Okay, full disclaimer, Carl Crawford is the first baseball player I ever really liked. And even now, as he suits up nearly everyday for the god-awful, baby killing Red Sox, I still like CC, and find myself watching his at bats and defense even when the Sox and Rays aren’t playing.
I’m not like a lot of people, who thinks a player should be hated if they jump ship and join another team. Crawford was with the Rays for, like, 11 years and his time in St. Pete was always productive, interesting and exciting. I once saw the dude steal home, in person. Amazing. Point is, he earned the chance to go somewhere else and make big money, even if it is the same division, and with a rival like Boston. He signed a $142 million contract with the Sawks in the off season. Obviously, thats a lot of dollars to live up to.
Its no secret that Crawford is having a rough go of it during this early part of the baseball season. As of April 14th, he’s batting .152, has only 2 stolen bases, and generally looks confused out in left, in the shadow of the Green Monster.
That’s where its important to start, I think, and if I were a Boston fan I’d be watching Crawford out in left and I would view it as someone who is trying to essentially re-learn the position because of the Monster. I don’t play baseball, have only been following the sport for a short while, but it doesn’t take a genius to look at Fenway and realize that left field has a whole host of weird angles and bounces off the monster someone would have to learn to read, and react to, and that’s where Crawford is right now, I think. In the roughly five games I’ve watched him play left out there this year, he isn’t doing anything wrong per se, but you just sense he’s still working it all out. Tropicana Field, in comparison, is wide open out in left, with the only obstacles the visiting bullpen along the third base side.
Do I think the pressure is getting to Crawford? Maybe. Although he’s played in a World Series, multiple All-Star games, was voted All-Star MVP and is a Fantasy Baseball must, I don’t think he’s ever had to deal with the kind of scrutiny he is, and will, deal with in a Boston uniform. Ask anyone who’s been to a Rays game on, say, a Thursday night (or hell, on a Saturday for that matter), and the number of empty seats is far different from Fenway on the same day. I just think there’s more eyes on the guy, and he may be feeling it a little.
I’m torn with this next sentence, but I can’t help it: I want CC to do well, and play better. Even though he’s a rival, and plays for the Red Sox at that, I want to see him succeed and start living up to that big contract. I know there were many nights when I went to the Trop just to watch him play. That was a very cool thing.
Also, I’m sure there’s some story, or reason, out there for the Green Monster‘s existence, but I sure as fuck don’t know what it is. Seriously. Why build that thing? What purpose does it serve? How has it enhanced the game of baseball, in Fenway, or in general?
There are many odd features about some ballparks (that I’ve only seen on TV, btw), for sure, but the monster may take the cake. It makes little to no sense. Scratch that. It makes no sense. Granted, homerun balls are more impressive flying over the monster, but other than that, I’m totally lost.
Also, also, I badly wanted Sam Fuld to hit for the cycle the other night, and despite heading for second I think it made him more interesting, in a way. Later, it occurred to me a story centering completely around the “will he? won’t he?” aspect of the thing would be cool, a kind of “Van Damme Sudden Death meets the Fenway scene from The Town” set up where someone is running around behind the scenes of Fenway trying to influence whether or not Fuld hits for the cycle. I would call it something like, “I bet $100,000,000 on Sam Fuld hitting the cycle, and goddamn it I’m gonna get paid”. There would be gun fights and chases and karate and terrorists and gangsters and of course, little Sam Fuld, out there trying to make a splash for a 1- 8 team.