Carl Crawford was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays organization in 1999 and played nine seasons for them. He signed a seven-year $142 million contract with the Boston Red Sox in the offseason and has struggled with his new club, posting his poorest numbers since his first season in 2002. When he returned to play his former team at Tropicana Field for the first time Tuesday night, he heard plenty of boos and heckles. He also explained a difference between the two organizations when asked to give one.
“It’s all baseball. But it’s a little different,’’ he said. “It’s more a younger team [in Tampa], so it was more like party central all the time. [In Boston] it’s a little more calmer, a little more conservative. That’s probably the biggest difference.’’
The natural reaction is to say that maybe Crawford needs to party a bit more to loosen up so he can perform the way he used to, and that could be the case. But what he said is to be expected for two reasons. First, in a city where the media and fans care about the team as much as they do in Boston, it’s difficult for players to fool around frequently; that attitude wouldn’t sit well in the community. Secondly, like he said, younger players tend to party more than older ones. This isn’t the first time we’ve heard a player say a former team partied too much, and it’s implied that these athletes like the business atmosphere more. For Crawford, it would be interesting to know what suits him more.
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