Tuesday, December 07, 2004
Happy Chanukah everyone! I felt that, as this is the first Chanukah I will be spending away from home (last year it coincided with Winter Break, this year it does not), I needed to do something special to keep my spirits up. To keep me in that ol' holiday frame of mind, as it were.
Last night, as I bent feverishly over my biology notes, I was struck with an idea. A glorious idea! An idea that completely distracted me from the neurocranial cavity of the shark for a good solid 10 minutes. An idea that saw me punching keys at 1 am, trying to see if it was feasible.
And so, dear reader, I present to you the majestic
8 Days of Jewish Baseball
Every day (night) of Chanukah, this blog will feature a different Jewish professional baseball player. Thrilling stuff! I actually am kind of dorkily excited about it, because I initially thought there might not even be 8 Jewish ballplayers there. Miracle of miracles, a little judicious internet research proves that the oil will last for 8 days and then some. I have 11 guys on my list, which means that I'll actually have to omit a few. They'll be speaking Yiddish in the dugout before you know it.
DAY 1 of the 8 Days of Jewish Baseball will feature, to absolutely no one's surprise, a member of the Boston Red Sox. Because it's the first night, and the Red Sox must always be first.
Number 20; Third base
Boston Red Sox
I'm not sure it's possible for poor Youk to look more awkward, but oh well. For those of you who are not rabid Sox fans, Kevin Youkilis is a sort of utility third-baseman. He's been up and down from the minors most of the year, playing when the Sox need him to do so. He was, however, on the ALDS and World Series 25-man rosters. He's only 25, so his career could develop in almost any direction right now: he could remain a utilityman, or he could eventually turn into a bona fide, quality slugging third baseman.
Youkilis is a crowd favorite for Boston, as anyone who's been to a game he plays in will immediately see. The crowd in Fenway has taken to enthusiastically chanting 'Yooouuuukkkk' whenever he comes up to bat. He has been nicknamed 'The Greek God of Walks' (a reference to his greek-sounding last name and his ability to get tons of walks when he was in the minors), to which manager Terry Francona famously said, "I've seen Youkilis in the shower, and I wouldn't call him the Greek God of anything." Have I mentioned lately that I love the Red Sox?
Youk was raised in Cincinnati as a Conservative Jew. He went to and graduated from college, playing for the University of Cincinnati Bearcats. He's not extremely religious, but he goes to synogogue on all the high holidays (well, except Yom Kippur this year, which fell on the day of a Red Sox/Yankees game...) and generally does all the stuff needed to cement his position as a young, eligible Jewish ballplayer.
DAY 2's Jewish Baseball Player is Number 11. You can try to guess who he is, or wait until tomorrow.
edit: Readers, you have no need to email me your guesses. Please. My inbox can only take so much. And no, it is not Bill Mueller. Smartarses.