Red Sox left fielder Carl Crawford will be keeping a diary for ESPNBoston.com this season. In his first entry, Crawford talks about his goals, the advice Manny Ramirez gave him about Boston, why he hasn't splurged on anything after signing his contact and why people call him “L7." -- as told to Louise K. Cornetta
I thought this diary would be a good way to let Red Sox fans know what's going on with me in my first season in Boston.
As you know, I’ve played my entire career with Tampa Bay up until now. Now I'm experiencing being on a different team with a different group of guys. There is a lot more media here. I'm just trying to understand everything that is going on here. With all the media, I'm adjusting. It's a day-to-day battle, but at some point I figure I'll get used to it. You have to embrace it. Everybody on this team has been great when I have a question. I ask a lot of questions. Pretty much all the guys, if I have a question for them I feel free to go up to them and ask. They've been real helpful with little things. It was a little chaotic the first couple of days being in a new camp but I just had to get used to it. It's better now.
I like asking questions like when I asked Mr. [Jim] Rice about playing left field at Fenway. I wanted to speak with him because he played it. Anybody that has experience out there, I want to talk to. I talked to Yaz [Carl Yastrzemski] the other day, too. We had a long conversation. I even asked Manny [Ramirez] a few questions. Anybody that has experience that I don't have, I believe it's better to ask questions to try and get as much information as possible. I'm good at taking information and applying it.
The best advice Mr. Rice gave me was about how to play certain angles and where I should position myself. It all depends on the wind factor and who is up to bat. He talked to me about a lot of different little stuff like that. With Yaz, he just told me pretty much the same thing. He told me sometimes you might want to just give up on a ball but stick with it and how maybe I could play in a little more because I have speed. If I see him around again, I'm sure he'll have more stuff to tell me.
I call them Mr. Rice and I called Yaz Mr. Yastrzemski to stay respectful. It's just a Texas thing probably. These guys have been around a long time and are in the Hall of Fame. So you want to try and be as respectful as possible.
With Manny, I just asked him about Boston, period. He's like, "You better produce or they're going to boo you." He said, "I know you're happy, but you better produce now or else you're getting booed." I pretty much knew that part but I thought it was funny.
We've played Tampa a few times this spring training and it's been cool to be able to see my old friends over there. I get to say “hi” to everybody. I get to see how they're going to do things against me, so that's good, too. I already have an idea how they're going to play me this year and the season hasn't even started. I did get booed when we played them there. I figured I was going to get a few of those. I got a few boos. I also got a few, "I hope you go see Dr. Andrews this year." I was expecting it.
People seem to want to know where I will be batting in the order. I really don't care. This team is so good and full of good players. Wherever they put you that's where they'll think you'll be best at. You don't want to go against the grain in regard to where a manager thinks you should be.
When I signed this contract with the Red Sox, I didn't go out and buy anything big. I'm not a guy that spends a lot. I actually haven't gotten the check yet. I bought my mom a few things, just stuff like that. Luckily my son doesn't understand the money thing yet. Money isn't a big deal to him. We don't really let him know about all that. We just let him stay a child.
The contract really doesn't put too much pressure on me because I'm walking into a situation where the team is good. You don't really have to do much. What I mean is you want to do as much as you can but you don't have to go out and do it all. This makes it a lot easier to just let me do what I do. When I'm able to just do what I do, there's less pressure on me. As a competitor you certainly want to do well.
My strength has always been my speed. That's what everybody has known me for is my speed. I'm a runner. I have to stay on top of that, which is why I worked out so hard in the offseason. Now I still do a lot of weight lifting and running, whatever I can do to keep the quickness and speed. I have to do a lot of biometric stuff and track stuff. Just the normal stuff that runners do. I try and get better at every part of my game with defense, hitting, just understanding the whole game, but speed is definitely what I'm known for on the field.
Off the field, I think people would describe me as really mellow. I'm laid-back and really don't do too much away from the ballpark. I get called L7 a lot of the time. L7, you know, square. If you look at L7 it looks like a square. It's because I don't like to do anything. I just like to stay at home. I feel like if you're doing other stuff it's just a waste of energy and that's energy I'm going to need for when I'm playing on the field. I like all my energy to go on the field. When I get home, I like to stay at home and just rest. I pretty much don't do anything.
During the offseason, when I'm in Houston I will go out and do little stuff like go to basketball games or go grab a bite to eat. During the season, where we don't really have a lot of time, I didn't, but Tampa didn't have a basketball team, so that made things easy. Right now, the Rockets, they're my team since I'm from Houston but I'm rooting for the Bulls. I'm a Chicago Bulls and a Derrick Rose fan. We'll see how things turn out. With college, my team is the Texas Longhorns. I don't really watch hockey or know too much about it. Football, it used to be the Oilers until they went to Tennessee. I don't really have a certain team in football right now. I might have to get on the Patriots and Bruins bandwagon, so I have somebody to cheer for. I do cheer for the Texans, too, but they make me upset a lot of times.
My goal for the season is to just help this team win as many games as possible. Hopefully we can get to the World Series and win. I don't really have any personal goals. I just want to come out and play every game hard and help the team find a way to win every game, that's it. I'm ready for Opening Day. I'm ready for Opening Day at Fenway and I'm ready for Opening Day in Texas. I'm ready to start playing. There's been a lot of things built up over the offseason, I'm just ready to get it going and see what happens.