New guy in town Kevin Youkilis brought up a sore subject with White Sox fans before his first home game as a White Sox on Tuesday: the notion -- or fact -- that Chicago is a Cubs town.
Talking in the Sox dugout before Tuesday's game against the Texas Rangers, Youkilis noticed the large media group surrounding him. His first seven games for the Sox were played on the road, where Chicago media was limited to four beat writers and a local TV crew or two.
"I was making a comment, 'There's no media here [on the road],' '' he said. "Well, to my shock there was a lot more today. It's definitely fun and it's kind of cool, too. I didn't realize till now that you're second fiddle to the Cubs so there's not as much news. I kind of knew it but I figured this team's in first place, their team's in last place, I thought we'd get a lot more publicity. But I've been in a place [Boston] where there was way too much so I'd rather be under the radar right now.''
Youkilis homered in his first at-bat Tuesday, a two-run shot in the first inning. He hadn't performed up to expectations, but he has had consistently competitive at-bats. He was 1-for-14 in the Sox series against the Yankees in New York, and he took a .231 average into Tuesday night's game against the Texas Rangers. The Sox have welcomed his veteran presence and patient approach at the plate.
He said he's glad to be here after the trade from Boston on June 24.
"It's great. I'm excited to be here in the city of Chicago,'' he said. "It's not new territory for me playing here, being here a lot of years playing here.
"Excited to be in first place. I think that's the coolest thing about coming over here.''
Youkilis has fit in well in the clubhouse. He said he enjoys the company of the Sox veterans.
"We have a lot of great guys on this team that love playing the game of baseball. That's the key,'' he said. "You've got to love this game because we're right at the halfway mark. We've got half a season left. When you get to 80 games it almost feels like a full season so we've just got to enjoy it and have fun. I think it'll be a good thing for the city of Chicago if we can do that.''
"If I can take any kind of little tips or pointers from Paulie [Konerko] on hitting that'd be awesome. He's phenomenal at what he does and is a great guy. It's been fun just getting to know him and a bunch of these guys.''