From the moment he was pouring sweat uncontrollably when the Boston Red Sox announced him as their newest signing in 2010, you had to wonder if Carl Crawford could handle the pressures of playing in Boston. Looking back on his year-and-a-half with the team, one would come to the conclusion that he could not.
Part of the reason Crawford struggled was that he could not stay healthy. He needed Tommy John surgery and did not get it until the day after he was traded to the Dodgers. Why did he wait? He was tired of being ripped to shreds by the fans.
“Nobody said I should keep playing, that was just me,” Crawford told the Los Angeles media according to the Boston Globe. “I didn’t want anyone to say ‘I’m not sitting on y’all money.’ That was the biggest thing, people on the radio shows saying he makes 20 million. I’m a hard worker and I wanted to show that. I wasn’t performing well. I know Boston is a blue collar town so I just wanted to have the same attitude that I was working hard to be on the field. At the end of the day, I should have listened to the doctor and helped myself out.”
Had Crawford listened to Dr. James Andrews and gotten surgery when he needed it, he would have — in theory — been able to return at full strength much sooner. However, he wanted to try to prove he was worthy of his paycheck.
“With the Boston fans you have a big deal that was made about my money and trying to play for the team,” Crawford explained. “Maybe I shouldn’t have done that and taken care of myself. I pretty much put pressure on myself to play. You get looked at as being soft and as somebody just trying to take money. I wanted to prove that wasn’t the case. That probably cost me a little time for next year. You live and learn from it.”
Playing in Boston is certainly a lot more difficult than playing other places, but it’s not just the Boston fans who make a big deal about money. Anytime a team is paying $20 million a year for a player, the fans expect that player to perform. Dodger fans will be just as frustrated if Crawford provides nothing, so let’s hope for his sake the recovery from surgery is a successful one.
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