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!

 

-Brandon C.

17 Comments

Hi, Brandon, I met you at the Step up to the Plate Brunch in December, went to Fanfest in February, and spent the weekend mid-March in Scottsdale for the Rockies and A’s games. All great experiences. Sending good wishes for a great season. Glad to hear that Bonds was helpful and that your family is healthy and happy and very busy with your new baby. Thank goodness for your Mother in Law.

Hi Brandon,
Congratulations on your new addition! I’m so happy that the birth of Jaydyn went much easier for Jaylynne. When I had my second child I thought the work was five times as much than before!
I’m excited to see you bat off the lefties this year. It’s challenging to make changes so I’m glad Barry Bonds was able to help you. Here’s to a great season!!!

Love hearing about your girls! Glad everyone is doing well! You a such a great daddy! Best wishes and so excited for the 2014 season!!

Hi Brandon, Congratulations on your new daughter! I really enjoy reading your blogs. I’m the one who wrote you the letter about the young teenager with cancer of the bone in his leg. I want to thank you for whatever you had sent out to him! He is a very sick boy right now and he needs all the encouragement he can get to lift his spirits! You already know how special and priceless kids are and how devastating it would be to lose one! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for “having a heart” for this young boy! You are and will be with no doubt the best father a child could ever ask for! Enjoy every minute with your precious girls!! Congratulations and Thank you so very much again!! Only the BEST to you in season
2014!!

See you sooner than that at Chase for their opening series! So excited. Want to thank you for the detail on the birth of Jaydyn! Thrilled for you & Jalynne. I was the annoying fan in Feb that asked if baby was here yet. Got my due dates mixedup thought I was going to see you run off the field one day during practice. It must have been hard to concentrate. Congratulations!
Sounds like the girls are all well & if Jaydyn can make it through the endurance test’s Brylyn puts her through then we should get to see lots of cute baby girl pictures on Twitter this season.
Lets Go Giants

Congrats on your new baby girl. As a grandmother I’ve had lots of experience with newborns and the work is definitely more difficult when the second one comes along. It sounds like you are doing your best to help Jalynne and that makes all the difference. In your situation it’s especially nice that her mother can be there to help. Believe me, it’s special for grandma too.

So glad to hear you’ve gotten some help with hitting. I asked my son if he got you on his fantasy team and he said,”No, Mom. He isn’t hitting well enough.” Please prove him wrong this year! Another friend said you might be traded. All I said was they better not! I love my Giants but with you gone I don’t know. I’d be SO mad and disappointed. Can’t wait to wear my jersey with your name on it to the games this year!

Congrats to you and your other half. Some advice from an older guy: you will eventually get to sleep all night. Of course then they start dating musicians :-)

An off the wall thought…add B Hicks to this blog. Brandon, Brandon, and Brandon. Sounds like a law firm.

Good luck to all of you this season. Go get ‘em.

It’s very cool to hear how you juggle being a dad with being a professional baseball player. Congratulations on the new addition to the family! Too funny how Braylyn interacts with Jaydyn. What are the challenges of being a lefty and hitting against a lefty? I was a righty and only played softball, so don’t think we faced the same challenges. That’s awesome that Bonds was able to give you some tips! You know we are all going to be watching for your leading shoulder to stay closed now during the game. :D I bet this will be a great year for you. I still think it’s just a matter of “when,” not “if,” you get the Golden Glove. ‘Looking forward to another great season and watching your gymnastics at 2nd as you leap over the runner when turning two. I still think they should put a slow-mo video with music together of a compilation of all your double plays. It’s like you picked up some gymnastic tips from the twins, too! :D

Two little girls close together is a real gift. I hope you both enjoy yours as much as I did mine. I really feel that you’re going to have a very good year, both on the field and at the plate. You’re one of my favorites, and I follow you very closely! Thank you for letting us know what is going on in your life. I loved that picture of your first new baby with the World Series ring on her finger(s).

Hey Brandon! I know you’ve been a big giants fan your whole life and I was just curious if you ever got Bonds’ autograph growing up? Or if you ever saw him in person?

Thanks, very cool to hear about your new addition as well as working with Barry!
Looking at your stats, you have a very good sense of the strikezone, making very good contact, but then you would lose it. Hopefully Bonds’ tips will help you become more consistently good. But as one book explains, once you exhibit the skill, you own it, then it’s a matter of repeating it. So I have complete faith that you got the skills to hit better (for example, how you did last season until you injured your finger), now it’s a matter of repeating your skill. Another stat I’ve seen, and I think it was Sabean who said it, was that it takes hitters about 2,000 professional ABs to figure it all out, which is probably similar to what Bonds told you about figuring it out in season 3. As you are right around there now, just past 2,000 ABs. Have a great season!

Dear Brandon,
I love reading this blog and think that you must be one of the luckiest people in baseball, being the same age as me and getting to see all of the greats of the 90s, both at the Stick and AT&T and then getting to wear that same uniform yourself. I live in OC now and went to the game on Sat and hope to go next time that you are in LA or SD so I can keep seeing the Giants win. Congrats on having a new daughter-you are never to early to start watching baseball! Keep filling everyone in on life in the clubhouse and beyond.

I have a question about team and/or player study before you actually play the team. For instance, since most of the games this next month are in our division, will you and others spend any amount of time looking at stats/tendencies of players (probably pitchers too) on the Twins, Pirates, Braves or Cubs out in May? Thanks for considering!
Also – my choir and I will see you out on the field next Tuesday 4/15 at the home opener of the Dodger series as we provide the National Anthem. Always a treat for us – swing by and say hello if this is even possible!

Quick question, where were you during the 2010 World Series?

IslandGurl

Hi Brandon…I love that your family has grown and those babies are beautiful !! I am so excited to be going to my first Giants game in over 20 years on the Brandon weekend in June !! We are taking our daughter Kristyn and her husband Bobby and our grandson Kaden (10yrs) because he is in his second year playing on Little League and just figuring it all out. Going to meet my Uncle Al and Aunt Eva there (hee hee )…Can’t wait to see you play in person !! Go Giants !! Susanne

Lefties schmefties! You just hit a walk off home run off a lefty!! I was sitting in the arcade and knew it was gone the moment you hit it. Great job Brandon.

yep

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