Sign Language – Brandon Crawford

Marco Scutaro returned to the team this morning from the World Baseball Classic. So great to have him and Pablo back. The clubhouse is always a bit louder with Pablo around. He was there this morning playing cards with some of the Latin players at the round table near his locker. I don’t think there is ever a moment when Pablo isn’t finding a way to have a good time.

While Marco was gone, different guys played second, including Tanaka who speaks very little English. Communication is probably the biggest thing between a shortstop and second baseman so it’s something we work on in spring training.

If a ball’s hit to right-center, for example, you have to communicate who’s the cutoff man and who’s going to trail. With Scutaro I already know that I’ll take the cutoff because I have a stronger arm. But if Joaquin Arias is playing second, he’ll take the throw. A shortstop has to work that out with every second-baseman.

Or if I’m expecting a hit-and-run — let’s say there’s an average runner at first and a good contact hitter at the plate — I’ll alert the second-baseman that I suspect a hit-and-run to the right side and that I’ll be covering second.

Of course the other team can’t know what you’re saying. So there’s a lot of nonverbal communication. Before a pick-off play, I’ll point to the second-baseman if he should cover the throw, or I’ll wiggle my glove if I’m going to take it.

If we’re expecting a runner to steal second, I’ll signal with my mouth to the second baseman who’s covering the bag: If I open my mouth, he’s covering; if I close my mouth, I’m covering. I do this, of course, behind my glove so the the opposing team can’t see.

Yesterday all the fielders worked on taking cutoffs. You might think, “What’s there to work on? A cutoff’s a cutoff.’’ But Bochy had us doing something different. He noticed that when outfielders had to retrieve balls all the way to the wall, their throws weren’t as crisp and strong. The reason is they had to basically stop to pick up the ball before throwing, which means they had no momentum. The throws sailed in on an arc, and we’d have a tough time making the play.

Bochy had the infielders position themselves about 15 feet farther out than usual to receive the throws. The result was that the outfielders’ throws were stronger and faster, and so the cutoff men got the ball back to the infield more quickly. It should give us a better chance at nailing runners at third and home.

We also worked on bunts. I’m pretty good at sac bunts — I hit the best sac bunt of my life in Game 4 in Detroit to put Theriot in scoring position at second base. But I need to get better at bunting for base hits. I always bunt too hard, and the third-baseman throws me out easily. You have to deaden the ball so the third-baseman can’t reach it. And the trick to that is to almost catch the ball on your bat. It’s really an art to get the timing just right — to pull the bat back just as it’s meeting the pitch. And you have to make sure you take the pitch at the top of the zone and push down so you don’t pop it up.

I’ll keep working on that and a dozen other things through spring training. We’re having a great time just being together. And the weather is perfect right now. But I’m a Bay Area guy, so I’ll be happy when we go north, back to AT&T and 40,000 cheering fans.

See you there.

-Brandon C.

23 Comments

Thanks for writing! I love reading these posts, they always bring a smile to my face. I really appreciate you taking time out of your day to let us know is going on behind the scenes.

I cant wait to see you at AT&T!

sounds like a lot of hard work getting put in. can’t wait to go out there next week!! counting down the days til i’m at ST. Excited to see the team!!

Got home from ST on Monday…..a little disappointed. I ordered a custom T shirt with your name but when it came it was too small:( but I was all decked out with my Giants flip flops and my nails with your number on them. Fridays game….rained out, Saturdays game, what can I say. Sunday at Maryvale was great weather and a winning game but no Brandon. Oh well….can’t wait to see you on TV and at ATT Park. GO Giants! Hope to see you win the Golden Glove this year.

Thanks for the inside info, Brandon. There is so much more than what meets the eye in baseball. I’m looking forward to watching you this season!

Bonnie Minardi http://www.bminardi.com

Great to have you guys back!! And congratulations on your new baby girl!! ‘Looking forward to a great season and watching you play short. It’s just a matter of time before you get the Golden Glove. :0)

Thanks for the update. I think the little things will add up and you guys may have to be just little sharper all around to take it again. Go Giants!!

we miss you in sf! been following spring training, but very excited for the regular season to start

Thanks, Brandon! Always love the inside perspective you guys share with us in the blog. Here’s to a great 2013 season — Go Giants!

You are my favorite SS. That is all.

As a Flying Squirrels fan, it’s been such fun to watch you move up through the system! So happy for you and Brandon Belt!

Thanks, Brandon for giving us some of the work it takes to make a game smooth. I understand you completely wanting to get back to the City by the Bay and your 40,000 fans at the park. Who knows how many are watching you from home on TV. Have a great season. A true Giants fan.

Living outstide the U.S. a good bit of my life, I did not take up with the game of baseball until I ended my career with U.S. companies abroad. I thought I was only a soccer fan, but I’m in my third year as a Giant fan and supporter and looking forward to another good year. I have the two Brandons and several of your teammates on my daily prayer list for health and of course success..

Brandon, I enjoyed your post. Very edifying. Makes me appreciate your position even more….and everyone else’s position. Everyone has to be sharp. Really illuminates what ‘working together’ and ‘team work’ means.

Looking forward to getting back to our baseball! Your baby girl is the cutest and I know she is as proud of her Daddy as all of your fans are. Going to AT&T to watch you guys on the big screen April 1st, Good Luck and GO GIANTS!

Brandon: Thanks for all the autographs/pictures the past couple weeks at Spring Training. You are a class act who plays the game the way it ought to be played. God bless you and your family this season!

Just got back from ST…had a blast, it is so chill in Scottsdale…great to see you and all the guys…Go Giants!

thanks for blogging ” gold glover “………

Keep up the great work!

Much love
island girl

Thanks so much…my mom reads me your blog. I like hearing about all your practice stuff. I am 7 yrs old and play LL for Livermore A Giants…Good luck big Giants…AJ

Your blog is so fun to read! I have gotten to go to 4 spring training games this season to see the Giants which definitely makes this my favorite time of year. Thanks for the great games and sharing your blog!

Brandon, Your blogs are always informative and fun to read–I really enjoy them. (I hope you don’t show your hand completely and give away any trade secrets.) Congrats on your past year (both with the team and personally) and best of luck this new season. I’m so excited to watch the Giants in their quest for #3. I’m already starting to bite my nails!

I’m a bit late in commenting on this post and don’t know if you’ll get this, but these kinds of posts are awesome. It’s really great to hear what you guys are doing out there on the field, when you talk to each other, gestures, what you say to the opposing team when they are on second base, all the stuff you’ve been telling us. You’re giving us the inside scoop and it’s so priceless! Plus, hearing directly from you and Brandon Belt makes being a Giants fan that much more awesome. Thank you for sharing with us! :0)

I know I’m a late bloomer, just starting reading your blog this week (4/18/14) so I am catching up with your previous blogs. You titled this one “Sign Language”. I was interested what you have to say, but it was not what I was expecting as I am an American Sign Language Interpreter, haha. Interesting though. Did you know there was a deaf Professional baseball player named, William “Dummy” Hoy back in the 1888-1902. Some sources say he is the reason for the signs for “safe” and “out”, so he can follow the game. Check it out on Wikipedia. Thanks!

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