Two things I did NOT know about Kevin Youkilis, the best Yankees third baseman with healthy hips: 1. He has tweaked his famous, distinctive batting stance for 2013. 2. He is Tom Brady's brother-in-law.
Youk will discuss those matters and more, including his Jewish upbringing -- which I did know about -- on a special "Yankees Access" that premieres on YES after Tuesday night's Nets postgame.
Jack Curry visited Youkilis and his wife, Julie, at their California home, during which Youkilis demonstrated his new stance, including, according to YES: "lower hands, he's crouching a little more, more balance, a shortened delivery, and he has less of a leg kick."
Here are some quotes from the show that YES sent in a news release:
Curry asks Youkilis what type of relationship he has with Brady, and Youkilis' wife Julie (Tom's sister) says that Tom suggested she take it very slowly with Kevin:
Kevin Youkilis: Well, I can say I'm his only brother right now, so that's a cool thing. We always joke about that: the brother you always wanted, and I'm like, 'I don't know if you wanted me as a brother, but you didn't have a choice in this matter now.' He's great. It's pretty fun. I ask him questions. I even asked a question about coming to New York: 'Could you ever be a Jet or a Giant?' And he's like, 'I don't know. Luckily I'm not in your shoes.' And I'm like, 'Thanks a lot for your advice, buddy!'
Julie Brady-Youkilis: You know, he (Kevin) was living in Boston at the time I was in California (when they started dating). It was really slow. I think we became really good friends because all we had was the long distance. I had told him (Tom Brady), 'I think I may go see him (Youkilis), and he (Tom) goes, 'If I were you, I'd move as slow as molasses.' And I go, 'But Tommy, that means you don't move at all,' and he goes, 'Exactly!'
Youkilis tells Curry that Yankees fan Adam Sandler grudgingly rooted for Youkilis when he played for the Red Sox:
KY: I talked to Adam and he always says it was the hardest thing for him every time I came up to bat. Because being Jewish, he's like, 'Gosh, I gotta root for him; it's sacrilegious not to root for a Jewish ballplayer. But he plays for the Red Sox so I can't root for him.' He said, 'I always cheered for you, but man, you always killed us and I always hated that part.'
Youkilis' Jewish heritage is a significant part of his life. He discusses the bar mitzvah requests, what he can expect in New York and hanging with other Jewish major leaguers:
KY: You know, the Jewish heritage thing has been such a huge impact in my whole entire career. From the requests my agent gets to bar mitzvahs and weddings to you name it, it's a big thing and it means a lot to a lot of Jewish youth and the Jewish community. You know I try to embrace it as much as I can and I wish I could go to as many bar and bat mitzvahs as I can, but the schedule doesn't allow for it. It is kind of fun around the league when I see Ryan Braun and Ian Kinsler to other guys, to sit on the same field with them and we kind of joke around a lot. And I know in New York it's going to be larger than life because I think it's the first time in many years that a Jewish ballplayer will be playing for the Yankees. But what a greater honor to be in a city with probably the biggest population of Jewish people in America.