No, Kevin Youkilis wants Red Sox fans to know, his signing with the Yankees had nothing to do with getting back at the team that had traded him away.
“Nothing was out of spite in this decision,” Youkilis said on WAAF's "Hill-Man Morning Show" on Tuesday. “People are going to take it however they want, but it was not like that. There was another team that was in the same division. No matter what, it could have gone that way, too, playing against the Red Sox. The whole thing, it was just I really thought this was the best opportunity to win. With what I was presented and different things, it wasn’t anything out of spite.”
After coming up through the Red Sox system and playing parts of nine big league seasons with Boston, Youkilis was traded to the White Sox in June, then signed a one-year, $12 million contract with the Yankees last week as a free agent.
Youkilis said his first choice was to play on the West Coast, where he and his family live in the offseason (his wife had a baby this summer), but the teams that were interested in him, including the Indians and former Sox manager Terry Francona, were in the East and Midwest.
"It wasn’t easy. It wasn’t easy to sign because I had Tito in Cleveland, New York and there were a couple other teams in the mix. But in the end, I had to do what was best," he said. "I thought it was the best opportunity to win the World Series, was with the New York Yankees. I think when you’re a free agent, it’s never easy."
Youkilis said he's grateful that some Red Sox fans already have told him they support his decision.
“The coolest part of this whole thing is I’ve had so many Red Sox fans who have been so appreciative, said, ‘Hey, good luck, we don’t want you to go to the Yankees but we totally understand,’” he said. “That meant a lot to me.”
Youkilis said he'll "always consider Boston a second home" and that he'll miss playing 81 games a season at Fenway Park.
As for whether he thought he'd get booed at Fenway while with the Yankees, Youkilis was philosophical.
“In this day and age we’re living right now, with all the things around this world, we’re booing and getting so worked up about sports. ... Why is it so crazy in sports? This tragedy happens, we have all of this craziness. People are going berserk over a sporting event. It’s wild. It’s wild to me how people can react and act with so much hate in sports. It’s supposed to be a release from your everyday life.
"There’s a lot of problems in our society today. I feel like there’s a lot of hatred and a lot of bad things. It’s the way we treat people from the early going as kids, but the kids only learn from adults. The adults are the ones that teach these kids hate. That’s why I say, at these Yankees games, Red Sox, there’s hate -- there’s so much hate. We need to adjust the society and just love each other a little bit more each day. I don’t know if that will change the outcomes in life, but I think it will help."