Tuesday, December 21

Not Crazy Carl

It’s time for Jose Melendez’s KEYS TO THE GAME.

1. There are a lot of things Jose is excited about with the arrival of Carl Crawford: his speed, his defense, and his emerging power. But Jose is even more excited that this harkens back to a glorious age in Red Sox history. Did you know that Carl Crawford is the first Carl on the Red Sox since Carl Yasztremski?

Okay, technically that’s not true, but he is the first Carl who believes in dinosaurs and isn’t universally referred to as Tuffy since Yaz.

This leads one to ask a rather obvious question: How does a belief in the past existence of dinosaurs impact Not Crazy Carl’s game? (Note: Jose is seriously considering “Not Crazy Carl” for the official KEYS nickname for the left fielder.)

Jose has identified two obvious effects. First, it implies that Crawford believes in evolution. This is good. Evolution means that Crawford does not imagine that he was just created 6,000 years ago as the player he is and that nothing can ever change. He can become a better player and gain critical advantages, such as the ability to breath air or the growth of a prehensile tail, that will make him a more effective player.

Second, a belief in dinosaurs suggests an understanding of the concept of extinction, a knowledge of the fact that nothing—least of all baseball prowess—is forever. Ergo, win now.

2. Still Crawford’s game doesn’t remind Jose much of Captain Carl, based on the one time Jose saw number 8 play in the second to last game of 1983. In fact, Crawford’s game, particularly his defense in left, doesn’t remind Jose of damn near anyone in Red Sox history. For generations now, left has been a place to hide defensive liabilities rather than showcase defensive strengths. So Jose had to look outside of the Red Sox organization for comparisons. But Jose isn’t sure there’s a major league baseball player who has a game quite like Crawford’s.

Rather, the best comparison Jose could come up with is to a super hero. You know the one. The really fast guy. He’s so fast he can run on water. It’s like… Ummm.. Something with an F? Fuh… Fluh… Fla….

Jesus Christ!

Yeah, that’s the guy. Crawford is so fast that he can probably walk on water just like Jesus Christ.

Of course, there are a lot of other similarities. Both are regarded as saviors, both are black, and the only way opponents of either man could hope to stop him from doing what he was born to do is by nailing his feet down. (Note: Yes, in the spirit of the season, Jose went there, but before you get all offended, watch, he’s going to redeem himself, which, from what he has heard, is what Jesus is all about.) Of course, nails didn’t really stop Jesus from doing his job—the whole salvation thing. We can only hope Crawford is as resilient.

Yes, the two men are similar in an awful lot of ways. And that’s how Jose likes it. If Crawford continues to follow Christ’s career projections, he should peek in just about five years—when he turns 33. Of course, given that Crawford is signed through 2017, Jose hopes we get more production from him at age 34 and 35 than we got out of Jesus.

3. Since Jose has analyzed Crawford’s first name and comparables to death (note: wow, is that another Jesus joke?) it seems only appropriate that Jose take a look at his last name too. There have only been two other Crawfords in Red Sox history, reliever Steve Crawford, who served competently, if blandly, in the 80s, and Tampaxton Crawford the pitcher in the early 2000s who has, perhaps, Jose’s favorite KEYS nickname of all time. Of course, Jose expects much more from Carl than from Tampaxton. Tampaxton, as you may recall, was a roider, had a bizarre injury from a glass and flamed out quickly. In other words, as his nickname suggests, he was a bloody mess.

Carl, one would hope, will be more together. Certainly the fact that the most disgusting consumer product one can link to his first name is Carl’s Jr. hamburgers is a positive sign. It would suggest that, at absolute worst, his play will be unappetizing and cause severe intestinal distress.

I’m Jose Melendez, and those are my KEYS TO THE GAME.