We all knew that Carl Crawford didn't handle Boston well. Sure, some of his struggles were injury related, but you could see it in his performance and body language that it just wasn't working. Today Carl talked a little more about it to Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times:
One of only a handful of position players to already report to camp, Crawford is slowly rebuilding his psyche, which he said was battered in what he described as a "toxic" environment in Boston.
Reflecting on his two miserable seasons with the Red Sox, Crawford said, "I knew with the struggles I was having, it would never get better for me. I just didn't see a light at the end of the tunnel. It puts you in kind of a depression stage. You just don't see a way out."
I feel about as bad as you can for someone who is guaranteed $142 million except for probably being totally useless for the rest of his career. He may have been a major disappointment, but he's not some sort of monster, so it's unfortunate that he felt so bad.
According to Crawford, it wasn't just the money and expectations, it was something specific to Boston:
"It was just everything," he said. "Me not playing well. Me being in an unfamiliar area in an environment that was toxic. Just all those things combined. You start to say, 'Is this ever going to end?'"
Asked if he regretted signing with the Red Sox, Crawford replied, "A lot of times I did. You hear a lot of talk about how I just wanted money. At some point, you just wondered if you made the right decision."
Things have to be pretty bad for someone to imply that they wish they had signed for less money just to not be in a certain place. It's interesting that he said the word "toxic" again. I wonder what he was referring to? He had two different managers, lots of different players...could it just be fan expectations and media?
By the sounds of it, Crawford is just a very sensitive guy. He let the environment around him affect him. His spot in the lineup bothered him. The pressure from the fans. The losing. The poor performance. It all got on him.
Now we'll see if he can turn it around. Amazingly, he's optimistic he'll be healthy for opening day (I don't remember that being a possibility when he was here; I admit I haven't kept track of his progress since). And now we'll see how much of it is truly Boston. There's still going to be immense pressure in Los Angeles. Sure, the fans don't care as much, but by spending the money they spent, they are just asking for intense media interest. They'll be on SportsCenter a lot. And if Crawford struggles, his contract will once again be a talking point, but this time for a different team.