Best Laid Plans – Brandon Crawford

​I didn’t do much on my off days on Monday or yesterday. Just relaxed. But Jalynne and I had a great time two Sundays ago at my friends’ wedding.

Getting there, however, was an adventure.

The ceremony was scheduled for 6 p.m. We had a 1 p.m. game at AT&T. I figured I’d have plenty of time to make it to Wente Vineyards in Livermore. Cain had been solid the last month or so, and when he walked three of the first four batters, I thought, “Oh, no.’’

The game went three hours and thirty-seven minutes. When we made the final out, it was already close to 4:45.

I bolted into the clubhouse. Didn’t put any ice on my arm. Went straight into the shower. Got dressed. Went to my car, where I had my tux. Iwas a groomsman. (I didn’t want to put the tux onin the clubhouse. Would have been embarrassing.)

I drove to Livermore, probably breaking a few traffic laws on the way. I had let one of the other groomsmen know I would probably be there right around six. He said they’d drag their feet (not that any wedding starts on time anyway).

I pulled up at 5:58, got somebody to park my car for me and went in with my tux on a hanger. I had about four guys helping me get dressed with all the tux stuff. I was ready by 6:10.

Then we waited on the girls. A shocker, I know.

It was an awesome wedding. I’ve known the groom, Matt, since high school. He was the best man at my wedding. And I’ve known Ali, the bride, since middle school.

Jalynne and Braylyn were there, plus my mom and two of my sisters. They had a photo booth with a bunch of props like hats and wigs. We got into the spirit of things, and Jalynne tweeted out a photo of us being ridiculous.

Now to baseball . . .

I thought I’d share a few thoughts on facing a knuckle-baller like R.A. Dickey. I’ve been asked why a good knuckle-baller can make Major Leaguers look like fools. It’s because you have no idea where the pitch is going. I’ve always heard that when you face a knuckle-baller you look for pitches that are up because they’re going to fall into the zone for a strike. The ones that look like strikes are going to drop, so you don’t want to get suckered into swinging.

Dickey, though, can throw a harder knuckleball that just stays high. You think it’s going to drop, so you swing, and you end up flailing at a pitch sailing over your bat. But he also throws a knuckleball that drops straight down. He throws one that drops and goes away. And he throws one that drops and goes in. You have no idea where any of them are going.

You might have noticed that the Jays’ starting catcher didn’t play. I’m sure it’s because he doesn’t even know what the ball’s going to do most of the time. They put a backup catcher in there who’s more experienced — and who uses a huge glove like a first-baseman’s glove to wrangle in the pitches.

​Dickey kills you with his different speeds, too. No matter what the speed, the pitch looks exactly the same coming out of his hand. Against us, he threw from 66 to about 78. That’s a 12-mph difference on the same pitch. Pretty rough as a batter. Think of a guy throwing a fastball at 88 and then 100. That just doesn’t happen.

​So my mindset going up against him? I’m still trying to figure it out. I don’t have a hit off him yet.

​I was asked, too, about going to the mound on Wednesday in the second inning with a runner on first. What was I talking to Zito about?

Zito had pointed to Scutaro, which indicated that if Zito fielded a comebacker, he expected to throw to Marco, not me, at second. It’s important that a pitcher establishes who’s going to take the throw so he knows who to look for. Otherwise, he could throw it to the wrong guy and the ball ends up in center field.

You might think it would be simpler to always have me take the throw on a comebacker to avoid confusion and to maximize our chances of turning the double play. But sometimes I’m positioned toward third base – for a right-handed pull hitter, for example — and might not be able to get to the bag quickly enough. So the pitcher will let us know he’ll be looking for the second-baseman to take the throw.

In the situation Wednesday, Rasmus was coming to bat. A lefty. But because he’s hit Zito to the opposite field a few times, I moved more to the right than I normally would for a lefty. So Ziti pointed to Marco, figuring he would be in a better position to take the throw.

I went to the mound to tell Zito that I was fine to take the throw, that I wasn’t over too far. If there had been a particularly fast runner at first, then maybe I’d want Marco to cover. But that wasn’t the case. We quickly got it straightened out and I returned to my position.

Rasmus flew out to Hunter, as it turned out. But you have to make sure everybody on the field is on the same page on every single detail. One error, as we all know, can break open an inning.

OK, now that you’re all nodding off, I’ll stop here. I love all the inside baseball stuff, but I’m sure not everyone else does. Thanks for reading it.

​See you at the park when we get back.

​P.S. I tried to think of a good answer to island girl’s question in the comments section about prom and graduation, but I really don’t have any interesting stories. (I did not give the valedictory speech, in case you were wondering.)

​-Brandon C.

72 Comments

Hello Brandon, I know I say it every time, but it is always sincere; thanks for the update. Nodding off? No way, I’m eating up the inside baseball stuff. But please be good to that arm, because you really have a great one. Anyway, it’s good to hear that your life is balanced by stuff away from the ball field, and you write about it very well. Ok, comeon and get a hit tonight against Arizona. Still nothing to nothing so you guys need to jump on those D-Backs. You guys just turned another double play!!! Thanks again for the update. Go Giants!!

You’re mistaken, I love reading all the inside baseball details. :) thanks for sharing. And your little family is just the cutest!

Brandon, actually the “inside baseball stuff” is very interesting! Always like to read about particular strategies, especially between players and with whoever is pitching. Keeps the game exciting! Love it!

I LOVE the insider details! (as well as the fun stories of your real life.) Keep it coming. What positions did you play in high school and college? Have you played them all or did you specialize?

I just gotta say that I LOVE watching the plays you seem to make every single game. You’re a human highlight reel. Thank you! I also notice that you sign autographs often and have been one of the lucky ones to get a ball signed by you, myself. It means a lot, really. I want a bobblehead! Lets get the Giants to get on that for next year! :)

Hi Brandon
Love the inside scoop! As a kid I thought baseball was boring ;) I really appreciate the game now. Good luck with the D Backs!

Thanks, Brandon! Please keep that inside baseball stuff coming — we really appreciate how generously you guys share your perspectives, regardless of how the games go. Hang tough during this road trip, and we’ll be cheering you from home.

Please continue to give us the “inside baseball stuff.” I love learning about all the strategies you guys use that aren’t apparent. Like today, Buster thought a guy on second was tipping pitches to the batter, so he set up his target in a different spot and then moved it, allowing Jeremy to strike him out on a pitch he wasn’t expecting. Love that stuff! You all have to keep track of so much when you are out there on the field. Glad you made it to the wedding on time. Good luck against the D-Backs (sorry Corbin was brutal today).

I love the insider baseball stuff. Keep it comin’! Thanks for the great blog posts.

Like everyone else, thanks and keep the inside stuff coming! If you’re taking questions….. i’ve wondered what do the basemen talk to the base runners about? Do you all know every baseball player? I see so many laughs & smiles at first base.

I always enjoy your blog entries. Please, talk about the inside baseball stuff all you want! The work of playing ball is fascinating at your level, and it’s compelling reading. We love it!

Like you said…what wedding starts on time? I think you should have gotten dressed in the clubhouse. I’m sure the guys would have been glad to help you! NOT but if you’d been pulled over, you could have claimed to be on the way to your wedding. Nice that you were playing at home so you could make the wedding of old friends.

I love to read the baseball stuff even tho I don’t understand it all not having played the game. I find it amazing that pitchers can make the ball do so many different things. It’s fun to know some inside stuff that you do out there. People don’t realize how much is really going on out there. I wonder if you don’t sometimes lose focus when the pitcher is having a hard time and you just have to wait and wait for some action.

Last night’s game was disappointing. Even with the roof closed, I’m sure it was hot. Matt looked like he was sweating…..not to surprising after 31 pitches in the first inning! I guess you’re ok with the heat since you’ve decided to live in Phoenix in off season. Hopefully tonight will be better. We’ll all be rooting for you. By the way, it’s not much cooler here in the Central Valley.

Thanks for keeping us up dated. We really love reading this stuff. Oh one question…do you think Bochy did the right thing taking you out of the game last night? Of course I was disappointed but I understand strategies are important in baseball.

I like reading the inside baseball stuff too. It’s a perspective I wouldn’t know about otherwise it’s interesting so thanks. Try to stay present during games though! :-). If you want no errors

LOVE the inside baseball stuff. Keep it coming.

Judging from the comments, I am in the majority, loving the inside stuff, and reveling in the fact that Giants fans have such together, versatile players. It is patently obvious that there has to be a great deal of communication on the field, because there are so many different scenarios that develop every single game. I have been tuned into baseball all of my life, and I still maintain that something unique happens every single game I ever watch or listen to. It’s the nature of the game. As for hitting R.A. Dickey, I couldn’t imaging how hard that must be. But hearing your point of reference, clarifies things. He didn’t get to where he is by making it easy for the opposition. It’s all about movement on the ball.
OK, last night was a heartbreaker, but the brilliant part was Matt Cain’s performance. We usually figure that if we can give a game to the bullpen, that they will come though. I don’t fault Jeremy; after all, the guy who put it over the wall, has been doing it all year. What’s you gonna do? Get them back today and tomorrow! That’s what. I still say we will end up taking two of the three. Good Luck!

I love how different your blog is from Belt’s. I equally enjoy reading both. I love reading the personal stuff like the family stuff or off day stuff (love the twitter pic by Jalynne by the way–LOVE photo booths at weddings). I also enjoy reading the inside stuff of baseball too. I feel like I’m learning a lot more. I’m learning more about how strategic baseball is. So thanks for sharing :) best of luck on your long road trip (bummer about yesterday) continue to do your best. That’s all you can do. See you on the 20th at the park for my birthday!!

Hey Brandon,
Thanks for the inside look. I really enjoyed reading about the baseball stuff. :) It gives me a better appreciation for the game. Good luck tonight!

Great blog Brandon! Def not nodding off…love the insights into the nuances of the game. And the wedding story is fun too!! Thank you!

Hey branden, great insider stuff, keep it coming. Ive been a Giants fan since 74 so I love anything baseball. Glad to hear you made it to the wedding,lol. And yah watching Dickey pitch, I think knucklballers should be like the DH outlawed. Take care of that arm, and continue to play super “D”

My first time reading the blog, it’s fantastic! Thanks for taking the time. I really enjoy hearing about pitches and how they come across to the batter. (and the personal stuff is also good too!)

Wow love this Brandon! Thanks for teaching us new comers through your stories.

I love to read your blog and it is quite interesting. Thank you for explaining
how all the players interact. I love watching you make your plays at short stop.
You make everything look so easy. I know it is not easy at all. You have wonderful
feet work. Thank You for all your hardwork. Our family loves the Giants!!!!

Brandon,
I’m a huge fan I can see why R.A.’s knuckleball is hard to hit
I like how you make all those awesome double plays

You are an excellent short stop
Also I was at the game when you
Hit that grand slam

hey Brandon you ever hang out out up in Chico before? You have fans there for sure! And its my hometown!

Brandon, this fellow Pleasantonian and infielder loves the inside baseball stuff. In fact, I have a geeky question that perhaps you could answer, because nobody else has to my satisfaction. Against a left-handed pull hitter, the standard shift is to play third base near the SS position, move SS over to the other side of the second base bag and to play second base in short right field. My question is this: why play all three players out of position? Why not just move third base into short right field? That way, only one player has to play out of position instead of all three. I’d love your thoughts on that.

Love watching the Giants but you are tops.

It’s all good. Kill ‘em & bring home W & most importantly, enjoy every moment of the game. Keep up the great WORK!!!

-Island Gurl

This is a really good read. Thank Brandon. -Tracey

Brandon, thanks for the insider stuff. My wife and I are big Giants fans from Rochester, NY. You were awesome posing for a picture last year in Pittsburgh. I enjoy your posts. Tough outing last night against the D’backs, you’ll get it right back I’m sure. Hang in there, it’s a long summer and you guys are too talented all around to stay where you are right now. Give our best to Angel. We miss him!

Brandon keep up the good work playing shortstop. I help coach young players in the infield and I constantly tell them watch film of you to better understand how to play the game of baseball from a fielding perspective and all the inside things in baseball are crucial for any player of any age and I personally find them interesting. Keep up the good work and we’ll see you in the All Star game!

p.s. It would be cool to see you and Troy Tulowitzki have a field off. I would love to see who fields better between you two. The two bay area boys facing off would be rather cool I think.

Just wanted to say I enjoy reading all your thoughts about baseball. I think you are such a talented short stop! I enjoy watching you play so much! You are my favorite player. Keep up the good work!! I hope you stay with the Giants for years to come!

I LOVE the inside baseball stuff, Fyi. Thanks!

Thanks Brandon, I really enjoy your blog and watching you play. We don’t live Northern CA anymore, retired to the Oregon Coast. We been Giants fans forever. My husband is from the Concord – Walnut Creek area. We don’t get to come to the games but we never miss them on television. It is a family thing to watch Giants games at our house. Keep up the great job. Thanks again for sharing with us.

You love of the game and balance with family and friends is awesome. Thanks

Brandon, As a new Giant’s fan from long ago (Mays, McCovey,Davenport days) coming across your blog is not only fascinating and informative but REALLY FUN to read. Keep up the good work and Norm & I will see you in Denver. Go Giants! – Diane from the Inner Richmond

Believe me, Brandon, the chatter from “inside baseball” could never be boring to us fans. You are an exceptional talent and I have loved watching you play. My all time favorites were Ozzie Smith and Omar Visquel, and you are fast approaching that level. You, too, will soon be a ballet dancer! Great moves, and great that you let us inside your head a little bit.

I’m just wondering why the Giants don’t make the good opposition pitchers work harder by taking more pitches and running up the pitch count. So many times I see batters swing at the first pitch and it ends up being one pitch one out.
Just want to add that I’ve been following the Giants fer pert near 40 years. Got my whole family involved and now that roar you here when you make one of your fantastic plays is partially coming from a little town up north called Woodland. Let’s go Giants

Fun read. I Love all the inside baseball stuff and always wonder what you guys are saying to eachother out there on the field.

Love the inside baseball stuff, brandon. Keep up the great work!

Keep up with the inside baseball stuff, Brandon. I love it.

Thanks for sharing and writing, Brandon! And Yay, Go GIANTS!!!! :-)

My husband and I have moved to California a few years ago, and have really enjoyed watching the Giants the last three years. We have become big fans and are watching the games constantly. We have also been to a few games, and it is so exciting to see the authentic game in real life. Thank you to you and your team for keeping it real. We really enjoy the game!! Congratulations to you as well!

Thanks for the insight about your conversation with Zito, I always wonder about what is being said.

I love the wedding story, and the Inside Baseball chat is VERY helpful. Is there any way you can explain what “tipping the pitcher” means? I am still so confused. SOS Brandon :-) PS LOVE following Jalynne on Twitter (I am an identical twin and diehard Giants Fan) and Braylyn is just a doll. Happy Saturday Crawford family.

LOVE the “inside baseball stuff” so keep it coming! :) I was raised a Giants fan having a father who had sweet season tix 10 rows behind home plate…but this is the first season I’ve watched almost every single game. There is so much more to the strategy of the game than I ever really understood, and blogs like this are fascinating reads.

Was wondering what you thought of Boch pulling you out for Arias last night. How does that go down? Do you guys get a say in those decisions or is it totally Boch’s call? I was immediately concerned about not having you at SS anymore in the game, but it worked out (kinda) with Arias getting a hit. Were you happy for the break or would you have preferred to stay in the game?

Thanks, BC. You are so awesome to watch, and it’s great to know we have such an incredible player at SS. You’re amazing out there!! :)

Love your blog Brandon and love to watch you play. What a great arm you have – you make some great double plays! Keep the inside baseball stuff coming and the stories about your family and friends too. I’m a gamer babe from way back :-) My Dad was a minor league player in the late 40’s and 50’s and introduced me to baseball and the Giants back when Willie Mayes and Willie Mc Covey reigned supreme. As a die-hard Giants fan it is wonderful to see how you grew up from a huge Giants fan as a kid and now get to help them win a World Series – what a story! Knock ‘em dead tonight!

Your blog was great to read. You are such a pleasure to watch play.I’m 68 years old and have followed the Giants since they came.just wanted to say thanks for the inside stuff.Good luck in New York.

Thanks Brandon, I have been a long time follower of the blogs you two write and have very much enjoyed reading them. I have my MA in Sport Psychology and work almost entirely with baseball players in the Bay Area. On countless occasions i have used examples and thoughts in your blogs as examples for the players I work with. It is nice for them to get to see how guys in the bigs approach the pressures and challenges that come with success at that level. Normally I am not much of a ‘commenter’ but wanted you and Brandon to know that your thoughts and tid-bits are appreciated. Also, on my travels to Spring Training this past year, you signed a ball for me that sits in my office. The guys who come in and see it think its really neat. So thanks for taking the time to do that. It is also very much appreciated. Good Luck with the rest of the season!

I love both your blogs & especially the insider baseball stuff!

I’m really enjoying this blog! All you guys are like rock stars to me and so I appreciate you taking the time to let us in on some of the “behind the scenes” happenings! Have a great game tonight and I’ll be at the park on the 23rd!

Hi Brandon!! My 81 year ‘young’ mom and I love watching you guys play every game, home and away, win or not. The respect all of you have for each other and your fans is inspiring. I personally enjoy these blogs from you and your fellow teammates, Belt and Blanco. Keep ‘em coming!! Play safe and solid! Go Giants!!

Good inside stuff! Great season so far Brandon.

Maybe you could compare high school baseball stress to MLB stress. Not talkin the pay but how u feel during the game. I’m watching u play the d backs now. And ur doing great. Haha

Great post. Please don’t ever skimp on the inside baseball stuff! Love reading your blog. Great game tonight Brandon!

Much needed win tonight. Hate to see those runs scored on pass balls late in the game but I’ll take the win. Hopefully tonight was a sign were turning it around.

I love hearing about the inside baseball details, post more! :)

So happy to see this on my FB page and to know you’re doing well both personally and professionally. We continue to watch your games and cheer for you whenever they are on in Seattle. Give my best to everyone and a special kiss to Braylyn. P.S. Did your mom tell you that Jeff is dating a girl who lives just a few houses from them? He’ll be down there visiting next week- such a small world!

I think most of us like the inside baseball stuff. :) thank you! When watching a game, I often wonder…”what are they saying?” Or “what are they thinking right now about their next hit or play?”

Glad you made it to your friend’s wedding!! The inside baseball stuff is not boring at all-we fans love it. See you here in ATL in a few days-hope you’ll stop for autographs over near the player entrance……….

Love the inside look, thanks for sharing!

I’m glad you are doing well! Thank you for sharing your life with us, including the inside baseball stuff. You learn something new each day.

Hey Brandon what are your thoughts on the Giants drafting another SS in the first round? Not sure what the deal was with that pick. Far as I’m concerned we got our star SS for the next 10 years on the field right now with you. Arroyo looks like a helluva talent but I would have preferred another LHP.

Nodding off? No way!

Regarding the wedding, I’m just glad you play for your local team and were able to make the wedding at all! :)

Gerritt Cole on the mound, you at bat and defense ;) sister is torn between the two ;) How does it feel?

-island gurl

Loved seeing your family at the game last night. Baby is soooo cute. Gotta ask, how does your sister ended up dating the Pirates pitcher? I had to rewind my DVR to be sure I heard the announcer correctly!

Would also love to hear your take on the D’backs/ Dodgers brawl last night. A batter was hit in your game as well but no one turned it into a boxing match. I couldn’t believe how long it went on…and on…and on. Thought I was watching NHL minus the ice.

LOVE the inside baseball stuff! Please keep it coming.

really enjoying all the” inside baseball stuff” in this post. It’s cool to know what’s going on!

HAPPY FATHERS DAY!!!

Thank you for all your great blog posts BCraw! I love the inside baseball stuff, please keep them coming, too bad for those who don’t care, they just don’t realize how rare it is to read such stuff, nor appreciate that you are doing this in your spare time. I hope you continue to share whatever comes to your mind, no matter how long it may be.

All this inside stuff is the best BCraw, thank you! Love reading your blog!

Thank you for taking the time from your busy schedule to enlighten us on the inside baseball stuff. You could never be boring…stay healthy and enjoy the wonderful ride. You have a beautiful family. GO GIANTS…BELIEVE!!

Of COURSE we love the baseball details. I tell people all the time that I can honestly say I’ve never watched a boring game. There can be slow games, but the strategies are all still there and fun to watch.

Most of us always are wondering what you guys talk about down there anyways. So keep filling us in!

To be honest….my family plays this game where whenever anyone starts to talk to each other on the mound, we make up what you’re talking about to each other. FYI, most of the time you guys are planning your next Christmas party.

“Soooo should we do a secret santa this year?….I think we should do a potluck because Belt’s wife makes an awesome pot roast….we definitely should hire a Santa to come for the kids…..Scutaro’s in charge of decorating”.

It’s pretty funny imagining you guys being so concerned about your Christmas party all the time.

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