BOSTON - They say the first one is the hardest to get out of the way.
Allen Craig didn't waste much time doing just that.
In his second at-bat, Craig battled back from an 0-and-2 count and lined a 2-2 sinker to left field that rolled around in the corner, allowing him to reach second base. Craig didn't end up scoring that inning, as Xander Bogaerts grounded out to end the inning, but simply getting a good swing on the ball was all he needed.
"Yeah it felt really good to get that first hit in Fenway Park and get to second," Craig said. "It really means a lot, so I was glad to get that one out of the way and just kind of move on from there. But it was a really special moment for me."
Craig, acquired Thursday in the deal that sent John Lackey to the Cardinals, received a warm welcome from the Fenway fans, to no surprise. Boston has long been considered one of the best places to play the game and the fans' passion for the game is a huge reason why.
"It was so exciting," Craig said. "Just felt good to get out there and put the uniform on and play the game. Obviously it's new, and it's different. But it's good. I had a good time."
Craig also played left field for the Sox in his debut. The wall adds another element to the game, and Craig was shagging fly balls out there prior to the game to get more familiar with his new terrain. He got a few hit his way in the game as well.
"I was glad they hit me some balls out there," Craig said, "just to get the feel for it. Baseball is baseball, but obviously the wall out there is going to be a little bit different than things I've dealt with in the past, but it was fun tonight."
For Craig, a new scenery might be a good thing. After a couple strong seasons in St. Louis, Craig's production tailed off this season. His average went from .315 last season to .237 this season. But this fresh start and regular playing time in left field could be just what Craig needs to recalibrate.
"Yeah I'm looking forward to the second half and finishing the season strong. That's something that I've been looking forward to for a while now. Just chomping at the bit to get out there and get out and play and finishing strong."
And speaking of a new scenery, Craig will spend whatever free time he has in Boston getting to know the place. His last visit most likely left a sour taste in his mouth.
"Not a whole lot, to be honest with you," Craig said when asked what he knew about Boston. "The only time I've spent here was last year in the World Series. I saw a little bit of it and thought it was great and wished I had more time obviously. But hopefully now I do have some more time. It's kind of funny how things work out like that. But I'm excited and I'm thrilled to be here. It means a lot coming from a good organization in the Cardinals and another organization that's special to me."