I Miss Him Already!

 
 

He is one of those people who could fade into the background at a party and become part of the wallpaper. He has always seemed to be point-on when it comes to staying out of trouble and not projecting a highly-paid bad boy. He has always been a role model, but maybe the rest of the Nation is just getting a glimpse of this great person we have known since 2002.


Has it really been 8 MLB season sine he graced the Trop’s turf with his uncontrollable chaos running style, but smooth as silk stroke and acceleration towards any base. Have we really seen the last of him on Thursday afternoon, or will there possibility be a return engagement in 2011? How much have we gotten accustomed to his sudden speed and grace flowing in the outfield making hard plays looking routine that even a one game rest for his weary bones makes the Tampa Bay Rays look like an entirely different team.

The solid image of him just standing in the Batter’s Circle before a plat appearance just portrays speed and grace with every pore of his body. How fitting that in possibly his last season to grace a Rays uniform he was selected by the local media as the Rays 2010 Most Valuable Player. Ever since that first jog out into the outfield in Toronto he has slowly and silently become the glue that holds this team together.

 

Even when the Rays were victimized by opposing pitching, you knew he would get a critical hit or make a play that stood out as a beam of light towards the stands. He is the kind of guy you could give your son his name based on him as a person as well as a ballplayer. He is the kind of guy you would hang out with if he was not making millions on the ballfield, and possibly play with on a Adult Softball team.

Has he gotten so woven into the sports fabric of this Tampa Bay community that when he departs and plays elsewhere, when he returns to Tropicana Field he will still get a louder ovation and applause with the sound of his name echoing over the loudspeakers than any current member of the Rays?

He has become that iconic Rays player you hope is not just once in a lifetime. His way of playing the game has never been questioned or seen as rebellious.


He has played the game to his own tune, and that melody rings loud and true to the man beneath the uniform. No matter if he is thrilling us with plays or being a spoken voice of his comrades, his voice is one of the most respected voices ever in that Rays clubhouse. And he earned that honor by doing it the right way. Defending his teammates in every instance, being a silent but deadly team leader in that Rays clubhouse. A voice respected, admire and seen as a true inner voice to the distress or extreme joy within those walls. He has been the voice of the Rays without even knowing it.

 

And I was one of those 35,000+ chanting his name in Tropicana Field in the eighth inning on Thursday night. Immediately upon hearing the cheer and chanting start I rose to me feet and celebrated in mass the career that will transcend time in my mind. To celebrate a man and a player that might be the first to wear the Rays colors into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Applauding a man who will always be solid in my mind as the model of the perfect Rays player.


You might have noticed I have not put his name once into this post. Not once have I uttered his nicknames or even tried to write his name. Because it pains me to do so. His possible departure aches me within with a pain that I do not want to acknowledge until that last moment. For his name will always make me smile, always make me remember Rays moments, but mostly it will remind me of what a great human being, father and key component to any organization. He will that bright sunburst until he hangs his cleats up for the last time.

 

He started as a keystone to this revival of this franchise. Was here with the strife and pain of getting better and winning those close ones. He celebrated titles and possible advancements that we only dreamed of for this club. He was the guy we all wish we could trade places with for one day. I got to end this now because there is a problem with my eyes.

For some odd reason there is liquid beginning to pool in my eye sockets and it is not customary for me to display this emotion. But that is the biggest reason to be a life long fan of this guy. He makes you believe through his actions, words and lifestyle that the true athlete is no dead in this culture. That there is still at least one guy who will lay it all out on the field each night, strive to be the best and not utter the complacent “me” when discussing his sport. 


 

Once in a lifetime you meet someone or see someone who can transcend the norm and become one with the ongoing heartbeat and rhythm of baseball. May fahter used to tell me tales of Stan Musial and Mickey Mantle and their times in St. Petersburg. But I have my own icon of what I think is the perfect baseball player, for me, his name is Carl Crawford, and I miss him already and he is not even gone.

8 Comments

Aaaaaaah. This post is too sad! I got choked up reading it and Crawford isn’t even on my team! I know it must be horrible to contemplate that he won’t be back, but who knows what will happen? He’s not gone yet.

- http://janeheller.mlblogs.com

Jane,
C C is not gone yet, but if the Rays do not buck the trend and get back for Game 5….We said our “goodbye” to him on Thursday.
I am not too emotional about the game, but a player like this truly does come once in a generation. Proud to have Crawford autographed items and photos with the guy, but would have liked to shake his hand and wish him well at the same time in the coming weeks.
Did get a slight moment with him that Tuesday night when the Rays clinched a post season spot, but emotions were swirling and I forgot to make sure he knew how much I loved watching him play here.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Thanks for such a heartfelt blog. I, too, think Crawford emulates the good things in the game, and much as he torments us Twins fans with his hitting, base-stealing, and snatching fly balls that no one else could have even gotten to, I do hope he can stay with the Rays. We lost Torii Hunter, who was the face of the Twins, a few years back and that was pretty tough. It was nice of Jane Heller to comment, but I don’t think any Yankee fan has felt the pain that comes from seeing a young man come up, have your own organization teach him and help him grow into a terrific baseball player and know that because of money, you may have to say “good-bye.” It is right and fitting for you to honor him, but may it be many years before you have to bid adieu to Carl.

Twnzfan,
I agree the pain felt by Twins fans when Torii left definitely is within the scope of Crawford maybe playing his last Rays game real soon.
But I have to disagree with you about the Yankees, Bernie Williams once was the pre-Torii Hunter guy that pushed the CF position for such a long, long time.
That being said, a three-headed threat like Crawford is a generational thing. The only problem with Crawford possibly staying with the Rayts is that the most, it might be for a single year. Rays might not have a future revenues in-house right now to offer him anything else.
Still think he is going Westward….either wearing Dodger Blue or a halo on his cap.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Crawford is not the most publicized Rays player, but is definitely the essence of baseball in a Rays uniform and I think your right he probably will be the first to hang with the HoF’ers in a Rays uni….

-peter

Phillies Outside

Peter,
My Father used to tell me about a type of wroker he always loved having work for him. He was the guy who always showed up, sweated through the day and never complained, argued or caused a big problem. My Father loved “Grinders” which was a perfect phrase for this kind of worker.
Carl Crawford is a baseball grinder of the first order. Been a lot of that character guy who have played in the MLB, and you remember them by their work ethic, stay out of trouble persona and most of all, their determination to leave it all on the clay and grass.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Aww I know how you feel…losing players so close to your heart is almost impossible to deal with. Everyone says the Yankees are going to get Crawford. He’s an amazing player, but honestly, I don’t want him. I’d rather the Yankees spend their money on pitching, ahem, Cliff Lee. I debated this awhile ago: http://fanvsfan.com/claims/the-yankees-shouldn-t-sign-carl-crawford
-Virginia
http://southernbelle.mlblogs.com

Virginia,
I remember you post about Crawford.
But I think he is going to try and go away from the drama-rama of the A L East.
Angels have put him as a priority, plus if McCourt can get his divorce finalized, there will be money in the Dodgers coffers too.
Places like Boston, New York and even Washington will flirt with him, but I still really see him on the West Coast in 2011.
Guess we will see soon enough!

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

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