I have come back to the Crawford news with a cooler head (and a good night’s sleep). Everyone was very kind to my initial reaction. (The Platoon Advantage even called it “rationalizing” which was more than generous. It would have been pretty fair to call it many worse things.)
Crawford isn’t as replaceable as I hoped yesterday but he certainly isn’t irreplaceable. Also, he will definitely slow down but probably not as much as I’d like. The whole situation just stings and, as a fan, I had to prop myself up somehow.
That, of course, is over now. Crawford is a Sox (I know that reads like it is wrong but he isn’t a “Sock” because they aren’t the “Red Socks.” Apparently, the ability to spell isn’t required to amass huge quantities of money.) and therefore, he is now the enemy. After I came to terms with that this morning, an interesting thought popped into my head. Who has it worse, small market baseball fans or small market basketball fans?
[Disclaimer: Carl Crawford is really good at baseball. Great even. But he isn't as good at baseball as LeBron James is at basketball. He also isn't from this area, even if he grew up here professionally. Heck, he didn't even live here in the offseason. So I know, going in, that this comparison is a little strained.]
You may have heard that the City of Cleveland had a bad summer when LeBron James took his talents to South Beach. I think Rays fans are feeling that same type of sting, just without the animosity.
There are a lot of reasons that no one is out in the streets burning their #13 jerseys. Crawford didn’t announce his decision to play for our hated rival on national television. Crawford never promised that he would stay with our club until we won a title. Crawford didn’t intentionally tank in his final playoff game for the Rays (umm, allegedly).
In the end, I don’t think those are the reasons that Rays fans aren’t seething over this turn of events. Rays fans aren’t quite as mad at Crawford because Rays fans never thought we had a chance to sign Crawford in the first place. We had no expectation that he’d play for us next year so we weren’t disappointed. (At best, we hoped he would sign with a team in a different division.)
Cleveland fans, on the other hand, had legitimate hope that LeBron would stay in Cleveland. There was no economic reason to pick Miami over Cleveland. In fact, because of the NBA’s salary structure, there was no economic reason to pick anyplace over Cleveland. So, Cleveland fans hoped they had enough non-economic incentive to keep him in town.
Stated more directly, LeBron’s decision had nothing to do with the money being offered by Cleveland while Crawford’s decision had everything to do with the money being offered by Boston.
So, which is worse? I don’t know. Seeing Crawford wearing that ugly hat is going to sting. Feeling helpless while the best player in the history of our franchise goes elsewhere hurts too. But at least we had an entire season to prepare for this.