White Sox heroics. I shared the cartoon above but Hawk's TWTW stat reminded me that I never shared my Youk-inspired stat.
If form follows function, Kevin Youkilis’ batting stance suggests he’s trying to hit knuckleballs shot from the pitcher’s ass. Bat over his head, pointed at the pitcher, top hand twisted at the base of the barrel, knees fully knocked, he seems to bouncing in an effort to catch the last tooth on his inner gear to lock into fully-coiled position. His face is working too hard.
Results are what matter, boys. You can’t judge a cake by its candles. Sometimes, annoying and useless histrionics don’t adversely affect the outcome. Sometimes, a guy will avoid writing, "you can’t judge a book by its cover," simply because they’re trying to be cute. I don’t know what Kevin Youkilis is trying to accomplish with his silly crap. When he was in a Red Sox uniform, I wanted Kevin Youkilis to knock it off. Knock it all the fuck off. It wasn’t cute. There is no way that batting stance serves a purpose. He may have gotten on base. He may have struck out. I only remember he was on my TV acting like a spaz, until he wasn’t. He was a coffee table book with a giant Red Sox penis on the cover. If Slaughterhouse Five was on the pages, I would have never known.
My newfound respect for Youk is not tempered by my oldlost distain for Youkilis. Kiss my ass. Now alookyhere: I respect the talent evaluators focused on the value of a player’s production. It’s an aspect of the game that is consumable, but it’s the broccoli in my diet. I’m more focused on the number of times a guy makes me go, "yea," versus the times I go, "fuck this guy." The number of times I "go" is a real real rough number, by the way. General Managers probably grew up reading stats on baseball cards. Their eyes probably jumped to the AVG column, or maybe they liked the HR column. The OBP column probably seemed interesting, but that was still some Carl Sagan shit back in 1981. At 4am this morning, I was thinking about my new love of Youk, and I remembered that I used to focus on the TEAM column. A guy’s journey through the TEAM column was a good story. The length of a guy’s career was not measured in years but by the font size on the back of his baseball card. I liked the baseball hobos, traveling through minor league towns with a couple recognizable major league towns sprinkled in. One horrifying day, I discovered Dennis Lamp’s closest contained skeletons in Cubs jerseys.
What the fuck, my South Side Sox friends, am I blathering about? I’ll tell you what. Yooooooouk! Some people like his OBP. Some people combine his OBP and SLG and get aroused. I’ve invented a new stat: OPT (OBP + TEAM.) Youkilis’ OPT was once around .380BOS. Fuck that guy. He’s recently raised his OPT to something around .380CWS. He’s the Greek God of OPT. And he’s fun to watch. He has an adorable batting stance.