Crawford: Boston wasn't right place for me

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Carl Crawford has hardly kept it a secret how happy he is to be away from Boston. He unloaded again Thursday, saying he realized almost immediately that he’d made a mistake signing with the Red Sox, and claiming that the Boston media reveled in his unhappiness.

"That smile turned upside down quick," Crawford told Danny Knobler of CBSsports.com. "I think they want to see that in Boston. They love it when you're miserable.

"Burying people in the media, they think that makes a person play better. That media was the worst thing I've ever experienced in my life."

Crawford has yet to play in a game this spring with the Dodgers because of an irritated nerve in his surgically repaired left elbow. He says he still hopes to be ready for Opening Day, the same message he delivered last spring while recovering from January wrist surgery -- until he injured his elbow while throwing in camp, and ultimately required Tommy John surgery.

Crawford readily agreed with Knobler that he and Boston were a bad mix.

"I think that's the truth," Crawford said. "It just wasn't the right place for me at the end of my day. I didn't do my homework. Maybe they didn't, either.’’

That’s an indirect indictment of the Sox baseball operations department, which essentially assigned Allard Baird to spend weeks with Crawford during his last season with the Rays. GM Ben Cherington, an assistant to Theo Epstein at the time, said he was strongly in favor of signing Crawford. The only Sox official who has publicly said he resisted the idea was Red Sox principal owner John W. Henry.

"At the end of the day, it just wasn't the place for me," Crawford said.

Crawford , signed to a seven-year, $142 million contract by the Red Sox, put up some of the worst numbers of his career in 2011. He batted a career-low .255, stole only 18 bases after stealing 47 the year before, and his OPS of .694 was his lowest since 2003, his first full season in the majors. He played just 31 games in 2012.

"I get it, I didn't perform," he told Knobler. "I got the money. I didn't perform. I gave them every reason."

But Crawford said the criticism from the Boston media was over the top.

"I took so much of a beating in Boston, I don't think anything could bother me anymore," he said. "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.

"Look how they treat [John] Lackey. Adrian [Gonzalez] hit 30 home runs (actually 27), and they talked about him not hitting home runs."

Crawford felt like he stopped smiling after one game of his Boston career, and didn't start again until he left.

"You have to tell everybody how much you like it, when you really don't like it," he said.