By Popular Demand — Jalynne, My Better Half – Brandon Crawford
I know my husband said enough with the pinch-blogging, but he told me some fans have asked if Haylee Belt and I would write about life as the wife of a Major Leaguer. We both agreed. I’m up first. I think Haylee will write tomorrow.
I’m not sure what would be interesting or where to start, so I’ll begin by telling you what we did on the off day Monday. These off-days, especially when they’re during home stands, are so precious. Believe it or not, even though it’s only April, we’ll have just one more off day at home for the rest of the season.
On Monday Brandon and I went for massages in the morning. Just the two of us while my mom took care of our two baby girls. Then we took Braylyn to the park. She loved having us to herself without the distraction of her new sister! Then we had a date night — dinner and a movie (“Noah,’’ which was entertaining). A perfect day.
I don’t go to every game. It’s not easy with the babies, and the truth is I like watching the games on TV. I can be a real fan, yelling and cheering as wildly as I want. I feel like I’m supposed to be a bit more proper when I’m sitting the Giants’ family section.
I was at last night’s game, but I left in the 12th and missed Brandon scoring the winning run! I gave myself a deadline of midnight (like Cinderella, except unlike Cinderella I hurried off because I’m nursing and was about ready to burst). My mom and I bundled up the babies, headed across the Bay Bridge and cheered in the car when Hector drove in Brandon to beat the Dodgers.
We’re living in the East Bay again this season. Our permanent home is in Arizona. We chose that because in baseball you never know where you might be playing. In Arizona, we can be pretty certain about living in one place from at least November to April every year.
We’ve rented four places in four seasons. We get an unfurnished house and furnish it with the few pieces of furniture we keep in storage during the off-season. We live very simply. We still have the couch Brandon’s parents gave us when he was first called up. We have a kitchen table and chairs. We have mattresses. And we have two TVs. Not much else. We put it back in storage at the end of the season and when the next one rolls around, we take it out again and put it in the next rental house.
This is something people might not know about baseball wives. We do a lot of packing and unpacking. A lot. It’s endless. Not just at the beginning and end of the season but road trips throughout the season. I try to make one long road trip a month so we can be together as a family. Our husbands fly on a team charter where their luggage is carried for them from the clubhouse to the plane to the hotel. We fly Southwest with diaper bags and wipes and bottles and clothes and baggies full of Cheerios. Quite the glamorous life, don’t you think?
It IS a wonderful life. An incredible blessing. But like everything there are pro’s and con’s. It’s a beautiful thing that I get to stay home and raise my children. The downside is I can’t teach. From the time I was a little girl, I wanted to be a teacher, and after UCLA I earned my master’s in education at Pepperdine. But if I were to teach, I’d never see my husband. So it’s a little bittersweet.
Sometimes I’m asked if Brandon is different off the field from what they see on TV. Yes and no. He is very funny, which is something I think people have recently discovered about him. Because he’s so shy and quiet, people sometimes miss his great sense of humor. They hear something really sarcastic come out of his mouth and they’re not sure what to make of it. But I think his humor is coming out through his blog, and the beat writers definitely know this about him.
The things that ARE the same on and off the field: He’s super calm, and he’s super competitive. In the eight years we have been together, I have never heard him yell in anger. He can get frustrated when he’s driving sometimes, but that’s it. Seriously, I’ve never met anyone as easy-going as he is.
Having said that, he wants to win at every game he plays. But so do I. You might know I was a competitive gymnast, and I come from a family of athletes. Brandon and I are fierce adversaries at miniature golf, bowling, video games, whatever. He doesn’t take it easy because I’m a girl, nor would I want him to. If I beat him, I want to beat him fair and square. (And now and then, I do. He’s maddeningly good at just about everything.)
On the field, he cares like no other. He has loved baseball since he could walk. I remember seeing a video of him at a year-and-a-half. He was swinging a whiffle bat at a beach ball, and his dad was switching him from right-handed to left-handed and back again, laying the groundwork for switch-hitting. At a year-and-a-half! He feels so lucky every day he puts on a Giants uniform. How many people get to live their dream as fully as Brandon is living his? He truly loves what he does.
The other day when he hit the walk-off home run, he was like a little kid in a candy store. We weren’t at the game because Braylyn was teething and I was still unpacking boxes. We jumped right off the bed! I sent Brandon a video of Braylyn clapping for him. She is such a daddy’s girl. It’s the sweetest thing. It melts my heart.
When Brandon got home, we celebrated by going out for frozen yogurt. As we sat outside the shop, people congratulated him as they walked past. He’s still so shy that he’s a bit uncomfortable with the attention. But I can tell you he will never take your good wishes for granted. We both know this wonderful time in his life won’t last forever, so we appreciate every moment.
OK, that’s it. Have I gone on too long? Sorry if I have. I want you to know that Brandon and I read every single comment, and we are just blown away — especially with the burst of comments this week! Wow! I wish he could reply but there is just not enough time. Thank you for being there for him every day!
OK, Haylee, your turn!