Crawford: "My heart is here in Boston"
Carl Crawford said a few interesting things at his introductory press conference this morning in Boston, topped by his reason for choosing to sign with the Red Sox: "My heart is here in Boston.''
Also, that he would be open to hitting leadoff and playing somewhere besides leftfield if needed - two things he didn't want to do with the Rays.
Also interesting was Boston GM Theo Epstein's admission that the Sox have been targeting Crawford as a free agent for a while - since the spring of 2005.
Here are some of the comments from the 20-minute session at Fenway Park, which was carried live on MLB Network, mlb.com and radio, and timed to the launch of Sox ticket sales:
On picking the Red Sox:
"I had interest in the Angels but at the end of the day I felt like my situation would definitely be better here in Boston. The Angels have a pretty nice organization too, but at the end of the day I think that my heart is here in Boston. I have a 6-year-old son and I think he was a closet Boston fan because when I told him I was coming to Boston, he was more excited than me so that's when I knew that I had made the right decision. It's just one of those things - the feeling. The feeling feels so good that you just couldn't pass that up.''
On whether he'd be open to hitting leadoff, which he didn't want to do with the Rays (or play centerfield):
"I really don't mind hitting anywhere in the lineup. I think those statements came when I was a little younger in my career and they kind of stayed with me that I didn't like hitting leadoff. I definitely don't have a problem with hitting anywhere. As far as knowing where I'm going to hit, Terry's the manager and I'm pretty sure whatever lineup he makes I'll be fine with it. I told him I can play anywhere. I don't mind playing anywhere, whatever you want to do with me is fine.''
On how difficult it was to leave the team he'd grown up with:
"It's never easy leaving a situation like that because that's all you know pretty much in your life. I'd been with the Rays since I was 17 years old. So it was a little different for me knowing I was about to leave, but you get older and you mature and you know things have to go a certain ways and you understand that, and you just have to go with the flow.''
On how GM Theo Epstein swayed him to sign with the Sox during a visit to Houston:
"He seemed really sincere about it, he told me about how I could play with the players that they have here, really great players, and just the whole thing about how we could win. He said I could help this team immediately. You want to feel like you're wanted, and he definitely came to Houston and just made me feel like he really wanted me. And that was big for me to feel like I was going to go somewhere where people actually wanted to have you.''
Epstein on how long the Sox have been interested in signing him:
"Carl's been on our radar as a potential free agent acquisition for a while, actually since he signed his last contract really (spring 2005). We started to get serious about it this year. We assigned Allard Baird, who's one of our top scouts, to follow Carl basically the whole second half of the season he was at the majority of his games, and we did a lot of research and background information.''
After a Boston reporter cracked about there being more people at the press conference than "on a Tuesday night at the Trop,'' on playing before the passionate Boston fans every night:
"I'm definitely ready for that. That's one thing that attracted me here. You know it's going to be sold out, you know there's going to be excitement, you know there's going to be a lot of screaming and hollering. It's something that gets you up; it keeps you going. That was definitely one of the things that attracted me here. Instead of getting booed, they can boo somebody else now. I took my share of leftfield torture.''
On staying in the AL East:
"That was really important to me because I feel like the American League East is so exciting, the fans are so passionate in the East, there's so much history. I really wanted to stay in the AL East, so when I heard Boston was interested I was definitely excited about it, and happy I was able to stay here.''
On joining the Sox:
"It's a great group of guys I'm coming to right now, and I don't think I could have asked for a better situation. I don't want to be the guy to say, "I need to be in this spot." I just want to play, that's all I'm here to do.''
On joining a team that will be competing for a playoff berth every year:
"That's great because before the season even starts you can tell in your mind, World Series, postseason, all that stuff. You know it actually might happen. So it's exciting for me because it's something new for me. I just want to embrace the whole thing and just become part of it and try my best to help is team get to the postseason and to the World Series.''