New Baby, New House, New Season – Brandon Crawford
It rained all day today but that doesn’t mean we didn’t work out. We took turns in the batting cages and weight room and most of us got finished a little bit earlier than usual. I just got back to the clubhouse so I’ll catch you up on the off-season and the start of spring training.
As you probably know, we had a baby December 18th, a girl we named Braylyn. It’s a name we decided on two years ago — a combination of both our names. (We had a boy’s name, too: Jaydon.) Braylyn did not arrive easily. A week after the due date, Jalynne was induced but after two days she had to undergo a C-section. Braylyn had a little cone head from trying to come out but it went away after a day.
Braylyn is two months old now and smiling and even kind of laughing once in a while. She’s already developing a personality. And for the past week and a half she has been sleeping through the night. I have become very quick and dexterous at changing diapers. Who knew that fielding all those grounders would prepare me so well for fatherhood?
We recently bought our first house. It’s here in the Scottsdale area – a four-bedroom place with a yard and a pool that costs about half of what it would in California. We move in on Friday. Jalynne’s parents are driving out from California with the stuff we had in storage, but we pretty much had to buy all the furniture. We hope that will arrive on Friday, too. We’re pretty sure this is where we’ll live in the off-season. It’s easier for me to work out at the Giants minor-league complex because there are always players here. Cain and Romo live here, plus a bunch of other guys. And it’s pretty accessible to both sets of grandparents.
As for baseball, it’s great to be back with everyone again, though the first week or so are pretty, well, I won’t say boring – how about basic? If you came to the first few days of workouts here this week, you might be surprised at our drills. They are as fundamental as a Little League practice.
Jose Alguacil, the minor league’s roving infield instructor, literally rolls the ball to us. The point is to work on footwork and on exchanging the ball from the glove to the throwing hand, though we don’t throw. It’s not like we forget how to do any of this. But we’ve been off for three months, so you want to regain your form one step at a time to make certain you’re doing everything the right way.
For batting, we start by hitting off a tee. You can set the tee at different locations. First thing I do when I get to the park in the morning is take five swings at nine locations: up and away, up middle, up and in, middle away, middle middle, middle in, down and away, down middle and down and in. That takes about 15 minutes.
Then a coach tosses balls underhand to me, and I’ll hit for another 15 minutes doing that.
Yesterday, our third base coach Tim Flannery had a session on base-running. He gathered all the position players at first base. He reminded us that a player who gets 200 hits in a season spends only 42 minutes on base. “There’s no reason you can’t stay focused for 42 minutes!’’ he said.
He also reminded us that in the park we play in and with the pitching we have, we play a lot of close games so good base-running – getting that one run — often is the difference between winning and losing. “If we score three runs, we win 75 percent of the time,’’ he said. “If we score four runs, we win 80 percent of the time.’’
After going over the fundamentals of running from first base, Flan walked us all to second base and went over the basics of that. Then we went on to third. Then he had us run from home to first, then first to third, home to second, second to home, home to third, then he had us tagging up at third.
Yes, it can be a little boring and repetitive. We’ve all done this a million times. But baseball is so much about fundamentals. The basics. One lapse can lose a game. So if you play Little League, guess what? You’re going to keep doing the same drills for as long as you play ball.
I’m loving it, though. I’m more relaxed and confident than I was at this time last year, though I don’t take my job for granted. There are great players here in camp. You always have to earn your job.
Hope to see some of you down here. Games start Saturday. If you can’t make it here, I’ll see you soon at AT&T.