The Art of the Double Play – Brandon Crawford

Seems like a good time to write about double plays.

There are few things in baseball more fun than being part of a great double play. Manny and I had one the other day in New York that’s gotten a lot of attention. Manny did the hard part – going far to his right and flipping the ball perfectly straight from his glove back to me at the bag. I caught it barehanded and threw to first.

I know those kinds of plays look completely improvised, and they are to a certain extent. No two situations are exactly the same. But we practice it. Not often. But every now and then during BP, when there’s a ground ball up the middle, we’ll do a glove-flip kind of play just so we know we have it.

Manny and I are good friends off the field, so we have a lot of fun out there. He’s been kind of a mentor to me since I met him in Arizona right after I was drafted. I was in the instructional league and he was getting ready for the fall league. Then when I went to my first spring training the following year, he was there and told me what I should do, what the coaches are looking for, that sort of thing.

The first time we were actually on the same team was last year. We were both assigned to Triple A Fresno coming out of spring training. But then I got hurt and missed five to six weeks and went to Single A San Jose to do my rehab. Then I was called up to San Francisco, and we were in the big leagues together but of course not playing much.

Then we were sent to Fresno and spent the month of August playing together almost every day. The double plays became almost like dance steps. We know what the other’s going to do and where he’s going to be. Manny told reporters after the game in New York that he didn’t think twice about flipping the ball because he knew I’d be there.

We know each other well enough, too, to say what need’s saying. “Hey, forget about the at-bat,’’ he or I might say. “Let’s go play defense.’’

It’s also been great getting to know Ryan Theriot, who’s a really funny guy. We got to know each other in spring training and worked on our communication and timing. There was a play early in the season in Arizona with a ball hit over second base. Ryan started for it and was almost to the ball when I called him off. He immediately hit the dirt so the ball bounced over him. I fielded it cleanly behind second base and got the runner at first. I knew it was an easier play for me going toward first. And as soon as I called it, Ryan didn’t hesitate to get out of the way and let it go. But that doesn’t happen if you have worked on plays like that and come to trust each other.

Heading to the ballpark now. Feel free to leave questions and I’ll try to answer them next time.

See you Friday in San Francisco.

 

-Brandon C.

12 Comments

Hey Brandon- love reading these blogs and you’re playing awesome baseball. How was playing the double header and then again the next day after a late night? Would also love to read a blog (either from your or belt) about how you interact with the fans and personal experiences there. Keep up the great work!!

do you prefer to be called crawfish, or crawdaddy?

how much of a punk is votto?

why doesnt your dad like to be on cam?

how annoying is baggs?

Brandon, you are a beast sir! Keep up the great work! This was easily one of the best plays i have seen in a long time! How is your arm after taking that big fall yesterday?

Besides Manny, who else are you closest too on the team?

As a fellow bay area kid goin to school at UCLA, I’m a big fan, craw. Loving the strides you’ve made at the plate, keep doin your thing. Still keep up with UCLA ball?

Love the blog! You guys are doing great! How do you guys learn to have that kind of trust and communication with each other?

How do you guys learn to have that kind of trust and communication?

Your footwork on the field is amazing. If I was 30 years younger and needed a dancing partner, you would be getting a call. Have you ever had dancing experience or lessons? Where did you learn your footwork skills? Congratulations on your success as SS, best to you in the future.

Hey Brandon-these blogs are great. I was priviledged to be at ST this year for a few days and got pictures and autographs from both you and BB. Y’all are fantastic players and were super nice to me and my girlfriends. I was also sitting right behind the little boy that you gave your bat to at Giants/Dodgers game. That was totally awesome and I haven’t seen as happy a little boy in a very long time. I know how hard it was for me to get acclemated to the time change from ATL to AZ and on the return, how do y’all handle that? I mean, how are y’all able to actually play a such a physical game and stay productive with jet lag? Hats off to you guys and what you sacrifice for your fans. Thanks and keep up the great work. Look forward to seeing y’all here in Atlanta in July–it will be fantastic!!! I am a true G.R.I.T.S (not girl raised in the south), but a GIANT RAISED IN THE SOUTH!!!

What does it mean to the players in general–and specifically you–when you see Giants fans in the stands all over the country and not just in SF? I personally LOVE going to your games in Philly (since I’m from NJ) and drawing the attention of all the Phillies fans. Seeing the games in Philly has given me amazing opportunities to interact with the players…something I’m extremely thankful for!(: Good luck tonight!

Hi Brandon!
I love reading this blog! You and Brandon Belt are really great writers and have very interesting things to say. I love hearing from you, the players. We hear a lot from reporters, but it’s really cool to get a view of the game from a player’s perspective. I have a question for you: What do you think about right after you’ve made an out offensively? How do you stay positive?
Thanks for writing! Keep up the good work! Looking forward to seeing more double plays from you and Manny! :)

Brandon –
Love the Brandon blog! I watched u play while at UCLA (huge Bruin fan) and sport my Crawford jersey as often as possible. You seem to have managed to maintain a pretty level head through the last year. Looking back – I’m curious what advise u would give to the 11 year old Brandon, or to any 11 year old, that looks up to you and hope to be in ur shoes one day. Ur exciting as hell to watch – keep up the hard work!

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