Well, it’s not exactly the first time. About a week after being traded he flew back to Boston to retrieve some personal items. “Yeah, I forgot to pack underwear, and my best toothbrush was still all in my Boston condo. I had to all feed the fish and stuff.” During this trip, he did not see any of his old teammates, he said, but he did stop for a nice Boston-style frappe at Toscanini’s. “Ain’t nothing like it,” he said, staring wistfully off to the east.
About returning again to Boston — this time to play in front of formerly-adoring fans and among former teammates — Youk waxed emotional: “It will be different. It will be a different feeling, different dugout and all that stuff. Different emotions, but you have to bear down and really focus…. It’s what the game brings you. A lot of people there will be cheering me on and some … won’t…”
Creamy tears welled up in the infielder’s eyes. “I used to live there, ya know? I got pictures of places from all around there. Pictures with all fans there. Some friends I made for life.”
“Still,” he continued after a moment’s silence, “looking back, what all did it mean? I never felt like I knew how to live there, quite.”
John Darnielle feels you, Youk. He feels you.