I remember the days leading up to Coco’s Boston debut. There were the commercials, the interviews, the T-shirts, the “cuckoo for Coco” jokes, the one-act play featuring Nathan Lane as “Young Coco”, the epic poem that was unearthed in a South American cave that linked Coco to the space program, etc. It was Coco’s world; the rest of us were just renting space.

Then he broke his finger. And the wheels kinda fell off from there.

Now he’s understandably frustrated, because we’ve got Jacoby Ellsbury, who could yet prove a flash-in-the-pan but certainly has our attention after last year’s postseason performance. If The Ells’ coverboy status hadn’t been cemented during last year’s title run, that final catch Coco made to close out the 2007 ALCS would be a local highlight on par with Fisk’s home run or Tek leaping into Keith Foulke’s arms. Instead, it was kinda like… “Sweet. We won. Now get the cameras on the rookies!”

It’s a sentiment that’s not lost on Covelli. And a piece in today’s Herald shows that Coco probably ain’t gonna go gentle into that good bench:

“Why would you want to sit on the bench? Why would you want to do that?” Crisp said. “I want to play. It’s just a matter of getting out there and having to reprove yourself (this spring). It’s kind of bogus.”

“I know, and I think the team knows, that I went out there and played hurt last year,” he said. “Not to be rewarded with an actual opportunity to help, it kind of hurts.”

“It’s very simple. If (Ellsbury) makes the team and he starts, then hopefully they can find a place for me elsewhere,” said Crisp. “If they can’t, then we’ll have to deal with the situation. I’m not going to be happy about it, but I’m not going to be an (expletive). It’s still a game. It’s still fun. But I’d rather be out there playing.”

Theo’s still choosing his words very carefully, saying in that article that Coco’s status as the incumbent will “guarantee him a chance” (emphasis mine) to start, but that ultimately, it will all come down to performance. Just like any good North Shore chick would say.