Red Sox left-fielder Carl Crawford is keeping a diary for ESPNBoston.com this season. In this edition, he discusses how this is not the way he thought his Red Sox career would start, what he wants to say to Red Sox Nation, and does he hate batting leadoff? -- 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.
When the season was starting, I thought everything was going to be good, wonderful and easy, but that's not what happened. Things just are not going the way I wanted right now. Obviously, I think things are going to change. But for now, we're getting tested is how I feel. We're going to see what we're made of. You may be surprised that the mood in the clubhouse is still good. You would think it would be a terrible mood, but it's actually not. It's the same thing with guys being loose and comfortable. We still feel like we're going to win every time we go out there.
We did get our first win on opening day here. Theo [Epstein] gave a speech before the game that was awesome. I liked it because he had a few Martin Luther King quotes in it that got us going pretty good. The quote Theo used was the one about perseverance. I believe it goes, "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." It was awesome.
Going into Opening Day, I was worried we might get booed when they announced us here at Fenway. We were struggling and I didn't really know for sure what was going to happen. Me, I always expect the worst. But then guys came out and there was all that energy from the fans and it was a great feeling. I like playing the home games here, that energy is just wonderful.
Opening weekend at Fenway was also my first Yankee series in a Red Sox uniform. It lived up to the hype. It was definitely what I expected with a lot of excitement and energy. We were just able to play our game and were able to get two out of three wins that weekend. It definitely lived up to what I was expecting. For the most part being in a Red Sox uniform now has lived up to my expectations. Putting that uniform on gives you energy in itself. You go out there and hear the fans cheering, you hear “Sweet Caroline” in the later innings and all that stuff has been wonderful for me so far. I mean, we haven’t been winning very much but the feeling of being over here on the Red Sox side has been great.
When I used to come here with Tampa, it was a little different. Over there, the visiting clubhouse at Fenway is so small. You always wanted to get out as quickly as you got in. You might not be used to the cold either but now I am. I have a feel for everything now. You know, things like where to go and when to go out to batting practice and that stuff. It's a different feel being here on the Boston side. It was cool seeing my old teammates here last week. I got to see the guys and see Joe [Maddon] and a couple of guys I was friends with, which is always nice. Reid Brignac was my closest friend on that team. He came over and hung out with me for a while but that was pretty much it.
People seem to want to say that I hate batting leadoff. I don't hate batting leadoff, not at all, especially with this lineup. It's actually fun to bat leadoff. I get to do everything I like to do on a baseball field. I get to be exciting and run and set the table. There's nothing wrong with batting leadoff at all. People that say I hate batting leadoff don't know me that well. The most important things when you do bat leadoff are trying to get on base, to show the rest of the team what their pitcher has that day, and just try to set that table and start things off on a good foot for the team.
I haven't started off at the plate they way I'd like to. The issues have been my timing and I've been doing some stuff with my stance. I'm just trying to get back to swinging the bat the way I normally swing it. So I've been tinkering with stuff and going by trial and error right now. I don't usually have a slow start to a season. I've been working with my hitting coach [Dave Magadan] . We go down in the cage and work on some things and watch a little video. He might show me a picture that he had of my stance. We just go over stuff. I wish I knew what was wrong because if I knew I would definitely would be on top of it fixing it right now. Instead, I'm a little off right now, but I'm not going to try and stop figuring it out.
I'm also still adjusting to playing in Fenway's left field. You may have seen I had a tough ball on Friday night off the Monster. But I go out there early and we take fly balls off of it. I'm doing that a lot. The more I play on it the better I get at it. I tell you at this point, everything that could possibly go wrong for us has gone wrong. Usually when that happens it means something good is going to happen next. Those are the thoughts we are keeping in our mind. It's very rare that every possible thing that could go wrong has gone wrong. Believing a happy ending to this story is ahead is what keeps us going.
My locker is between Cam [Mike Cameron] and Pedy [Dustin Pedroia]. Cam is definitely a guy I talk to every day just about every day stuff. Pedey is like my five-hour energy. He gets me going. He's dressed pretty much as soon as he walks in. All I have to do when I am feeling down is look to my right and I see him bouncing around everywhere. It lets me know it's time to go.
OK, let's get to some good news. I was happy that Adrian Gonzalez signed an extension. He is a great hitter. He gives us power, average, everything. He's a good first baseman and good clubhouse guy. He's a positive guy. I'm happy I'm going to be teammates with him for a while.
It's playoff time in the NBA. I'm in Boston now. So even though I am a Bulls fan, I will be rooting for both the Celtics and them. If they end up playing each other then I won't root for anybody. Until then I will root for both. So the reader question from ScreamPheonix that asked if I would wear a Bulls hat to a Celtics-Bulls series, the answer is no. I'm definitely not crazy enough to do that. I wouldn't disrespect the city of Boston like that. And I know the Bruins are playing in the playoffs too. I think hockey games are exciting to watch in person.
It's been interesting driving around Boston. As long as I have my navigation system with me, I'm fine. It's very different from driving in Tampa. I just have to be sure I keep my GPS on. It just is not good to have to drive through tunnels here because you lose your signal.
I want to end with saying something to Red Sox Nation. Everybody has been telling me to relax, so I guess I can say that. Just know that everything is the worst it can be right now. There is only one way to go now, it's up. I haven't talked to that many fans yet here in Boston. I've been kind of secluded right now. I won't even stop and get gas. But that's all I can say, things are at their worst right now and I think we can only go up from here.