In Defense of Carl Crawford: He’s Human | The Process Report

In Defense of Carl Crawford: He’s Human

I bemoan when people talk about the “right way”. Whether in action or approach, there’s always some supposedly prophet-given version entrenched as the correct manual. The phrase is applied all the time in sports. So much so that the exact “right way” is little more than an ambiguous cachet used as a praiseful placebo: filling if ultimately empty. Believe Google and there are roughly 20 times more “right ways” than “wrong ways”.

When it comes to free agents, the “wrong way” to sign with another team is told to be something like LeBron James’ television spectacle. Therefore, perhaps the “right way” is to keep the proceedings private. From the negotiating stage onward, the less said in public the more understanding folks will be towards the player’s side. Apparently, the “right way” failed Carl Crawford. He did not go on national television to make his announcement. He did not put down the organization, fan base, or area. He repeated his desire to return throughout, but in the end the amount of villainy placed upon Crawford for signing with the highest bidder (by more than $30 million) is disheartening.

Crawford took the most money, as is his right. Boston signed a great baseball player for his market value, as is their right. Tampa Bay receives a draft pick for a player they could not re-sign while fielding a competitive team around him, as is their right. Fans are mourning and celebrating his move, as is their right. Wishing harm on the man who has created so much joy, so much value (Crawford was paid a little more than $30 million during his 2006-2010 extension and his play was worth $109 million – per FanGraphs WAR – that’s a $78 million difference), and so many memories over this signing in order to show hurt – to show pain – feels contrived.

Well, those folks will say, Crawford should not have signed in Boston. Yet, this amount of anger overcompensates for the relative lack of ire when Rocco Baldelli left for Boston. Is it really a Boston thing with Crawford then? Or is it just the money. A baseball player signing a contract with an annual average income of $20 million will raise the temperatures of the common folk (particularly with this economy) quicker than most news items. Call it the Paid Man’s Burden. Crawford is going to make a lot of money, but with that money comes more pressure, more mocking, more hatred than he’s experienced. That he simply made the rational decision – the everyman’s decision – to take that money being offered to him will be glossed over. He took the money and that’s his greatest sin.

Because of the money, the perception of Crawford’s intentions are flooded with malicious desires. As if he wants to harm the same folks who nearly made him cry by chanting his name months earlier. As if Crawford is full of malevolence. The man who did so much charity work in the area and nary received proper credit for it apparently has a tar heart – when it’s not beating green like the Fenway wall, that is.

Crawford did a lot for this team, but he owes the Rays and their fans nothing. Just as the Rays and their fans owe him nothing. Being disappointed and emotional are natural reactions. Being vengeful and hoping harm upon the man is too much. He acted rationally, not emotionally or hurtfully. The reaction of Rays’ fans probably never entered his mind. Yet, that seems to be the only thing some want to project upon his actions.

The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world they only heard the voices of their enemies. There is no right way to handle this event. There is a wrong way and to see many going that route is just as disheartening as watching Crawford sign with a rival.



One Comment

  1. buccityboy wrote:

    While seeing Carl in a Sox uni will sting at first, I’m okay with the way it worked out. Its an awful fit for Boston and yielded a first round pick. Plus, its likely that contract becomes a burden as Carl slows down. Werth would have been far worse from a competitive standpoint.

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