You are Carl Crawford and no one can blame you if your head hurts on a Sunday morning in August. Right now you probably don’t know left from right or up from down. This has not been the best week of your Major League baseball career. It has probably been the most confusing, in fact. Just a couple of years ago everybody in baseball was ga-ga over your skills, your talent, your speed. Now you are like the new kid in class moved to a new neighborhood, wondering just where you fit in.
In the same week you were shelved for the season, informed that you need Tommy John surgery on your throwing arm, and then you were traded from the Boston Red Sox to the Los Angeles Dodgers. One minute you were the missing piece in a World Series puzzle, the next you were sent into exile like some spare part. Gotta shake your head over how things have fallen apart over the last two seasons, right? You’ve got to be reeling and holding a cold compress to your forehead.
Tommy John surgery? Give me a break, you must be thinking. I’m an outfielder, not a pitcher. How did this happen? What if this operation doesn’t fix it? You have to have those kind of thoughts. It’s natural. You are Carl Crawford and you were one of the biggest talents in the game and now you don’t know when you’ll be able to play again, or for who exactly since whenever you get healthy you’ll probably be sent out to some minor league team you’ve never heard of.
You are Carl Crawford and you can’t figure out how or why things went South so fast in Boston where you thought you would spend the rest of your career winning pennants. You were the toast of the town, just about the highest paid player in the sport when the Red Sox signed you for the 2011 season after a sterling career in Tampa Bay. You were the American League stolen base champion four times. You batted around .300. You were selected for four American League All-Star teams. You drove opponents absolutely crazy when you were on base, making like a century-later Ty Cobb.
After the 2010 season the Red Sox signed you to a till-death-do-us-part contract, seven years for $142 million. You were going to lead the Red Sox back to World Series glory. Until you actually started playing for them. It went bad from the start with an embarrassing, prolonged slump that still leaves you without explanation. Getting hurt didn’t help, but you ended pretty strong. You were going to have a do-over fresh start in 2012. And then the injuries took over in again. In 31 games all year you hit .282 before the Sox shut you down for that surgery.
Somewhere along the line the Red Sox began believing that you, Carl Crawford, were part of the problem, not the solution. Then with the big trade over the weekend to LA, the Red Sox made you somebody else’s problem. You are 31, your arm is killing you, and you are in limbo, abandoned by one team, unable to play for your new team.
You are Carl Crawford and you can’t wait to play again. You can’t wait to show the Red Sox who you really are. You can’t wait til next year.