Me & my tattoo

Published August 20, 2006

Rays centerfielder Rocco Baldelli has a tattoo of the Major League Baseball emblem on his ankle. Designated hitter Jonny Gomes has an elaborate maze of tattoos on his back. Other Rays have assorted tattoos, such as the cliched barbed wire around the arm. But the most recognizable tattoo belongs to leftfielder Carl Crawford. It's a dipsy-doodle little design on the right side of his neck, alongside his jaw. You can't help but notice it every time he comes up to bat. Crawford discussed the artwork last week with Times staff writer Tom Jones:

"I got it just last offseason. I was working out in Arizona with (the Detroit Tigers') Dmitri Young. So Dmitri had one of his homeboys come out there, and this guy was giving tattoos at the house one day. I thought, 'I'm going to get me a tattoo today.' Nothing else to do in the offseason. Wasn't free, though. Had to pay. It was good, though."

This isn't Crawford's first. He has 10. He got the first one when he was 14 or 15. He has a name on his chest, an animal on his arm, some more on his stomach. That's all you get.

"I don't talk about the others. I'll talk about the one (on my neck), but that's it. Just this one. The others are covered up. If they are covered up, I keep them covered, know what I mean?"

Crawford gets the question almost every day.

"People always want to know what it is, what it means. Some think it's the Omega sign. Some people think it's a snake or something. I always have to explain it. It's my Zodiac sign. Leo. It's the sign for Leo. When I got it, I wanted it to be about me. I look at my sign every day, my horoscope, so I figured that would be cool. I didn't want it to be nothing crazy. I wanted it to be nice and elegant looking."

Everyone likes it?

"No negative reaction from family or friends or anything. This is my body. If they don't like, no one has ever said anything. It's all cool."

Leo isn't the last time Crawford will go under the ink.

"Nah, probably get some more. Don't know what. I'll think of something."

One last thing. Is that a tattoo of a dog on the arm?

"Yeah, it's a dog. But I'm not talking about that one or the others underneath. Just this one."