Crawford settles into the Red Sox spotlight

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Crawford settles into the Red Sox spotlight

By SeanMcAdam
CSNNE.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The first reminder, probably one of many on this day, came about 20 minutes before gametime.

Carl Crawford was out doing some short sprints in the outfield and stretching, getting ready for his first Grapefruit League game as a member of the Red Sox, when fans seated in the left-field stands spotted him and began applauding and cheering wildly.

This was Crawford's introduction to life as a Red Sox and surely, there weren't many instances in his time with the Tampa Bay Rays that a simple warmup routine led to such a response.

"I was just trying to take it all in,'' said a smiling Crawford later, after the Red Sox edged the Minnesota Twins, 7-6. "I'm still thinking that I'm actually in a Red Sox uniform. You're thinking about all that stuff and trying to take it all in and try to focus on the game at the same time.''

Crawford had three at-bats in the win, but went hitless. Monday, however, wasn't about results; it was about taking the first step, of experiencing the moment.

"It felt good,'' said Crawford, "just to put the uniform, finally get on the field and play a game. I was a little nervous at first, but I was happy to get that out of the way.''

Like new teammate Adrian Gonzalez, Crawford is undergoing quite a transformation this season. He's gone from a team with small payroll and modest fan support to a city where the baseball team has tradition and a huge, insatiable fan base.

The transition, to date, has been seamless.

"It hasn't been really hard,'' he said. "The guys have made it easy for me. Pretty much everything you need, they take care of it here. It hasn't been bad.''

With interview requests, promotional shoots, photo sessions and other off-field responsibilities behind him, Crawford felt good to be in uniform and on the field.

"It was just playing baseball again,'' said Crawford.

For the time being anyway, Crawford found himself hitting third in the Boston batting order, though Terry Francona took pains to emphasize that not much should be read into the lineup for the second game of the spring.

Crawford hit behind Jacoby Ellsbury (leadoff) and Dustin Pedroia (second), and in front of cleanup hitter David Ortiz.

"That would be fine with me,'' he said of the prospect of being the Red Sox' No. 3 hitter once the regular season starts. "I've got no problem with it. I'm still gonna play the way I play, no matter where he puts me. I'd have a chance to drive in runs and when I get on base, I'd have the big guys behind me Ortiz, Kevin Youkilis, Adrian Gonzalez so I could still steal and get pitches for those guys to hit.

"So, either way we go, I'm still going to play the way I play.''

No matter what Francona decides, Crawford pointed out, the Red Sox have a powerful offense, capable of scoring plenty of runs and the exact order is almost academic.

"The sky's the limit in my mind,'' he said of the Red Sox lineup's potential. "You've got all these guys who can hit really well and know what they're doing at the plate. Once we all get clicking at the same time, it's going to make it very tough on opposing pitches.''

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Taiwanese broadcaster had shocking call for Manny Ramirez's homer

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Taiwanese broadcaster had shocking call for Manny Ramirez's homer

A Taiwanese announcer's call outshined Hanley Ramirez's homer.

In a video that made rounds on the internet Sunday, the Taiwanese broadcaster delivered a laughable response to Ramirez's homer.

"This ball is long gone! Just like the ex-girlfriend who will never return! Home run!" the man yelled.

The hit took place a few years ago when he was in the Taiwanese league. He is now playing in Japan. But frankly, he many never have another home run as epic as that one. And he certainly won't get a call as epic as that one.

Watch the video in the tweet below.

Red Sox-Orioles series expected to begin with closest thing to warnings

Red Sox-Orioles series expected to begin with closest thing to warnings

If you're stupid, you're probably gone.

As standard operating procedure, umpiring crews no longer start series with warnings to either team. So when the Orioles and Red Sox kick off a four-game set at Fenway Park on Monday, technically, no official warning will be in place for the other side.

But the closest thing to a warning likely will be implemented. Umpires are expected to be made specifically aware of the recent history with Manny Machado, Dustin Pedroia and Matt Barnes, a baseball source told CSNNE — a sort of “heads up” that should create very little tolerance for any further drama.

In some situations, MLB reminds teams as well that the expectation is a game be played, not a repeat of past incidents. It’s unclear if that conversation will happen or has happened here.

The way the Red Sox and Orioles were talking after Barnes threw too close to Machado’s head, it sounded like a situation that’s wisely been put to bed. Not forgotten, but not something that requires action as it stands today.

Showalter a week ago Sunday praised his team for not retaliating. Machado, who started it all by spiking Pedroia, showed restraint when the pitch went behind him. Pedroia apologized publicly and dramatically, and Barnes apologized and dropped the appeal of his four-game suspension. (Barnes is to return Sunday.)

If indeed this chapter of the feud dies, Pedroia deserves some credit for that.

No Orioles player was hit by a pitch or hurt in the end. The only one injured was Pedroia. Despite the stupidity of where Barnes’ attempted retaliatory pitch went, it’d be hard for the Orioles to justify needing revenge at this point.

Zach Britton, who bizarrely questioned Pedroia’s leadership because he was unable to prevent Barnes’ pitch, told BaltimoreBaseball.com the Orioles were waiting to see how the Red Sox move forward. 

“That’s up to them. Well see what they do in Boston,” Britton told reporter Dan Connolly. “I think we’ve talked about it already, as a team, and we’ll see how they choose to act — whether or not they choose to act professionally or unprofessionally when we get to Boston.”

Pedro Martinez said he would have drilled Machado, not because he detected intent for Machado to harm, but because that's nonetheless what happens after you spike a guy like Pedroia.

"Barnesy did not mean to throw the ball at Machado’s head," Martinez said. "That’s another thing. But the results at the end were the right ones. If I was pitching, I was going to drill Machado as much as I love him. And it didn’t matter what happened, the only thing I would have done differently was probably [throw] the ball a little bit lower. But everything else was nature of baseball. I think it’s something that’s going to happen. It’s part of baseball. Hopefully it won’t linger around for too long, or nobody will make it personal.”