BOSTON For Kevin Youkilis, the final month of the Red Sox season, was painful.No surprise, given his season was cut short by injury, while his team went 7-20 in September, bringing to fruition the worst collapse in baseball history.It was painful, literally and figuratively, I think, said the Sox third baseman Thursday night, before a charity event for his Youks Kids organization.But the good thing is thats the past and you can correct it. You cant correct injuries and stuff like that now. That happened. You cant worry about that. What I got to worry about now, and all my teammates have to worry about, is just going out and coming together and playing hard . . . I think thats the whole thing, coming together in spring training and just working on the same goal, winning a World Series. Every guys just got to take care of themselves, and just get themselves better each and every day.While much has been said and written about the need to change the culture in the Sox clubhouse, Youkilis acknowledged the attitude permeating the team for most of the season was less than desirable.I definitely didnt think we had the best vibe in the clubhouse, he said. It was very different, and it was noticeable early. But when you win, winning heals all the wounds. But we definitely didn't have the right attitude in a lot of ways . . . Sometimes it just snowballed out of control.We were worrying about things that we shouldn't have been worrying about and not playing the game of baseball. So I think this year, with the coaching staff that's coming back, they saw things too that we can change. We're going to all can sit down and talk about it and basically, play the game. Thats the whole key, is just playing the game and not worrying about other stuff and the media hype and things that are going on. Because if you get up to going crazy with that stuff, it's going to eat you all up. But if you just play the game, not worry, not read what's put out there, everything that's said, it handles itself."Youkilis was caught off guard from some of the fallout that resulted from the teams epic collapse.I was surprised more along the public things that were said and people coming up with stories and no sources, stuff like that, he said. That kind of hurt me the most. But thats stuff you cant control. And it kind of seemed like it was a witch hunt. What player is doing this, what player did that wrong. Were a team. We lose as a team and we all failed. There wasnt one player that didnt fail because we lost, and we all failed. So were going to make a difference this year and that difference is going to be winning. And were going to go out there and win and hopefully start out winning a lot earlier this year. Last year was a little tough at the beginning.Of the teams offseason moves, the one that has surprised him the most was the trade of shortstop Marco Scutaro to Colorado.I was surprised and disappointed personally abut Marco getting traded but thats more of a personal issue to me because hes right next to me at my locker, Youkilis said. But on the other end too one of the positives one of my really close friends, Nick Punto we got. So kind of mixed emotions there, and he might be the starting shortstop or Mike Aviles. But I think we got a great team. And its kind of great that were not counted to be the team thats going to win 120 games. So I think its kind of fun to watch these other teams with Albert Pujols going to Anaheim and now Prince Fielder going to Detroit and all the hype. So if we can keep the hype off us and just keep the hype on winning ballgames during the year, thats going to be the good hype.Youkilis said he has met with the Sox medical staff and is fully recovered from the sports hernia surgery that cut his season short."I'm doing great, feeling good," He said. Ive met with all the medical staff here, the new medical staff, its very cool to meet a lot of new people, were definitely going in the right direction, Ive been cleared to do. For the past two weeks, I've felt great, my whole body. Little things here and there, that this time of year, you have to get going and ramp it up. So I've started to ramp up as much as I can, and I feel great, healthy, lifting with no restrictions.My rehab was pretty much over when I left Boston. There was little things I had to do, and I continue to do, and I keep continuing to do, like core activities because when you have a sports hernia, you got to make sure . . . Definitely doing that.
We haven't heard from cornerback Malcolm Butler as his future as a Patriot hangs in the balance after his visit with the New Orleans Saints last week.
Butler, a restricted free agent who has yet to sign the $3.91 million tender offered by the Patriots, posted a photo Wednesday on Instagram with the cryptic message "Nothing changed but the change," which happens to be a lyric from a song titled "Could It Be" by rapper Nick Lyon. So, perhaps a change of teams is being referred to.
More to come...
The NFL is acknowledging it has a time-management issue. Games are too long. Commercial are too frequent. And according to an email addressed to NFL fans, Roger Goodell is hoping to change that.
On Wednesday afternoon the commissioner explained the methods by which the league is hoping to improve the fan experience, most of which concern the presentation of games with as few interruptions as possible.
"On the football side, there are a number of changes we are making to the mechanics and rules of the game to maintain excitement and also improve the consistency of our officiating," Goodell wrote. "For example, next week clubs will vote on a change to centralize replay reviews. Instead of a fixed sideline monitor, we will bring a tablet to the Referee who can review the play in consultation with our officiating headquarters in New York, which has the final decision. This should improve consistency and accuracy of decisions and help speed up the process.
"Regarding game timing, we're going to institute a play clock following the extra point when television does not take a break, and we're considering instituting a play clock after a touchdown. We're also going to standardize the starting of the clock after a runner goes out-of-bounds, and standardize halftime lengths in all games, so we return to the action as quickly as possible. Those are just a few of the elements we are working on to improve the pace of our game."
Goodell also mentioned that the NFL is working with its broadcast partners to reduce the frequency of commercial breaks during games.
"For example," Goodell wrote, "we know how annoying it is when we come back from a commercial break, kick off, and then cut to a commercial again. I hate that too. Our goal is to eliminate it."
Goodell, team owners and executives will convene in Phoenix next week for the league's annual meetings where discussions about these potential changes could see meaningful progress.