On May 27th, Thomas’ Trolley named eight important elements to the Red Sox overcoming their abysmal April. Three of those were were identified as “Carl Crawford’s Awakening.” As we eye the potential hurricane of playoff games (that is the emotional turmoil, accompanying possible joys and pains–we can’t have one without the other–of the postseason), there is one harvest that I see as most likely to win games. It is always difficult to narrow the field of driving influences and this seems to happen game after game, with commentators and journalists attempting to reveal the truth to consistency in a game that endlessly confounds and surprises. But on this day, when the tourists begin to chase their hats out of this resort town, from where I write, the unofficial end of summer, I have a singular focus.
Webster’s 20th Century Unabridged Dictionary says that Crawford is a variety of peach, one of which ripens early in the season and the other late. We already know what happened in April. Then Carl, the baseball playing Crawford, had three walk-off hits, which were a sign that he was easing into the pressure of wearing a Red Sox uniform and all the nerves that might go along with a major market team. Then injury struck. Those with the speed of a Crawford seem to be more prone to the hammy pull. After watching Carl hit his grand slam a few days ago, it was enough to make me forget for a moment that he is batting only.256. It was the ease of that swing under the pressures of not the last inning but bases-loaded variety, when the game had a chance to blow open for the Sox, which it did as Carl rounded the bases at a fraction of the speed we want from him at other times. To steal bases, though, one has to get on base. Carl, we need you. Now. The electricity of action must come now with the autumn winds. We need you to fly off the branch, ripening all the way around the bases.