Baseball, Family-Style – Brandon Crawford

My blog mate shared his first baseball memory yesterday so it’s my turn. I can’t believe Belt can remember back to when he was three! That’s crazy.

My first memory is pretty fuzzy. I’ve been told I started swinging a bat and throwing a ball as soon as I could walk. But I don’t remember anything before I was about five. I remember a plastic bat, the kind with the big fat barrel. My dad was pitching to me in the back yard of our house in Menlo Park, where we lived before moving to Pleasanton when I was seven.

Unlike Belt’s dad, mine loved baseball. He grew up playing the game, and I’m sure he couldn’t wait to have kids so he could coach them – which he did, all four of us, starting with me, the oldest. (He still coaches my youngest sister’s softball team.) He was a passionate enough fan to have Giants’ season tickets (third-base side) when they played at Candlestick. I remember watching J.T. Snow hit a home run in the playoff game against the Mets in 2000 and getting to walk on the field at the second-to-last game at the ‘Stick.

          But back to my early memories. I remember when I was seven, I regularly hit the wiffle ball over our fence and into the next-door-neighbor’s yard. My mom or dad would walk me over to their house and ask for permission to retrieve the ball. I remember setting up home plate by the work shed so I wouldn’t trample my parents’ flowerbeds and their plantings of tomatoes and green beans.

          We had a bigger yard in Pleasanton with an ivy-covered hill rising behind the back fence. If the ball landed in the ivy, you had a home run. Home plate was by the back patio. We set up a barricade of lawn chairs to prevent the pitches from hitting the house. First base was the corner of the steps that led up the ivy hill. Second was a bush and third was a pitch of dirt.

          I’d play with friends from school or one-on-one against my sister Amy, who’s two years younger than me and a great softball player.

          On the weekends, my dad took my sisters and me to a real field and with a real ball and bat. He taught us everything. As I said, he coached my teams up until I was 13 and started high school. But he was still my de facto coach, giving me critiques and advice after games.

          It really wasn’t until I signed with the Giants after UCLA that he let go of his coaching role in my life. He figured as a professional I was probably getting all the coaching I needed. But I still ask for his feedback. He has seen my swing more than anyone alive, so he’ll tell me I’m getting my foot down late or my hands are getting back too deep or I’m not being aggressive enough.

          I know baseball will always be a connection I have with my dad. It gave us a reason to spend a lot of time together. But when I think about my earliest memories of baseball, it’s more as a family experience than as a father-son one. My dad put in the same time with my three sisters as he did with me. He took their athletic goals just as seriously as he did mine. He had us all out there together.

One day soon I’ll be out there playing catch with my own son or daughter. I’ll be putting a fat-barreled plastic bat into little hands. I’ll be tossing wiffle balls softly over the plate, cheering at even the wildest misses. And new memories will be made. 

 

-Brandon C.

11 Comments

Great read – baseball is one of the the only things me and my dad connect on so going to a Giants game with him is the one of my favorite things to do. We’ve had a lot of great memories because of it! Good luck at the game tonight!

Great baseball story. You are blessed to have a wonderful Dad. One of my fondest memories of my Dad is sitting watching the Yankees play. I was to young to understand much except my Dad was cheering for the Yankees and so was I. Now that I think about it, out of the 6 children in the family I was the only one sitting with him.

It’s nice to read that your dad put equal time into your sisters’ athletic goals as he did yours. Neither of my parents like baseball, so what little baseball education I received as a child came from my older brother, which is why I was terrible at fielding — my brother is left-handed and I’m right-handed, so I caught with my dominant hand and threw with my wimpy, uncoordinated left hand (also one of the many reasons my softball career lasted all of two summers).

Thats awesome! I remember playing with an orange fat barreled plastic bat, and when I hit a home run it would go into woods behind my house, and it was impossible to get the ball back without getting scratched up. Needless to say, I goth scratched up pretty bad.
-Austin from nybisons
nybisons.mlblogs.com

Brandon! just wanted to thank you two for this blog. It’s always really cool to get to know a little about you guys. Baseball was a family thing for us, too. My dad coached Little League with my brother and now my nephew is turning into a really good pitcher (He is 14). I remember my dad playing catch with my brother and teaching me how to field ground balls and zing them back to him in our backyard. My dad teaching me how to hit, how to throw. He’d throw an groundball which I would field cleanly or if I didn’t I would scramble for and he would give me a running dialogue of where the runner was on the basepaths as I scrambled. I always got the guy at homeplate!! Wonderful memories. Baseball was always on the radio when I was growing up. My Mom was an avid Dodger fan, but she used to listen to Giants games, too. I know it was because she liked to listen to the Giants play badly (which in the mid 70s happened quite frequently as I’m sure your dad can attest to.) Being of a soft-hearted nature I think I felt sorry for them and it was how I became a Giants fan, listening to Lon Simmons in the 70s. You shared a few memories so I thought I would share a few, also.

You play a wonderful SS and I have every confidence in the world that you will be wonderful out there making great plays for years to come. Your grand slam in your first game last year against the Brewers lifted both the team and the fans out of the gloom of Buster’s injury and reminded us that even after a devasting injury; joy was still possible. I don’t think I will ever forget that. Thank you.

Brandon! just wanted to thank you two for this blog. It’s always really cool to get to know a little about you guys. Baseball was a family thing for us, too. My dad coached Little League with my brother and now my nephew is turning into a really good pitcher (He is 14). I remember my dad playing catch with my brother and teaching me how to field ground balls and zing them back to him in our backyard. My dad teaching me how to hit, how to throw. He’d throw a groundball which I would field cleanly or if I didn’t I would scramble for and he would give me a running dialogue of where the runner was on the basepaths as I scrambled. I always got the guy at homeplate!! Wonderful memories. Baseball was always on the radio when I was growing up. My Mom was an avid Dodger fan, but she used to listen to Giants games, too. I know it was because she liked to listen to the Giants play badly (which in the mid 70s happened quite frequently as I’m sure your dad can attest to.) Being of a soft-hearted nature I think I felt sorry for them and it was how I became a Giants fan, listening to Lon Simmons in the 70s. You shared a few memories so I thought I would share a few, also.

You play a wonderful SS and I have every confidence in the world that you will be wonderful out there making great plays for years to come. Your grand slam in your first game last year against the Brewers lifted both the team and the fans out of the gloom of Buster’s injury and reminded us that even after a devastating injury; joy was still possible. I don’t think I will ever forget that. Thank you.

This makes me think of when my dad and mom and brother and I all play ball in the front yard!

I was wondering (this is for both Brandons), what is a good way to deal with putting mistakes behind you? This year for my high school softball team, I ended up starting at second as a freshman because our regular starter was hurt. I made several errors, and I would stress about them all the time- after the game, at night, at school the next day, ect. How do you put those mistakes behind you?

Thanks for sharing the memories Crawford! I love the all american nature of baseball. It’s simply just a beautiful sport. And I love your Snow mention. I’m still obsessed with him and wear my #6 jersey to every single game I attend.

A blog idea for both of you- how you met your wives and to tie it into baseball how they’ve supported your journey. I follow both Haylee and Jalynne on Twitter and they are two awesome people! :)

Thanks again, great sweep and GO GIANTS!

Brandons! What was the draft experience like for you? Did you know you were going to be drafted? Or were you nervous/unsure about whether you’d get picked? How’d you feel when you found out you’d been drafted by a major league team?

I can imagine every baseball player have a similar story to yours. For us who grew up in the island (samoa), baseball was one of the famous sport that was more competitive just as much as football. My bestfriend who lived across the waters from me had a similar experience! When the tide was low we would all watch them both do batting practice and grounders (on the beach). Pretty dedicated!!! Now he’s not playing anymore because no one notice the talent. It’s all good though.

I hope some day we see an islander play baseball. Thanks for sharing your experience.

-Island Girl

Hello, my name is Emma Morris. I am a S.F. Giants fan and an upcoming artist. I saw you on a interview of Comcast Sports Net tonight. They had you answering questions that fans and players had. You mentioned your personal blog website. I drew a couple of portraits of you. I was wondering if you wanted to check them out. I voted for you as an All-Star. Anyways hope you and the Giants have a great season this year!

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