Youk strolled into Spring Training rocking the gnarliest Fu-Man Chu. (Zac Trainor Illustration)
Sitting in my Beacon Street apartment, just down the street from 4 Yawkey Way, the air outside bites like a dog - informing me a snowstorm’s on its way. It’s one hell of a way to welcome in March, especially since the warm feelings of baseball already are starting to creep back into my consciousness. But at least I’m still in tune with some of my hidden senses, despite dulling that knife with the rigors of a city life.
Staying in line with those extra senses, I’m going to boldly predict that Kevin Youkilis will become the American Leagues MVP in the year 2009, it’s something I can just feel in my bones. Maybe my heads still fuzzy from a long Saturday night of revelry at Beer Works, but it’s a vision I can’t ignore. The table seems perfectly set for Youk to have the kind of stats only MVP winners garnish.
Last year was a true breakout year for Youk as as you began to see power numbers that are expected from an American League first-basemen. The remarkable thing here is that Youk didn’t sacrifice his on base percentage one point for this added power. He may not have seen as many pitches as he has in years past, but his vast gain in RBI most certainly makes up for that loss. Plus if anything, he’s gaining the ability to sweat more with age, which makes for a slippery situation for the opposition, and competition for Kevin Garnett.
Sweat stains aside, Youk seems to have a swagger about him that is different from years past. Who knows, maybe his feud with Manny was larger then most realized. We all remember their little skirmish in the dugout last year, which in retrospect was the true beginning of the end for Manny and his Jazz Hands. The fact that Youk strolled into Spring Training rocking the gnarliest Fu-Man Chu that has ever graced the eyes of man, shows a guy of deep rooted confidence and wisdom, along with the secret knowledge of the arts from the Shaolin Temple. We may even begin to see Youk doing some shadow boxing in the dugout all while hitting well above .350. If the RZA then starts providing the back beat for NESN spots we’ll certainly know who’s the true mastermind behind it all, and his name isn’t Heidi Watney.
Plus it’s widely known how competitive Pedroia & Youk are. There’s no way that Youk can let Dustin be one-up on him in the hardware department for long. Shoot, Youk’s already moved on from the epic Fu-Man Chu and is now just rocking a strait-up soul patch. I mean, who died and made Youk Doug Mirabelli anyways?
Lastly, Youk’s heading into this season with a contract signed, and knowing he’s needed from the start to produce great offense numbers now with Manny gone. And he also knows that people think he can’t do it, and I see Kevin being the type of player driven by such doubts. So be ready to see our sweaty first-basemen produce at an extremely high level, and expect to see him to collect the 2009 MVP in the process.
As Phil Collin’s once put it, “I can feel it coming in the air tonight, oh lord.”