The Red Sox signing Carl Crawford happened to coincide, for me, with three miserable days in the grip of the Malaysian Death Flu that's been trendy this past month.
But it's really not like I couldn't possibly have gotten this post done earlier. It's just that whenever I sat down to do it earlier this week, things would get written and deleted, written and deleted, until I finally wound up back at square one, with nothing but a blinking cursor. And then I'd give up, vowing to come back for another try when I wasn't quite so hopped up on the Tussin.
Such was the depth, you could say, of my surprise about the Red Sox signing Crawford right on the heels of the Gonzalez deal: I briefly came down with writer's block about it, along with my cold.
There had been rumors that Crawford was coming, but there had also been rumors he was looking for seven, even eight years, and given that the Sox had already backed up the Brinks truck for AGon, (AGonz? Gonzo? What are we calling him, officially?) I just didn't consider it a serious possibility that Crawford would end up in Boston, too. And I don't trust the Hot Stove grapevine in general, what with all the horse puckey floating around about Cliff Lee, and the whipsawing some fans went through during the Gonzalez negotiations.
Even after the initial shock wore off that the Red Sox had, in fact, shelled to get Crawford, there was still cognitive dissonance left to contend with.
On the one hand, it's not lost on me that the Red Sox now have the two fastest baserunners in the game, and a new anchor for the outfield defensively, who's also no slouch with the bat; nor am I unaware that it seems to be a "stupid money" kind of off-season for the league in general; and finally, after the last two seasons of relative frugality resulted in a relative lack of success, it was clear the Sox were going to have to make some big FA moves this time around.
On the other hand, in the back of my mind there nonetheless remains a small but buzz-killing concern about the price tag on Crawford ($142 million), and, especially, about the length of his contract (7 years). I appreciate how strategically Sox management seems to have chosen to break the bank, but it is broken nonetheless, and for quite some time to come.
Let's say, then, that I'm cautiously happy. Nervously excited. Tentatively psyched.
Maybe it's just a little bit harder to imagine, for me, while sleigh bells are ringing, I'm preoccupied with the guys who play in Foxboro, and it feels so far from mid-summer at Fenway, just what it will really be like to watch a new player like Crawford running the basepaths in the home whites.
Maybe it'll take me a while to really warm up to a new acquisition who, until now, has been a division foe.
Maybe I've also been holding out some kind of sentimental and irrational hope that I'd be seeing more of Ryan Kalish after growing fond of him last season, and now wonder whether he'll be sent back to Pawtucket, or packaged in another big trade.
And yes, there may well be a piper to pay circa 2018, where Crawford himself is concerned.
But for the time being, even a Scrooge like me does have to admit it's shaping up to be a very merry 2011 for the Red Sox. And the world's supposed to end in 2012 anyway, as I'm sure we've all heard, so I guess we might as well live it up now.