Questions For…Kevin Youkilis
The man all Red Sox followers know simply as “Yoooooook” has been getting his hits, and taking some recently, ever since he arrived in the Major Leagues. Now he is doing it for a good cause, with the launch of Kevin Youkilis Hits For Kids, his private, nonprofit charity that will raise support and awareness for community-based children’s charities and medical research. We talked to Kevin about his new charity, why the Yankees seem to take target-practice with him, Moneyball and Cincinnati Bearcat football.
Tell me about your charity. How did it come about?
I’ve been trying to get this going for a couple of years now. I was trying to figure out the best way possible and I was doing research on how I can raise the most money to go to programs that need it the most. Our whole goal is to focus on underfunded programs to help out children throughout New England.
Why is this cause important to you?
When I was a child I had a ruptured appendix and I spent 10 days in Children’s Hospital in Cincinnati. Even at a young age I saw how great everyone was and how much I appreciated it. I always knew I wanted to help. I’m just fortunate to play for such a great organization that’s so geared toward philanthropy.
Your first big event is called Crackin’ It Up (at Mohegan Sun, November 10). What is that going to be like?
It’s going to be awesome. We’re pretty excited to have it in such a big place. There will be a silent auction, a reception, a raw bar, live jazz and Mike O’Malley will host. It will be something different. (Check the details here)
(Note: This interview was conducted Wednesday afternoon)
Let’s talk baseball. How’s the wrist?
It’s getting better. It’s not 100 percent, but at this time of the year nothing is. I had a hard time (Tuesday night). With four games left, I’ve had enough at-bats. Now I just have to strengthen it.
This isn’t the first time someone from the Yankees has taken a shot at you. What’s up with that?
I don’t know. You’d have to ask the Yankees. I don’t even think about it. It doesn’t bother me.
This late in the year, everyone wants to look ahead to the playoffs and try to figure out which matchup is the best. Do you spend any time thinking about who you’re going to play?
We just go the field every day. We don’t factor in who we’re going to play. That’s one for the coaches and the scouts and the guys that do the preparation. For us, we play the game, and if we play our best, we’re going to win.
You were a guy who had a bit of a cult following while you were still in the minor leagues because of Moneyball (the best-seller that referenced Youkilis as the “Greek God of Walks.” Youkilis is, of course, not Greek.) Did that have any impact on you?
I had to answer a lot more questions from the media. Everyone wanted to know about the book, why I was in it, and what my philosophies are. It was weird. You’re just trying to make it to the Major Leagues and you don’t know why you’re in a book. Fortunately I did make it and I guess I made Billy Beane and Michael Lewis look good.
Ok, last question. I can’t let you go without asking you about your Cincinnati Bearcats (who are ranked in the AP poll for the first time in 31 years).
It’s the greatest. I’m so proud of them being in the Top 25. I’m excited for when they play Rutgers (on Oct. 6), but you can’t overlook SDSU.