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Curious Carl

Red-Sox-mania was nearing it's peak in the early morning hours of a Theo Epstein sleepless December night, in the 2010 off season… it's just that nobody knew it yet. Theo was worried sick the Yankees were going to steal Carl Crawford while Red Sox Nation slept; So in a panic, he woke up John Henry and talked him into more money for Carl. Never mind the current offer was already ridiculous. The "Bombers" got Teixeira, no way they were getting Crawford. But the truth was, the Yankees interest in him was feigned, just to drive up the price, and Teixeira's wife hated Boston more than he did. Still, one-hundred-and -forty-two million dollars later, Carl was in the fold, and the countdown began…

It seemed with the great Carl Crawford patrolling The Green Monster, and Adrian Gonzalez, the "All Everything" first basemen, summoned from "Red Sox West" in sunny San Diego, to the home office in Boston, for prospects, the Red Sox were building the greatest team in their history. Surely this was the beginning of a dynasty.

Well… don't call me Shirley. Starting the season at a 2-10 clip was the first sign that even the best laid plans can go array. Even though during much of the 2011 season, the Boston Red Sox were arguably the best team in baseball, it only served to make their historic September crash & burn, a franchise altering, fan changing, event. If the piling on and totally unnecessary signing of Carl Crawford was the height of Red Sox Mania, as we knew it, then the September "Fail" was truly the bottom. Aspirations that had soared so high in the days and weeks following the introduction of Crawford at a Fenway presser, disappeared faster than a bucket of fried chicken in the club house, when that line drive fell, inexplicably, at his feet, on the last play of the 2011 season.

Now, eight months removed from one of the most historic trades in baseball history, "The Perfect Storm" is talking. You couldn't get him to say "beans," in Bean Town. Now, it seems, there's a new quote from Carl almost daily, concerning his Boston debacle. Maybe he didn't talk much here, because he didn't have much to talk about. Out of a possible 287 games in Boston, Carl played in just 161. That's 56%… 664 plate appearances. That makes J.D. Drew look like "The Iron Man" Cal Ripken. With those AB's, he put up the following dismal numbers:

260/14/75/711

That's an OPS+ of 89. A glaring 11 points below the league average. Not exactly numbers worthy of a $142 million dollar man. And just as curious, was his erratic and adventurous play in the outfield. But as silent and absent as Carl was in Boston, so was the media. Oh sure, a few of them let him have it, but for the most part, compared to the punishment that Josh Beckett, and John Lackey, were taking, Crawford was treated like royalty. The media, in one of the toughest sports media markets around, basically gave Carl Crawford a pass. So what, exactly, is his problem now? His record in Boston speaks for itself. Is he projecting his thoughts about that one looser in Manchester New Hampshire on the city of Boston, playing on the problems of the past? I'd like to think Carl has more class, and certainly more sense than that… Maybe it's time for Carl to let his glove and bat do all the talking, because, when right, they are infinitely better at it than he is…

A lot happened to Red Sox Nation in and around the arrival and the exit of Carl Crawford. Some of which he was responsible for and some of which he wasn't. In a town where winning is the only thing that matters, the fans and media could have called for Crawford's head on a plate and then used it in lieu of the "August beach balls" in the center field bleachers. But they did not do that. They took the high road, instead, and chose to wait for the day when a healthy Carl Crawford would take his rightful place among the elite Boston Left fielders of days gone by.

Today Carl is gone, and as you look across Fenway Park on most game nights, save for a few "petty sorties" fired from a distant coast, he's an even more distant memory. In the end, it's not that Boston didn't like Carl Crawford, or not treat him fairly, it was that Carl didn't like Boston… It's a shame he didn't have enough class to return that simple courtesy...

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