• Clearing Up Crawford Comments

    Posted by on February 26th, 2010 · Comments (0)

    As much as I hate to acknowledge bellyaching about something that I’ve written here, this time, I feel that a follow-up is necessary.

    First, a flashback to what brought this all about in the first place. Three days ago, I wrote:

    Two things about Carl Crawford: One, he’s very “street.” Think Mickey Rivers meets Rickey Henderson – not that there’s anything wrong with that. Two, I dunno why…but…I just have this feeling that he’s one of those players who will be out of the game by the time he’s 35 years old. Granted, that’s not until 2017. And, I could be totally wrong on this…and he’ll be a Tim Raines type who plays into his late 30’s.

    I’m just saying…if it were me, I’d be careful about giving him a very long term deal once he hits the free agent market. I’d be very concerned about going more than 5 years on an offer. But, that’s just me…

    In the time which has followed that post, it seems some people are focusing on two things therein and taking it places where it doesn’t belong. And, those items are he’s very “street” and I’d be careful about giving him a very long term deal once he hits the free agent market – in reference to Carl Crawford.

    Making a leap like this is the same as hearing me say “First, see that car over there? It’s a Chevy. And, secondly, and I’m not sure why I feel this way, but, I think it’s not a good idea to drive in the winter. I’m just saying…if it were me, I’d be careful about driving in the winter.” – and then running with it telling everyone that I said you should not drive a certain car in the winter because it’s a Chevy.

    Let’s get back to the Crawford thing. First, I said “he’s very ‘street.’” And, I later tried to clarify that with a comment that shared it “just means he’s got more of a ‘street’ image than a college or boardroom image.” That’s it – period.

    To me, being “street” means you have a “street persona” – as in being someone with street smarts and look as opposed to being the type of person who does the crossword puzzle in the Times every Sunday and who prefers to vacation at The Kurgarten in Baden-Baden.

    Is this why “I’d be careful about giving [Crawford] a very long term deal once he hits the free agent market”? No. Again, don’t forget that I prefaced that concern with “I just have this feeling that he’s one of those players who will be out of the game by the time he’s 35 years old.” My concerns about the Yankees signing Crawford have nothing to do with his image/style – none, whatsoever. My concerns are about giving a long-term deal to a player who I suspect might not have many productive seasons past his mid-30′s.

    But, again, people see what they want to see, etc., and then go on the attack.

    First, there was a comment made on Twitter by someone (whose profile there boasts that he’s an “… all around grump” and that he “want[s] your skulls”) proclaiming “that’s basically it @waswatching / steve lombardi is a racist.” And, more recently, Rob Abruzzese at BBD authored a long feature about my comments regading Crawford and said my “entire argument reeked of…subtle racism…[but]…I’m not here to accuse Lombardi of racism, that’s not for me to decide.”

    Me, a “racist”? Really?

    Again, people hear what they want, and take it from there…I suppose?

    It’s just too bad that these same people were not paying attention on January 12th, 2009 when I wrote:

    It was announced today that Rickey Henderson received 94.8 percent of the vote by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America and he will now be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown on July 26, 2009. For me, this is thrilling news.

    As I’ve mentioned here before, I’m a big fan of Rickey Henderson. In fact, back in the 1980’s, when I last played ball, Rickey Henderson was the player that I wanted to be…which is funny – because I can’t run a lick. But, I wore my stirrups just like Rickey did in the ’80’s – and had white spikes like him too. And, when I would lead-off base, I would tap my toes into the ground like Rickey did when he took his lead…

    It wasn’t always this way for me. In the 1970’s, I was more of a Thurman Munson and George Brett guy. And, actually, the Brett thing stayed with me into the ’80’s as well…as I patterned my stance and swing, albeit from the right-side, after Brett. (But, for the record, during BP, I used to goof around and try and use the “young” Rickey Henderson batting stance – where he had the one-inch strike zone.) Further, once my playing days were over, in the 1990’s, I was more of a Cal Ripken and Paul O’Neill guy. But, I never lost my respect for Henderson.

    Back in 2004, when Rickey Henderson was playing for the Newark Bears, I thought it would be cool to have a picture of him in his Bears’ uniform. Given Henderson’s greatness, I figured it would be like having a nice photo of Babe Ruth in his Boston Braves uniform.

    So, I called the Bears and asked them if they had any photos of Rickey for sale. They put me in touch with Rickey’s personal assistant. When I spoke to his assistant, and told him that I wanted two pictures – one for my daughter, then two-years old, and one for my son, who was recently born – he asked me if I wanted them personalized, with my kids’ names. How cool is that?

    So, for the last four years, both of my kid’s rooms have a picture of Rickey Henderson, in his Bears uniform, hanging on the wall – autographed by Rickey, personalized by Rickey for them…by including their name above his signature.

    Yeah, Rickey Henderson – who is really no different from Carl Crawford in terms of his image or whatever you want to call it. Really, the only difference between Henderson and Crawford is that Henderson had a better batting eye and played in the majors for a quarter-century whereas Crawford just has eight season under his belt, to date.

    So, if I were a racist, explain to me why I have so much respect and admiration for Rickey Henderson – and have a picture of him hanging in the rooms of all my children? Does that sound like a racist to you?

    In any event, as we know, people cherry pick and make inferences – as they have in this case. What can you do? And, all that really matters is that my family and friends, those who really know me, know the truth. But, I felt that I should at least try and clear this matter up – hence, this post.

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