No Shortcuts in Parenting or Baseball – Brandon Crawford
I’m getting ready to board the team bus to the airport for Opening Day in Arizona. Our home is in Arizona, so Jalynne stayed there with the babies while I came here for the Bay Bridge Series. (Jalynne’s mother has been there since Jaydyn was born.)
Can’t wait to see all of them tonight when we get in. After the Diamondbacks’ series. Jalynne will drive with her mom and the babies to Los Angeles for the Dodgers series, then drive up here for the home opener. Our rental house is pretty much ready because we moved all the furniture in when we were here for FanFest.
About the birth: When Braylyn was born, Jalynne was in labor for 52 hours. It was brutal. Jaydyn was born by scheduled C-section – a hundred times easier. We went in at 7:15 on a Saturday morning, and the baby was born at 9:30. Two hours – and that’s including paper work and surgery prep.
The nurses allowed me to clip the umbilical cord, then they weighed and measured Jaydyn, cleaned her up a little, wrapped her and put her in my arms. I brought her over to Jalynne, who had been awake and chatty through the whole thing. I took that day off and the next. My dad and sister, who where at the hospital, joked that I could just run across to the Giants’ stadium across the street, pinch hit and run back.
Braylyn was a little confused at first about this cute little creature in her life. She gives her little sister kisses then bops her on the head. I think she means just to pat her but she doesn’t have a concept yet of rough and gentle. She’ll jam a pacifier in the baby’s face, like “Here! Take it! You want this!’’
The best description I’ve heard about going from one kid to two is it’s like basketball – you go from playing zone defense to man-to-man. It’s been a little crazy. Jalynne’s got Jaydyn for the most part because she’s breast-feeding; I’ve got Braylyn, who never stops pulling out pots and pans, DVDs, video games. I think she plays with everything in the house except her toys.
Back to baseball: A highlight of spring camp was working with Barry Bonds. I was pretty terrible at the plate the first three weeks of camp but finished strong, and I think at least some of the credit goes to Bonds.
The second day he was in camp, I went to the cage to work on stuff with Joe Lefebvre, the assistant hitting coach. Right when I finished, Bonds showed up. He was talking to Hunter, and I stuck around to listen. Bonds was talking about drills Hunter could do to track the ball deeper. He told him to keep his front shoulder in so it didn’t fly open — which was exactly what I was just working on in the cage.
At some point, Bam-Bam told Bonds about my situation – that I was a really good fielder but needed to hit better. He said the team didn’t want to sit me against lefties, which Bochy did a lot during the second half of last season.
So Bonds talked to me about how it took him three years before he felt he had become a good hitter in the big leagues, mostly because he struggled against lefties. It was kind of cool hearing from Barry Bonds that it was only after his third full season that he thought he became a consistent hitter. This is my third full season.
During Bond’s week in camp, when I wasn’t in the lineup I tried to work with him. Once I took a half a bucket of balls from our new left-handed BP pitcher. Half a bucket is a lot of balls. Bonds stayed at the cage the whole time. He told me to actually aim my front shoulder at shortstop as kind of an exaggerated way to make sure I kept it closed. It was just a drill for BP, but he said to think about it during the game as a reminder.
The first couple games after that, I had two hits off lefties. One was a line drive to left field, which I hadn’t done all spring off a lefty. I broke a bat the next time up, but it was a good swing and the ball got through for a base hit. I broke three bats, in fact, because I was keeping my front shoulder closed so long that I was getting jammed.
It’s still a little uncomfortable, as all mechanical adjustments are, but I’m keeping my shoulder closed now without having to exaggerate it. There are times when I’ll take a swing and think, “Oh, man, I flew open a bit there.’’ The important thing is I’m recognizing when I’m doing it and making the adjustment.
Obviously I have to hit better against lefties this year to help the team. I feel as confident about it as I ever have, given how I’ve been feeling at the plate the last couple weeks. It took Bonds three full seasons to find consistency against LH pitchers, so I guess I shouldn’t have expected I’d get there a whole lot faster.
Can’t wait to get this season started. See you back at AT&T on the 8th!