Carl Crawford wanted some attention, and he got it. Tuesday, Crawford's making the catch to win the All-Star MVP award and talking all over national TV. Wednesday, he's private-jetting to L.A. and walking the red carpet at the ESPYs, chatting up Michael Phelps, checking out stars such as Kobe Bryant, Mike Tyson, Danica Patrick and the Williams sisters. "I was in the clouds for a couple days," Crawford said. "I enjoyed everything. I soaked up the moment. I had fun with it all."
The ESPYs experience was exciting, giving Crawford a chance to be part of the athletic elite. And the timing couldn't have been better, the show taping the day after his All-Star efforts. (ESPN even did a promo for tonight's telecast with an anchor joking that Crawford deserved a better seat.)
"Who didn't I see?" Crawford said. "It was everybody you could think of pretty much."
Crawford hung out in the VIP room, got the gift bag (about $20,000 worth of celeb goodies such as electronics, clothes, video games, jewelry) and walked the red carpet with teammate David Price, doing the whole pictures-and-interviews thing.
"It was perfect being with C.C.," Price said. "He was a hot commodity out there."
As cool as he tried to be, Crawford admitted he wasn't totally at ease amid the rich and/or famous. He first saw Phelps in the hotel elevator but wasn't comfortable approaching the swimming star.
"I was a little starstruck and shy," Crawford said. "But I opened up a little more later when we met in the VIP room and talked to him, and that was really cool."
Overall, Crawford said the best word for his week was whirlwind: "That's what it was all right."
The fame game
Carl Crawford hadn't even made it back to his locker after Tuesday's game when the Hall of Fame asked for the cap he was wearing when he made the catch. Crawford was happy to oblige and now has three items on display in Cooperstown. The Hall already has his road jersey from the World Series and his cleats from the May 3 record-tying six stolen base game.
"Carl's had quite a run of Hall of Fame moments in the last 10 months," Hall official Brad Horn said. "From his performance during the World Series to stealing six bases in a game to earning All-Star Game MVP honors, the Hall of Fame now has nearly an entire Crawford uniform to represent these achievements. At this point, the only thing missing is Carl himself."
The Rays are repped a couple of other ways in Cooperstown beyond a mention on Wade Boggs' plaque. Items presently on display include: the 1998 inaugural game lineup card, Boggs' 3,000th hit jersey, Fred McGriff's 400th homer bat, Jose Canseco's 400th home run helmet and Rocco Baldelli's first home run ball. There also is a World Series exhibit that includes a Joe Maddon cap, B.J. Upton cleats and ALCS bat, Willy Aybar's ALCS Game 7 home run ball and, yes, a cowbell.
All about Evan
Evan Longoria also enjoyed the ESPYs experience, meeting actor Jeremy Piven (Ari Gold from HBO's Entourage), Lakers Luke Walton and Jordan Farmar, and getting a close-up look at Michael Phelps, Serena Williams and actor Demi Moore. He even had a paparazzi moment. When he arrived at Los Angeles' airport, there was a driver holding an "E LONGORIA" sign and a camera crew from TMZ, the celeb news chasers. He handled it well, joking when someone off-camera suggests they were expecting actor Eva Longoria then saying: "I shouldn't be on TMZ. I'm not a celebrity." It didn't go as well for ESPN's Chris Berman, who was standing nearby and is seen grousing about not getting any attention.
Not offering SS Julio Lugo bigger bucks in July 2006 looks pretty good now given how his four-year, $36 million deal in Boston turned out. … Look for some type of celebration of Carl Crawford's All-Star award when the Rays return home. … ESPN's Buster Olney ranks the Rays' remaining schedule sixth toughest of nine AL contenders. … Agent Scott Boras says there has been no movement on top draft pick LeVon Washington, and he expects talks to push the Aug. 17 signing deadline. … If you're really into Evan Longoria, he revealed some highly personal info the other day: He bites his nails. … Irony of the All-Star MVP award: Among the Rays' 16 first-half ESPN Web Gems, Crawford didn't have any. … Joe Maddon's Twitter post before the second-half opener: Need at least 5 & 5 trip … The All-Star Game parade was Ben Zobrist's first since Eureka (Ill.) High homecoming. … A retractable roof is right for a new stadium, though it's not going to be open often. Given a choice, it has to be a dome over open air.
Got a minute? Matt Garza
Best meal you can make? Scrambled eggs and chorizo (a spicy sausage).
Band you'd like to be on stage with? A rock band because they have a lot more fun, like Nickelback.
Must-see TV? The Simpsons or George Lopez.
What about the "resemblance" to the Duke Blue Devil mascot (see above)? That's all Brian Anderson and Andrew Friedman. Whatever. Most people get compared to other people. I get compared to a mascot.
Dream date? Megan Fox. I want to see her tattoos.