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Original Issue

Coco Crisp


On his Sox baptism and adjusting to new teammates like David (the Milkman) Ortiz (left)

I haven't had time to sit and really talk to everyone, but everyone's been cool. I like how the front office is in your face a bit. I see [G.M.] Theo Epstein all the time. As for the team, I'll just sit back and listen. Josh Beckett is new, too, so I'll put him on the spot--say how funny he is before an interview so he has to come up with something good.

On his name

My real first name is Covelli, but my great-grandmother [Wilda Smith] called me Co. She would be like, "Come here, Co." Growing up, we used to have Cocoa Krispies cereal in the house, so my sister and godbrother figured out they could make fun of me. The box had that monkey on it with the big ears, and when I was a kid I had a little head with huge protruding ears. Once I got into Double A, they asked me to write my nickname on a questionnaire. I wrote COCO. The next game it was up on the scoreboard.

On living next to Hermosa Beach

Every time I see sand it represents work to me. People are out there in their bikinis and playing Frisbee and swimming in the ocean, but I do my sprints and conditioning there during the off-season.

On his father Loyce's boxing career

He was unbelievable as an amateur. He was called Sugar. Sugar Crisp. He likes to tell about his first pro fight when he was 19. He had it won easily, so he started clowning and looking at his family in the stands. Then he got caught with an overhand right. He said he went down so hard his legs went above his head. When he looked up at the lights above the ring all he could see were hamburgers twirling around. That's when he decided that boxing wasn't for him.

On where he gets his speed

My mother [née Pamela Newton] was the fastest woman in California coming out of high school, but my grandfather was training her for the junior Olympics and pushed her so hard she gave up. It's hard when your dad is telling you to run up hills until you throw up. My grandfather [Milton Newton] actually invented the style of starting blocks used in the Olympics. He's in the Masters Hall of Fame for track and field.

On his sister Sheileah's figure skating career

She was going to the 2002 nationals when she broke her ankle. So she turned pro. She does shows like Ebony on Ice.

On his skating prowess

I can do a waltz jump. I can skate backward. But I'm not graceful. On the ground I can do a double Axel no problem.

On his infant girl's name, Amailee

We were watching Harry Potter, and the girl's name is Hermione. We thought they were saying Amailee. I wrote it down because my wife, Maria, was pregnant. When the credits rolled, we realized we were way off, but Amailee stuck. We even liked it more since it was different than the movie.



photograph by Gary Bogdon