Rays News

Thanksgiving Edition: Rays players I am thankful for

By Austin Reimann
ST PETERSBURG, FL - OCTOBER 19: General view of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrating after defeating the Boston Red Sox in game seven of the American League Championship Series during the 2008 MLB playoffs on October 19, 2008 at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg, Florida. The Rays defeated the Red Sox 3-1 to win the series 4-3. (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
ST PETERSBURG, FL - OCTOBER 19: General view of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrating after defeating the Boston Red Sox in game seven of the American League Championship Series during the 2008 MLB playoffs on October 19, 2008 at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg, Florida. The Rays defeated the Red Sox 3-1 to win the series 4-3. (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images) /
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ST. PETERSBURG – APRIL 25: Outfielder Carl Crawford #13 of the Tampa Bay Rays pleads with the umpire during the game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Tropicana Field on April 25, 2010 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
ST. PETERSBURG – APRIL 25: Outfielder Carl Crawford #13 of the Tampa Bay Rays pleads with the umpire during the game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Tropicana Field on April 25, 2010 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images) /

For some people, Ken Griffey Jr. got them interested in baseball, for others it might be Pedro, or Barry Bonds, or Derek Jeter or Mickey Mantle. Whoever it is that really sparked your interest in the game of baseball, you will always remember them.

For me, a four year old playing his first season of tee ball, there was one player who sparked my interest…his name, Carl Crawford. Heck, at 4, I couldn’t even pronounce his name the right way. It went something like this, “Call Cwafawd”. It didn’t matter that I couldn’t say his name though, because at the time, he was the best payer I had ever seen. He was fast, he could hit, and could really play some defense.

Carl Crawford was the first favorite baseball player I ever had. He was an icon to me growing up. The best Devil Ray player on some very bad Devil Ray teams, Crawford always offered excitement 3-4 times a game at the plate, and was always was exciting in the field.

The older I got, the more I tried to copy his stance, with my front leg angled out towards the outside of the batters box. It didn’t quite work for me, but I stuck with it because, well, he was my favorite player.

If only I could run like him. Over 400 stolen bases as a Ray. Once he reached base it was never a matter of if, but when he would steal second. So fun to watch.

As a youngster learning the game, he was the first player I looked up to. He played the game the right way, he played it hard. Thank you, Carl for being that player, the first player…my first ever favorite baseball player.

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