Carl Crawford Bad-Mouthing Boston Isn’t All That Surprising

This week, Crawford lashed out about his time in Boston. He's not the first—and probably won't be the last—to do so.

This week, Carl Crawford became the latest ex-Red Sox player to rip Boston on the way out the door. CBS Sports columnist Danny Knobler got the outfielder, now a Dodger, to open up.

“That smile turned upside down quick,” Crawford said. “I think they want to see that in Boston. They love it when you’re miserable.

“Burying people in the media, they think that makes a person play better. That media was the worst thing I’ve ever experienced in my life.”

Crawford, who the Red Sox signed to a seven-year, $142 million contract in December 2010, struggled during the 2011 season, and missed much of the 2012 season due to injury. The Red Sox traded Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, and Josh Beckett to Los Angeles in August. It’s clear he doesn’t think he got a fair shake.

“I took so much of a beating in Boston, I don’t think anything could bother me anymore,” he said. “They can say what they want—that I’m the worst free agent ever—and it won’t get to me. But it bothered me the whole time there.”

“Look how they treat [John] Lackey. Adrian [Gonzalez] hit 30 home runs (actually 27), and they talked about him not hitting home runs.”

I doubt things were quite as bad as Crawford made them out to be, but his frustration isn’t all that surprising. After all, he’s not the first former Red Sox to lash out after leaving. It’s a time-honored tradition in Boston, a place that can be both exhilarating and miserable for athletes. And naturally, breakups are messy.

In 1981, catcher Carlton Fisk, who grew up in New Hampshire and spent the first decade of his career with Boston, ended up signing with the White Sox. Before he bolted, Fisk, according to the New York Times, said this to reporters: “I don’t want to leave the Red Sox. I don’t want to leave New England. But it’s obvious that I have to go somewhere else, even if I don’t want to. They didn’t even give me as much as a phone call, not even at Christmas.”

According to Howard Bryant’s book Shutout: a Story of Race and Baseball in Boston, after the Red Sox traded playoff hero Dave Henderson to the Giants in 1987, he started wearing a “Boston Sucks” T-Shirt under his jersey.

Then there’s Roger Clemens. After leaving Boston to sign with the Blue Jays in 1996, he made sure the world knew how he felt about his former organization. “In talking to some of my closer teammates, they’re pretty distraught with the situation there,” the Globe quoted him saying. “They’re on their way out the door. They don’t want to be part of it.”

Almost a decade later, when shit-stirring first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz—the guy who caught the final out of the 2004 World Series then kept the ball—signed with the Mets, he decided to publicly downplay the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry, telling reporters that “the Twins-White Sox series were just as intense as that one.”

The list goes on. Before last season, ex-Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon, who had signed with the Phillies, (slightly) criticized Boston fans, telling a Philadelphia radio host that “the Philly fans tend to know the game a little better, being in the National League, you know, the way the game is played.” Papelbon also said that “the Red Sox didn’t really come at me the way I was expecting them to come at me in the offseason.”

And now, it’s Crawford’s turn to take a few jabs at Boston. I’m sure he has a book’s worth of material about his time here. It’s just too bad that Terry Francona beat him to the punch.