STEVE HERRICK, Associated Press
Coco Crisp’s return to Cleveland moved him from last place to first and brought him back to where he began his career.
Cleveland acquired Crisp from Oakland for a minor leaguer Wednesday. The Indians lead the AL Central while the Athletics are last in the West — but the trade means much more to the switch-hitting outfielder.
The 36-year-old Crisp is returning to the team he broke into the majors with in 2002, a day he says, “seems like it was just yesterday.” He remembers where his old locker was located and where his former teammates had their lockers.
Crisp arrived at Progressive Field at 11:30 a.m. Friday for the Indians’ night game against Miami.
“Coming back in here and not feeling out of place is great,” he said. “You walk in here and you’re familiar with the way the clubhouse is laid out, where everything’s at. It’s not like I have to walk around here and search out new areas.”
Crisp is even staying at the same hotel in downtown Cleveland he lived in when he was first joined the Indians, which brought back another memory.
“There was a guy out front who said, ‘as it should be,’ Crisp said. “Every time I left the hotel he’d open up the door and he’d say that to me. I’m back there again, just like when I got called up. The only bad part is that guy’s not there. I wanted to know what he’s saying nowadays. I kind of miss that guy.”
Crisp had no idea at the time what those wise words meant, but may have finally figured it out 14 years later.
“Being older I can probably make some sense out of it,” he said. “I’m here and this is exactly where you’re supposed to be. Everything is how it should be.”
Crisp is feeling like a rookie again. The Indians have led the division since June 4 and own the second-best record in the AL.
“This is a special case in its own because they’re playing so well — I should say we now,” he said. “To be involved in a playoff run and a team that’s playing so well like this is special, especially coming from a team that hasn’t done so well this year. It brings a little bit of light to this year for me.”
Crisp batted .234 with 11 homers and 47 RBIs in 102 games with Oakland.