BOSTON (CBS) – Despite battling a sore throat, Carl Crawford was all smiles when first introduced as the Boston Red Sox new left fielder in December of 2011.
It’s hard to blame him. The life-long Tampa Bay Ray had just inked a seven-year, $142 million deal with Boston and was ready for a drastic change in scenery.
His time in Boston was supposed to be filled with power numbers, stolen bases and multiple postseason berths — including a World Series trip or two.
But in the end, the deal will go down as a disaster. Crawford spent more time on the disabled list than the field, and hit just .260 in his 161 games as a member of the Sox over two seasons. Last August, he was shipped to the Los Angeles Dodgers along with Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto in one of the biggest trades in baseball history.
It was clear early on that things wouldn’t work in Boston, but Crawford said the Boston media likes it that way.
“That smile turned upside down quick,” Crawford told Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com from Dodgers spring training. “I think they want to see that in Boston. They love it when you’re miserable.
“That media was the worst thing I’ve ever experienced in my life,” he added.
Crawford understands that he took a big contract and didn’t perform, but thinks the way the media portrayed him was unfair.
“I took so much of a beating in Boston. I don’t think anything could bother me anymore,” he told Knobler. “They can say what they want — that I’m the worst free agent ever — and it won’t get to me. But it bothered me the whole time there.
“You have to tell everybody how much you like it, when you really don’t like it,” he said.
Crawford explained to Knobler that other big-money acquisitions have faced similar heat from the Boston media. Gonzalez hit 27 home runs in 2011, but everyone still asked where the slugger’s power had gone. John Lackey pitched a season with a badly injured elbow– a season that will go down as the worst by a pitcher in Red Sox history — but the injury seems to take a back seat to the results.
Now he’s happy in Los Angeles, though still battling back from the Tommy John surgery that ended his 2012 season in August. Crawford would like to be in the Dodgers opening day lineup, but that picture isn’t very clear right now.
But what is crystal clear is Crawford’s disdain for the Boston media. So don’t expect the outfielder to warm up to them when the Red Sox visit the Dodgers in late August.
By then, Crawford may even be playing.