Dealing With Failure – Brandon Crawford

I can’t explain last Thursday’s game against the Marlins. My at-bats were bad. My defense was bad – two errors. It was a bad day all round.

The first grounder of the game, from Marlins’ leadoff hitter Jose Reyes, went between my legs. It was hit hard on wet grass and it kind of skipped, but it’s a play I always make. It’s a play I HAVE to make. This is the big leagues. Missing a ball like that isn’t OK on any level. Reyes ended up scoring. So my error cost us a run. And we lost by a run.

For the first time ever in my baseball career, I felt a little crack in my confidence. It’s something I have never experienced. I’ve made two errors in a game before. But never like on Thursday where I just completely missed the ball and didn’t know why.

And confidence is such a huge thing in baseball. It’s way bigger than the physical side. You have to be confident that you’re going to make every play.

So I had a blunt conversation with infield coach Ron Wotus, who has seen it all and does not sugarcoat anything. And Bochy told me he was going to sit me Friday and Saturday. I came early to the park the next few days and took lots of extra infield practice. Wotus hit balls at me and we worked on basics like eye-hand coordination — kind of reloading on muscle memory.

On Friday, the day after my bad game, Matt Cain pulled me aside to remind me that everyone has down times. As a pitcher, he said, he knows he’s going to have bad starts. That’s baseball. He said everyone knows I’m a good player and I should never doubt myself. It was a really nice thing for him to do, and helpful, too.

Friday was also the day of the team meeting. I know it wasn’t directed just at me, but it was great to hear the veterans say they have confidence in the younger guys even if we’re struggling right now.

In some ways it was good to have those two days off to regroup. But I couldn’t wait to get back out there, too. I started on Sunday, and I was really glad to get a grounder in the first inning. It was like, “OK, you’re off to a good start. Back to normal.’’

As a player in the major leagues, it’s not that you’re embarrassed about errors as much as you’re frustrated. You feel bad for letting your team down. At this level, it’s not about yourself and how a mistake reflects on you personally. It’s about the team and about winning and losing. If you cost the team a win, you take it hard.

At the same time, you have to let it go. It’s a tricky thing sometimes. When I was younger, I’d hold onto mistakes. But as I’ve gotten older I’ve gotten better at putting them behind me and moving forward, taking each game pitch by pitch. You can’t let failure defeat you. This game will crush you if you do.

-Brandon C.

14 Comments

Your honesty is refreshing…and takes courage and humility. You’re a real asset to our team. Would very much like to see you start taking AB’s with a specific plan in mind each time.

Your fans are behind you Brandon……we do realize that you guys are human and I think sometimes y’all need to be reminded of that. It’s impossible for me to imagine the type of pressure you guys are under to perform……Keep your head up and remember: TOGETHER, WE ARE GIANT. A Giant and Brandon Crawford fan in ATL!!!

Brandon –
Always remember the last 2 lines in your blog post! Confidence is key and a fine line but just remember that if you ever feel like its starting to crack you have teammates and fans to help you put that crack back together!
Keep up the hard work – some of us out here believe in you 100%!

I agree with Matt. Even the great ones have down time and go through slumps. You hang in there. Don’t EVER doubt yourself. You made it to the Big Leagues for a reason. A lot of players will never see the Bigs. Things will turn around, maybe sooner, maybe later, but it WILL turn around. Believe in yourself and relax a bit. The season is young. My family will be cheering for you!

You’ll get it back, Brandon. Confidence is key. You and the rest of the team have the confidence of Giants fans in your corner. We know you guys can pull it out. Shake it off, and set your eyes on the next contest.

Brandon you are such a great fielder you could tell that from your first game @ the Brewers last year. It is hard when you doubt yourself and I really that you had people you could talk. I know that your hitting will come around because you’ve got a good and patient batting eye. Just believe in yourself and even though things are rocky now I see future gold in your glove.

Brandon I admire and respect your honesty. You are a great fielder you could see that even from the first game against the Brewers last year. It is hard when you doubt yourself and cant explain why something happened the way they did. But you havent backed down from failure you’ve met it head on to get past it. Never doubt your abilities. Your hitting will come back around because you have a good and patient batting eye. Even though you have been going through a rocky patch I see future gold in your glove. Thanks for the blogging and the honesty.

You’re awesome, BCraw. I missed seeing you play on Friday (5/4) but am glad you had a few days to get your mind clear :)

Brandon, I would like to share a little story with you and I hope you will see the comparison. Our youngest son lost his beautiful daughter to Leukemia at age 3 1/2 years. She was in and out of the hospital in San Diego for 1 1/2 years. I asked him once how he managed to get up each day and go to work, spend nights at the hospital with his daughter, help with his older stepson’s little league team and continue on with his life. He says to me, “Mom I get up in the morning, put one foot in front of the other and just keep going”. You can do this Brandon, you are a fascinating athlete and a joy to watch. We are cheering for you. My son and myself.

Watching the Giants win games is great, but the real fun is watching how you play shortstop. Keep taking risks. Don’t worry about making the occasional error. You have already made some truly amazing plays that gave us fans some real thrills. Thanks for adding some extra excitement to Giants games!

Beautiful game, Brandon, tonight, Beautiful!!!

You are such a talented player, keep it up and don’t let your confidence slip. I love watching you out there, you’re my favorite. Everyone is rooting for you! One bad day is nothing. Keep doing what you’re doing.
–Jenna

When Shawon Dunston was a rookie he made 17 errors in 73 games,
His sophomore season he made 32 errors in 143 games.
Last year Starlin Castro made 29 errors (following a year with 27)..
Young shortstops make a ton of errors, they always have.

Bcraw, it could’ve been anyone! Honestly, Cain taking the time out to give you that pep talk is just refreshing to hear. As a fan, that’s important to know that your teammates got your back. Your not only a great SS for the Giants, but a Humble one overall. This 2012 season is yours for the taking. The cheering sounds from the fans will always be your MOTIVATION, and CONFIDENCE BOOST, as is when we see all of you guys giving your all on the field. BECAUSE WE HAVE FAITH in you and all Giants players!!!

-Island Girl

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