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Rays' Crawford ready to work hard every day

By ROGER MILLS

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 11, 2001


Rays outfield prospect Carl Crawford is 19, but is one of the crown jewels of the farm system. In spring training with the big club, here are his takes on football, tattoos, dogs, miracles, Grammy dresses and Scooby-Doo.

* * *

RM: You turned down a full ride to play quarterback at Nebraska, how often do you think about that?

CC: Every day. I think about it, but I just have to put it behind me. It's kind of hard sometimes with them on television all the time. Whenever they lose a game, a close game or something like that, I say to myself, "I could have made that play. I could have helped them win." Actually, sometimes when I have a real bad game, that night I'll think about playing football.

RM: FSU quarterback Chris Weinke tried baseball and then returned to football years later. Would you ever consider that?

CC: Most definitely. If this doesn't work out, and hopefully it will, there's always another option for me to go back and play football. You know, before I was drafted and signed, the coaches up in Nebraska told me that if I ever decided to come back, they would hold a scholarship.

RM: What's up with the tattoos?

CC: Well, I have had some of them since I was about 15 years old, like this one (the word Killer over a pit bull on his left biceps), and this one (Holla at Me on the right biceps). I have one on my stomach as well. Nine in all. The deal there is that I have friends back at home and they would come home from college or for the Christmas break, we'll be chilling, with nothing to do and he'll be like, "Let's go get another tattoo."

RM: Who was someone you admired?

CC: My Uncle Jack (Crawford). He was always around. Most of my uncles were around, really. But he did most of the things and he got me started in baseball when I was little. My dad and mom were separated and he would come around and keep my head right.

RM: Did you collect anything, baseball cards, as a kid?

CC: I never was into collecting anything or getting autographs. The only thing I ever kept, and I still have it now, was when I was in high school. Ken Griffey Jr. came and he gave me an autographed bat.

RM: Who was the real deal in comic books?

CC: Superman, I guess. But you know, I didn't spend time reading too much of comic books. Where I was raised, it was more about real life than it was that type of fantasy.

RM: Which is the coolest miracle performed by Jesus Christ?

CC: To me, the coolest was when he made the blind man see. For some reason, I've always been fascinated by that. Imagine, you can't see and now you're seeing again. I think that's one of the best things that could ever happen to someone. Now, you have perspective on life.

RM: What about the resurrection?

CC: Yeah, that was pretty tight, come to think of it. ... Yeah, that was good, wasn't it?

RM: Which Grammy Award dress did you prefer, Toni Braxton's or Jennifer Lopez's?

CC: I liked Toni Braxton's dress better. Man, those are some legs.

RM: Would you want your girl to go out looking like that?

CC: No. Not unless she was going to the Grammys. You're going to the Grammys, you can wear what you want. Otherwise, she can't wear that.

RM: Pepsi or Coke?

CC: Coke. RM: Playstation or Sega Dreamcast?

CC: I don't play either one. I don't really play video games because I'm not that good at it. I just never could catch on to it. The guys in here are always playing and they are really into it. But not me.

RM: What's important to you?

CC: I want to make strides every year and get to my goal to make it to the major leagues. I want to work hard and go hard at it every day and make sure I reach the goal. You know, this wasn't something I dreamed about as a little kid, but as I got a little older, I realized that I can have a future in this.

RM: What do you want on your tombstone?

CC: It should say, "Here lies a hard-living man, who lived his life to the fullest."

RM: Which Shakespeare play do you like the most?

CC: Hamlet. I don't know why I liked that. I guess the whole thing about the ghost coming back to let people know what really went down. I always thought that if something bad happened, then a ghost should come back and tell you what happened. That was just one of the plays I paid attention to.

RM: You ever wondered why Scooby and Shaggy always went the other way?

CC: Yeah! I could never understand that. I used to watch it and say, "Why ya'll going that way and not staying with the rest of the group." Man, they were the two most easily scared in the group, but they always ended up going off by themselves. I guess it kept people watching the show.

RM: You watch a lot of television?

CC: Not really. ESPN or BET, that's about it. After Martin was cut off, I stopped watching it. Martin was my show. If we missed an episode, we would be so mad. My favorite character was Jerome, the old school dude.

RM: When are you going to be in the major leagues?

CC: No later than 2003. I'll be fully developed then. Not looking to go back to Triple A. There to stay.

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