The facts about Carl Crawford‘s time in Boston are undeniable. The most irrefutable fact about his two seasons in a Red Sox uniform is that the outfielder did not live up to the expectations that were set forth upon his signing.
The Red Sox outbid everyone for Crawford’s services, and they gave him a seven-year, $142 million contract. Crawford gave the Sox much less in return.
The outfielder only ended up playing 161 total games with the Red Sox and made about $30 million to do so. He hit just .260 with a .292 on-base percentage. His signature speed was nowhere to be found, as he swiped just 23 bases after combining to steal 107 in his final two seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays. Crawford boasted 6.9 wins over replacement during his final season in Tampa, only to combine for a 0.6 WAR in his two-ish seasons with the Sox.
Eventually the Red Sox sent Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto to the Dodgers in a megatrade last August.
But we know all this. What’s the point of harping on the past, right? The Red Sox enter this weekend’s series with the Dodgers in first place. Los Angeles is first in the NL West. Everyone wins here, apparently, so let’s just move on.
Not so fast.
It’s not entirely Crawford’s fault, but the four-time All-Star can’t say enough about how much he hated his time in Boston. On the eve of this weekend’s three-game series, Crawford is at it again.
“You just walk in the clubhouse and you got a positive feel [in Los Angeles] — immediately. [Boston] was just a bad experience,” Crawford told the Los Angeles Times. “I definitely felt like I got a fresh start. With a new team, new atmosphere, new environment.”
If that sounds familiar, well, it’s because Crawford has kind of already said it — a lot.
You see, that’s the thing about Crawford since he’s left Tampa. He’s made more news with what he’s said than what he’s done on the field, which is no small accomplishment for a man seemingly so quiet.
While it’s not entirely his fault — someone has to ask the questions — Crawford certainly hasn’t shied away from making sure everyone knows just how rotten his Hub experience was.
“I don’t think I smiled in two years,” Crawford, who currently owns a .289/.340/.314 line, said earlier this season. “I was just frowning. I started growing gray hairs on my face from the stress and everything for two years straight.”
That’s a far cry from where Crawford was on a Saturday morning in Boston just a few years ago. Sitting in a cramped Fenway Park interview room — which may very well be his personal hell — a hoarse Crawford smiled and answered questions, perhaps his only positive experience in Boston.
“I’m very excited. I’m definitely excited about coming to Boston,” the new $100 million man said. “I wanted to go somewhere where people actually wanted to have me here.”
He was ready for the challenge of playing in Boston, he said. He was ready for everything he’s complaining about. It’s what he said he wanted.
“I’m definitely ready for that,” he added. “That’s one thing that attracted me to this. You know it’s going to be sold out, you know there’s going to be excitement.”
Then, there was the ominous foreshadowing.
“You know there’s going to be a lot of screaming and hollering, that’s what gets you up, keeps you going,” proving that there was a time in which he didn’t mistake the Cradle of Liberty for Hades. “That was definitely one of the things that attracted me to here. Instead of getting booed, they can boo somebody else now. I took my share of torture in left field [as a Ray].”
Instead of getting booed, they can boo somebody else now. I took my share of torture in left field.
That might as well have been another one of these pity-driven retrospective interviews about how the grass actually is greener in Los Angeles.
Crawford has said his piece and then some when it comes to his time in Boston, an era that was good for no one, millions of dollars notwithstanding. Crawford will get his chance for whatever it is he needs this weekend. Is that retribution? Revenge? From the team that showed him how badly they wanted him, which is all he supposedly ever wanted?
“I want to win all three games. Bad,” Crawford told the Times.
Win or lose, hopefully everyone — especially Crawford — can finally move on after this weekend, especially now that it’s clear that both sides are much better off without the other.