The Continuous Learning Curve – Brandon Crawford

One thing you keep learning in this game is how important it is to wipe your memory clean of failures and move on. I guess it’s not exactly making a failure disappear – because, guess what, it happened. You can’t change that. So maybe it’s more that you put a fence around it to keep it from creeping into the next game.

On our recent series in Colorado, I had a really bad game. One of my worst in the last few months. I hit a line drive up the middle that the pitcher snagged. Then I had a pretty good ground ball down the third-base line that the third-baseman dove for and gloved then stepped on the bag for a force-out. (Luckily Bumgarner picked me up with his three-run homer.) Then I struck out twice. And to cap off the awful day, I threw the ball over Belt’s head and five rows up in the seats.

Infield coach Ron Wotus came up to me after the game.

“You’re going to have a game like that,’’ he said. “You’ve been playing great for three months. You’re bound to have a game like that. Don’t worry about it.’’

After I got dressed and was about to leave the clubhouse, Bochy stopped me.

“You’re playing tomorrow,’’ he said, which surprised me because I knew a lefty was pitching. Usually Arias plays against lefties.

It’s one of the things that makes Bochy such a good manager. He wanted me to get right back out on the field. He wanted to make sure I knew he had confidence in me.

Sure enough, the next day I went two-for-four with two doubles and two RBIs and no errors.

Playing baseball, because it’s an almost daily thing, gives you a lot of practice in not letting your mistakes drag you down. Probably a pretty good approach to a lot of things in life.

Things are heating up around here, and not just because we’re trying to clinch the division. If you walked into our clubhouse on a Sunday, you’d see a bunch of NFL fanatics yelling at the television. About half the team is part of a fantasy football league. It’s a pretty steep entry fee, so Belt and I didn’t sign up. We’re both in another fantasy league together that’s made up mostly of our friends and a few minor-leaguers. (And I’m in yet another league with Jalynne’s family.)

The Giants guys wanted 12 teams and only 10 signed up – Theriot, Romo, Wilson, Pence, Lincecum, Huff, trainer Dave Groeschner, Dr. Akizuki (the team orthopedist), Kuiper and Fleming co-own a team, and Nady and Pill co-own a team.

So Cain sponsored Belt, and Javy Lopez sponsored me. They’re the owners; we’re the general managers. We had our draft in Chicago during the recent road trip. After a day game, we rented a conference room in the hotel and set up a big board to record the picks. Romo is the commissioner, and he inputted everything into his laptop. Theriot brought jerseys of the predicted No.1 picks and whoever drafted that player put on the jersey like the real NFL draft.

Last Sunday, I beat Theriot in our head-to-head. So I’m feeling pretty good.

Now to your questions.

Jojibear93 wants to know why I wear No. 35. Murph gave it to me. My favorite number has always been three, but that was Bill Terry’s number and it’s retired. I like 35. It was Rich Aurilia’s number, so I think it’s a good fit. If I had to choose, I’d probably pick 26. It’s Jalynne’s favorite number because her birthday is on the 26th. Just by luck I had that number a few years ago in the fall league.

Rebecca asked if I read the newspapers and keep up on what’s being said about me. I’m on Twitter and follow some of the local writers, so I see stories that way. On Twitter I also follow players I’ve played with and a few celebrities like Taylor Swift and Li’l Wayne. Li’l Wayne is one of my favorites, and I met him on our road trip to Miami this season. Theriot knows someone who knows him and got him to visit the clubhouse.

That’s all for now. Thanks for reading and sending in your questions.

See you at the park.

-Brandon C.

14 Comments

You should hear what Kruk and Kuip are saying about your defense! And hey, your offense is really picking up. I’m always happy to see you out there, and i wish you all the luck in the world. I have a little crush on you, but I’m a 70 year old grandma so I will probably love your little girl too.

If a batter goes up to the plate with the idea that he’s going to hit the first decent pitch that comes across the plate, how come so many MLB hitters take so many pitches that are right down the middle and begging to be hit? Aren’t they ready? And if not, why not?

Hey Brandon,

My wife and I are big fans and have been since you joined the team. We always feel like you don’t get the recognition or play time that you deserve. Anyway I am a business adviser to a new social media company (think Twitter in its early days) that focuses on enhancing the experience of sports fans and wanted to send you some info about it to see if you might be interested in getting involved. Rather than go into it in a public forum, I was hoping I might be able to send you and/or Brandon Belt some info about it directly. What would be the best way to send it to you? My preference would be via email so if you wanted to shoot me an email at reallaw@gmail.com, I could email it to you. I promise to keep your info private.

Hope you have a great game tonight.

Go Giants!

Alex

So if you win, all the money is going to go to Lopez?!? Or will you get a cut for being the GM?

I love your blogs, please keep doing them! My question for you is what is your walk-up song, if you have one? And I didn’t know you had a twitter, just followed you. Good luck for the rest of the season!

Thanks again for sharing, I’m really enjoying reading about your lives and thoughts.

Both of you have been doing great on your contact rates, avoiding the strikeouts, so keep up the good work! It has been very exciting to see the both of you blossom on the baseball field, both offensively as well as defensively.

Bcraw: have you always played SS your whole life or have you played significant time at another position (like how Pablo used to be a SS because Vizquel was a SS).

Belt: lot of people seem to think that you would have a hard time adjusting to playing in the outfield, but that was what you used to play in high school, if memory serves. But which position did you used to play? LF, RF, or both? (CF???) How would you rate yourself on how well you played that position back then?

Good luck and have a lot of fun!!!!

Go Giants!!!

What is your favorite park to play at besides AT&T and what park do you think has the best hitting background? Also do you prefer facing more of a breaking ball pitcher like Zito or a hard throwing fastball pitcher?

I agree 100% with Wotus. Good advice. And I continue to be impressed at Bochy’s managing decisions. He’s got a good head on his shoulders. ‘Looks like Timmy was pretty pissed to be pulled from the game yesterday, but he was losing a little control. More importantly, he had an excellent 6 innings and needs to pace himself and his arm through October, if that’s what it comes down to. I’m sure Bochy is well aware of potential injuries this late in the season. It’s good to see him rotating players around so everyone gets rest. Impressive. Also impressive that he came up to you after the rough game you had and told you that you were playing the next day, So much of the game is psychological, like you said – put a fence around it and put it aside (I put things in a box and put them aside mentally – same difference.) :0) Seems like Bochy doesn’t want any of those “human” baseball errors to get into your head. Excellent call on his part. Those of us watching you are amazed. You are truly Golden Glove material, Brandon. You have a great future ahead of you in baseball. I hope it’s spent here in San Francisco. :0)

I just read the other posts – you’re having a little girl?!! Congratulations! Very sweet. She’s gonna be daddy’s little girl, you just know it. Keep us posted in the off-season if you can!

See you at Sunday’s game. So happy to see you all making the dream come true.

Polynesian Night was a success, glad that we got to perform and share our culture dancing with fans:) I do agree with you about trying to forget the mistakes :( but you always managed to find your way back and do things 10x’s better than the last, so don’t beat yourself up about it :) Congrats again to you and Jaylyne on having a baby girl. We are all ecstatic about you both becoming parents! CHEEEEEHOOOO :)

-Island Gurl

I can’t imagine the FF buy-in, it was $20 at my office and we had people complain about that! I’d ask about the team names, but I’m guessing they aren’t PG or PC enough to share…

We do fantasy football and baseball. And the $ would be nice, but winning is most important. Especially beating my husband! Two rules in baseball. One- no Giants on our teams, a superstition based on bad experiences (our apologies to Buster 2011 and Timmy August 2010!) Two- we will always pull for the Giants, even if it means a fantasy baseball loss.

Good luck to you and Javy, though my money is on Dr. Akizuki- don’t you figure he has some inside connections on injury reports? :)

Question!!! What felt more surreal–getting to close a perfect game, or clinching the division?

Hi Brandon –

Congrats to you and the rest of the Giants for winning the West! Fantastic! Funny you should say that the Giants are playing fantasy football. A recent blog by one of the 49er players says they have been playing fantasy baseball!…..JK..JK. I really liked your comment about how lessons you learn as a baseball player can be applied to other aspects of life…that is SO true. Your attitudes towards success and failure, the importance of teamwork and team chemistry can all be applied to other professions and life in general.

I’ve also enjoyed watching your improvement as a hitter this year. I have a question for you. Does facing the Giants’ pitching machine in the batting cage help a lot with learning to hit curve balls, sliders and other breaking pitches? Years ago, pitching machines could only throw fastballs with nothing on it. However, I guess the modern machines can throw breaking pitches which COULD be a big help to the hitters if the machine has good control. But if the machine is erratic, then it may not be helpful. How is the Giants’ machine? Does it have good control? Does it help you a lot?

It goes without saying, I wish you all the best for the rest of this season, and the post-season! Also, I hope you enjoy living in Walnut Creek….I grew up there. And, it is only a stone’s throw from your ol’ stomping ground in Pleasanton!

Will

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