FORT MYERS, Fla. — It has to happen.
At some point, ideally with the involvement of one of the Red Sox' many charitable ventures, Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford have to race.
It won't make a single difference in the standings or do anything to improve the players' respective games, but the sheer curiosity of onlookers as to who is faster is something that needs to be satisfied.
Already, both men are posturing.
"I wouldn't bet against myself," Ellsbury said on Wednesday in camp.
Ellsbury once said he ran a 4.28 40-yard dash, but it was a split of a longer sprint, so unofficial. Other reports have him clocking in around that same mark. The Tampa Bay Rays scout who signed Crawford, Doug Gassaway, told the New York Daily News that Crawford once clocked a 4.21 in high school.
With that in his pocket, as well as twice the number of stolen base crowns (four) as Ellsbury, the new Red Sox outfielder is pretty confident in his chances.
"It'd be a good race," Crawford said. "I can't say who would win, but I can't go against myself either."
After a season loaded with injuries, including those to Ellsbury, the Red Sox don't need their speed demons going all out right away in a race for all the marbles. But until they do, there will be no shortage of people wondering who the fastest player on the Red Sox is.