Crawford an all-star again
By EDUARDO A. ENCINA
Times Staff Writer
CLEVELAND -- Rays LF Carl Crawford was surprisingly selected to represent Tampa Bay in this year’s All-Star Game in San Francisco, making him the first two-time all-star in franchise history.
The 25-year-old was selected by the AL manager and Detroit skipper Jim Leyland as one of his seven selections. Leyland named only three position players.
“It definitely feels good,” Crawford said. “You’re one of the elite among your peers as always it’s a great thing. Whenever you get picked to go it’s exciting. It’s a different kind of excitement.”
Crawford was 2-for-4 in Sunday’s 3-2 Rays’ loss to Cleveland, raising his average to .288. Crawford has six homers and a team-high 49 RBIs. Crawford’s eight triples are second in the AL and his 20 stolen bases rank third highest in the league.
Rays manager Joe Maddon pulled Crawford aside and told him before Sunday’s game. Crawford said he didn’t expect the selection in this of all seasons.
“He just kind of caught me walking by,” Crawford said. “I really didn’t know what was going on. He just told me and I was glad to hear the news. ... I just didn’t think I was going to be the one who was going to get picked.”
Crawford was voted in by the players in his first all-star appearance in 2004 when the game was played in his hometown of Houston.
Last season, Crawford had a superb first half, hitting .319 with 13 homers, 46 RBIs, 55 runs and 36 stolen bases, but he didn’t make the team.
His stats this season don’t compare, especially now as he’s struggling through his worse slump of the season, but finally it seems like Crawford is receiving national attention while playing under the radar in Tampa Bay.
“I just think the manager who picked the team thought I did a good enough job to make it,” Crawford said. “That’s good to know. Someone is paying attention to you. You won’t hear my saying nothing about it, about the year I didn't get picked. It definitely justifies what happens to me last year.”