Barack Obama will sit down for a beer on Thursday with Officer Crowley and Professor Gates. Nick Markakis may want to consider doing the same thing with Carl Crawford.
Granted, Markakis and Crawford don’t have a disagreement to settle like Crowley and Gates.
And there’s no Obama in this scenario looking to benefit from a well-orchestrated photo op. Heck, the two outfielders could sit down in the middle of the ESPN studio without anyone bothering them, except possibly to ask for a Red Sox or Yankees score update.
Rather, the players should get together to shed tears in their respective beers as they consider the same question that the Black Eyed Peas have been asking since 2003: “Where is the Love?”
More after the jump.
I’ve remarked since his rookie year that Markakis is under-appreciated. And while I read articles early in Crawford’s career stating that the outfielder was a fantasy baseball “steal” (no pun intended), I’ve only recently come to recognize just how overlooked he too has been.
Articles that have been written about Crawford since the All-Star Game (you may have heard that he was the MVP) show that he operates in the same A.L. East shadows as Markakis, especially when it comes to defensive performance.
Consider this Yahoo! Sports article following the Midsummer Classic.
Making his third All-Star appearance, Crawford was elected by his fellow players as a reserve. He came off the bench as a pinch hitter in the fifth and singled his first time up before finishing 1 for 3.
Statistics show Crawford is one of the best defensive outfielders in baseball. But curiously, he’s never won a Gold Glove.
This could be the catch that clinches one.
Then there’s the July 27 Sports Illustrated article “The Running Man” that echoes this sentiment about Crawford’s defensive prowess.
Dude can also hit; according to Baseball-Reference.com, the 27-year-old Crawford is most statistically similar to Roberto Clemente at the same age. He plays Gold Glove–caliber defense, too, though in his eight major league seasons he has never won a Gold Glove. (“He closes on balls faster than anyone,” says Blue Jays centerfielder Vernon Wells. “That he doesn’t have one is an injustice.”)
Markakis, as well as O’s fans, can relate to statements like “curiously, he’s never won a Gold Glove” and “He plays Gold-Glove caliber defense … he has never won a Gold Glove” (For the fans perspective, see Weaver’s Tantrum and Dempsey’s Army.)
Nevertheless, Crawford is creeping closer to the spotlight, and his example is one that Markakis will hopefully soon follow. The path to center stage leads through the All-Star Game and the playoffs.
There’s also the regular season’s big stages – Boston and New York – but Markakis already knows how to handle those.
Just check his line from last week’s consecutive series with the Yankees and Red Sox: .370 (average and OBP), 3 home runs, 7 RBIs and one ticket to the gun show issued to Jacoby Ellsbury – assist number 11 of the season, if you’re counting (and O’s fans are).