Belt is Not the Only Bambino – Brandon Crawford

I just had a late breakfast with my sister Amy and her boyfriend, Pirates pitcher Gerrit Cole. Amy is here in Pittsburgh for the week to see him (she lives in Newport Beach) and timed it for when the Giants would be in town. Great to see them both.

Crazy series in Atlanta. Such close games. We drove in exactly zero runners in scoring position.  We scored just nine runs. And we still swept.

You know it’s crazy when I hit two home runs in a game.

It was reported that I had never hit two in a Major League game. That is true. So is this: I had never hit two home runs in a high school game, a college game, or a minor league game.

The only time I hit two home runs before yesterday was in 2008 in the Dominican instructional league. I had been drafted in June of that year and signed in August. I hurt my ankle so I didn’t get to play much in the Arizona instructional league. So the Giants sent me to the Dominican instructional league in October to get more at-bats. I was the only American on the team. I could see the Latin guys eyeing me like, “Who’s this white guy?’’

Then I hit two home runs in my first two at-bats. Granted, it was kind of a small field and the pitching isn’t great at that level. But two home runs are two home runs. I don’t think those stats get recorded anywhere, but I have witnesses: Hector Sanchez and Ehire Adrianza were on that team, too

The second homer yesterday was kind of interesting because the pitcher, Jordan Walden, literally jumps off the mound. And he has a hitch when he jumps, which screws with your timing as a hitter. I remember facing him last year. When he was jumping at me, I found myself kind of jumping back at him. Which meant his fastball was even faster.

Yesterday on deck I watched his delivery to see when I wanted to stride. Hicks had a good at-bat in front of me, so I saw a lot of pitches. I told myself to have a slow body and just let my hands react. I felt a little jumpy the first couple pitches and had two checked swings. In retrospect, it was good that the second checked swing was called a strike. Otherwise I would have had a 3-0 count and had to take the next pitch. Instead, it was 2-1 and Walden grooved a 96-mph fastball. I let my hands react. And there you go.

I get more satisfaction about my defense, though. I think I’ve talked about this before. I play it pretty cool when I make a good play. I usually keep my game face on. But Saturday I couldn’t help smiling because Hicks just gave me a look. I was able to stop Evan Gattis’s grounder up the middle in the top of the ninth Friday night to help preserve our 2-1 lead. Then I stopped Andrelton Simmons’ grounder up the middle to end Saturday’s game. Hicks just looked at me and smiled and said, “You did it again!’’ You can see in the video that I cracked a smile.

The tough part of that play is the throw. Your head is turned away from first base when you start into your throw. But you know that first base hasn’t moved. You know where it is. And I’ve practiced plays like that. The key is to throw hard to beat the runner.

Do I ever surprise myself? Sometimes. But you prepare for plays like that. I feel I should make plays like that.

Thanks for reading. Looks like it might rain here. Can’t wait to get home to our park. And to my girls. Jalynne said Braylyn’s molars are coming in. Not very exciting news, I know. But you parents understand.

-Brandon C.


Be sure to hit a homer off Gerrit, admire it, flip your bat, and trot really slowly around the bases. I hear he loves that.

Tell Jalynne to hang in there. I remember when my kids were little and my husband would go on a business trip. He’d call home and I’d just sob over the phone for a few minutes (usually after he told me about the steak and Cabernet he’d just ordered from room service on the firm’s expense account). These are precious days, but you can get exhausted and overwhelmed at times.

Congrats on your excellent offense AND defense. I love the great plays also. Just knowing Belt is there to catch your awesome throws!! GO TEAM BRANDON. I’m thinking we need to recruit a 3rd baseman named Brandon. 🙂

That was an amazing throw to first! So great! Have fun in Pittsburg!!

Brandon, you were awesome. I’m really watching you this year. You continue to amaze me. You’re growing into one hell of a player.

I agree with you Brandon. Your Home Runs are great, BUT your defense plays I look forward to. As much as I don’t want the other team on offense play to get points, I sit up and notice you playing in the field. You float like a dancer during those plays. #GOGIANTS

We were so happy about your home runs! But what we REALLY enjoy is watching those great plays you’ve made. We think you have one heck of a glove and an arm. Thanks for all the enjoyment you’ve given us so far and yet to come.

Plus you seem like a pretty good guy! LOL

Watching the Pirates game. AARGH! You were spectacular in the Braves series, and I am so glad you are getting national recognition. I read a nice article from ESPN online about you. He was pretty clear you are, and will, shine. It’s nice that you get excited Braylyn’s molars. There will be a time when you look back on this time, and smile. Grandma here, and I know how it is.

You are such an exciting player, some of the plays you make are just amazing. I love the chemistry in the team, with so many Latino players are you understanding some spanish🙂 you and Jaylynne make some beautiful babies.

You did have a great game. It was fun to watch. Also, I hope you were smiling at Brandon Hicks tonight in the 5th when he made that amazing catch!~

In our house we love the Brandon’s, both at bat and in the field! We enjoyed both your defense, and home runs in the Atlanta series. You owned it!

I watched that great play over and over and over again. You’re amazing and we the fans love and appreciate you way more than you’ll ever know, Brandon! So exciting! And then on top of all that–the home runs! Awesome!! Love our Brandons!

what a great series in Atlanta! if you were a competing Olympic Ice Skater, I would give you a thumbs up for a triple axel for the catch and throw to 1st base. keep up the excellent work and get home soon for the molars!

Brilliant defensive plays Brandon! Your are getting my All Star votes!!!

Tndon, you made three defensive plays in the past two days that were absolutely beautiful! The home runs are exciting and wonderful, but I am even more thrilled by the defense- you just don’t see that from anybody! I love what Mike Krukow said on knbr this morning- that there had been a buzz about what a great shortstop Simmons is, but by the end of this series, you were the mlb’s most talked about shortstop. By the way, my mom and are were on our feet screaming happily at the tv. Good on ya!

It is big news that your daughter is cutting her molars!! The Atlanta sweep was bitter sweet for me, you see, I come from a Giants family. My dad played for a Giants minor league team in the late 40 ‘ s & we always had at least two radios and the TV playing the games. Then the 80’s came and they blacked out the TV games in Nevada ….Braves were on TBS so we would listen to the Giants and watch the Braves. My son’s grew up watching the Braves with their Grandma….so that is their team. I love my Giants but have so many wonderful memories with my mom and the Braves…she died 5 months ago. Any way, we will be at the Park Monday when you face them again, I’ll have my Chipper jersey on to honor my mom & so will my son. My hubby and my son’s wife will have on their orange and black! You are my Daughter in law’s favorite player. I love all you but mama’s are more important! Great games, great hits!

You are wrong! Braylyn’s molars are coming in is very exciting. Yeah! She’s growing up! Always exciting! You guys played out of your skins in Atlanta. So happy and proud! I know that is the level that is going to very common with you guys because you are just that talented!! You yourself were splendid in the field. Granted Simmons didn’t have the same kind of chances that you did but after saying that you showed what you can do and you showed it spectacularly! Great job!!! Love you guys!!!

I think you are such a good writer! I hope some day in the far future you will write you story as a Giant in a best seller book. And it is very nice of you to take the time to keep us up to date. The molars coming in are almost as important as your two home runs, well almost! I look forward to each of your at bats and your plays on the field. You were born to be a Giant!

Congratulations on your two home runs yesterday as well as the series sweep🙂 My husband told me today that he ordered me a Crawford jersey for Mother’s Day! (he’s not very good at keeping secrets, but he pretty awesome) good luck with your baby girl cutting teeth, I remember how hard it was on our oldest to get his 1st year molars in… Not fun! We are still waiting for our 8 month old Hunter to get his first tooth… We know it’s coming soon!

Craw, your defense has been on POINT! The two HR game was pretty darn awesome, too! Can’t wait to see you guys back at home! Keep up the great work! SO MANY EXCLAMATION POINTS!!! #InBrandonsWeTrust

You’re an amazing shortstop! Really fun to watch! Go Giants!!

Thanks for the update and such great defensive play that is obviously a result of your talent and your hard work at your craft. Oh, and the homers are sweet too. I (and I’m sure many Gfans) appreciate the game face as well.
Go Giants! Win this extra!

You’ve had some amazing defensive plays the last few games that I just can watch over and over again. Love the home runs too. Keep it up!!!

Hey hey now….No cackling smiles! Though….I suppose we’ll let that one slide since you hit two homers! Awesome ball being played the days! Keep it up! Haven’t been to a game yet this season, but itching pretty bad!! See you soon!

Golden Glove player in the making knocking it out of the park now. Doesn’t get any better than that! So fun to watch. Sitting here now watching the 12th inning of the Giants/Pirates game. You guys sure know how to keep your fans on the edge of their seats! Frozen bagels are good for a teething baby to gnaw on. That and baby Tylenol. ‘Hope that helps. 🙂

Congrats on your offensive and defensive plays against the Braves! I live in AZ and do not get all your games on TV here so I felt so lucky to have seen your 2 home runs yesterday.
I look forward to each game I can catch.

The game just ended. You’re heading to the clubhouse after another nail biting, fabulous win! My son asked me why the Giants always wait until the last minute to win. I just smiled and shrugged and said, well, because they’re the best.
Here’s to another great game. Thanks!

Simmons ain’t got nothing on you, Brandon! Gold Glove this year, kid! And another awesome game tonight too…..keep it going!

Great series in Atlanta. You guys keep on finding unique ways to win baseball games. It sure fires up the fans. BTW – I’d say that your adjustments to hitting lefties have worked well.

Enjoy your sleep on the road. Teething can lead to sleep deprivation in parents, so best of luck with that!

Although you’re a quiet guy, you’re a huge asset to the team. You come in with clutch hits and make some incredible plays at shortstop. Well done B-Craw! It’s a real treat watching you guys. The Brandons are definitely a force to be reckoned with.

you folks played amazing today! who was amy rooting for?🙂

When are you gonna do one of those behind the back flips or bounce throws? I saw the video on YouTube of you doing them in the minors. Is there a chance that you could actually do one in a game? Are you ready to do them if the perfect ground ball is actually hit to you?

Craw, your defense has been on POINT and your 2 HR game was just the icing on the cake! Keep up the great work! Can’t wait for you guys to come back home so I can show off my Crawford shirt (I almost shat my pants when I found your shirt at Champs, but that’s another story)! SO MANY EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!!! #InBrandonsWeTrust

HELP- coming to a game on Monday and just learned from my hubby how stat illiterate I am. He knows all the stats… How can I catch up in a hurry. any advice?

soooo glad we finally won tonight by the way!!!!

I love this blog (first time commenting) and Cole gave a funny interview on the pirates broadcast where he mentioned breakfast with you.
Love watching the homers (obviously), but love the defense even more.
Please keep blogging. It’s awesome. (Especially the wives pinch-blogging)

Well it didn’t rain for you for that first Pittsburgh game but that was a marathon! You are such an acrobat you always amaze me but it is rare for you to lose the ball too bad that 2nd base umpire got in the way of that throw or you might have gone home earlier. Go Giants!

Can’t begin to tell you how excited I was to see you hit not one but two home runs. My daughter was just bagging on your hitting difficulties so when she walked in the door I hit her with, “Guess what? Brandon just hit two home runs and won the game for us!” Her reaction was disbelief but they kept running you hits over and over so she had to be impressed. Your fielding is almost always impressive but those backwards throws to first are always amazing to see.

What a game last night! You guys must be exhausted….over 5 hrs! I have a probably dumb question…..why did Bochy put different pitchers up to hit? I’m guessing it’s because he has to put a pitcher in the pitcher slot but how did it get to be in the # 4 position? Oh and the review of your near out at second. Sure looked like you had him originally but then in the other shots it was pretty clear that when you went for the body, you didn’t make it in time. Darn.

Incidentally I love 24 but I couldn’t turn off the game to watch its premier last night. Thankfully I have it taped! If you go 13 innings today, I’m going to miss it as I have an art class tonight but then it’s only til 8:30 so you might still be playing…..hopefully not. GO GIANTS! You’re awesome.

Congrats on the 2 HR accomplishment! I am going to have my 13 year old son start reading your blog. He is on a travel ball team and the home run has yet to be hit. He will be totally captivated by your perspective both at bat and defensively.
Great win against the Pirates last night…hope you got some sleep!! GO GIANTS!

Keep up the great play on your end Brandon, and I get the molar’s coming in, it’s not very pleasant time, sleepless nights, constant crying and I am sure you’re missing them but poppa gotta make that paycheck! Keep up the strong work!

You continue to make amazing plays each and every game – even if your “shovel” play last night didn’t make it, what an effort – and enough for a close call at the plate! And the grab, spin and launch from this weekend was amazing.

I do have a question for you and the rest of the B’s…I notice that Pence talks to just about everyone on the opposing team…every base…and the umps. How much camaraderie/enmity is there between teams? Do you chat each other up after the game, if you see each other outside of the game? Given that your sister dates Cole, I’m assuming you HAVE to talk to him. At least on holidays.🙂

Whenever all you players make stellar plays I always wait to see how you react. And you all are so cool about it! So when the camera caught you smile after that play, I couldn’t believe it! Haha! Keep up the awesome defense Brandon! Or should I say Team Brandon🙂 considering the last play against the Pirates. :))

Enjoyable reading again, it’s interesting to hear your experiences and take on how plays happen It gives another interesting layer to watching you play and team mates as well Sadly i cant afford cable right now i listen on the radio n get a viual on Twitter for homeruns but i wish great defensive plays were shown too! Looking forward to Friday’s NBC game so make some awesome plays then🙂 Your “dad” comments always cool

When you hit the second home run – I turned and said to my husband – he’d better blog about it! lol Love reading the blog – keep up the good work! Enjoy your visit with your sister.🙂

Thanks for sharing the story about the “game face”…..loved it. I’ve said it before and I will say it again “it is like watching a ballerina (sans the tutu) on the field when you make those plays”. Go Giants.

Brandon you are a stud! I’m so proud and excited for you for hitting those two homeruns in that game and your fielding is just exceptional. I know you know all this already, but I just have to say it.
In 2011 when you were still on Fresno’s team you played the Reno Aces and I was sitting next to the Fresno dougout. (We live in Reno) I was so “geeked out” about being able to see you. I knew you would be brought up to the Major’s soon and just be awesome. You hitting that grand slam your first game proved me right🙂 I have been a Giants fan my whole life and meeting Brett Butler is the closest I have gotten to meeting any player. My daughter just loved him when she was 3 and when he broke his foot, she would pray for him everyday , so we were able to meet him and take pictures with him before an Aces game. I hope someday her and I can meet some current Giants players as well.
Keep up the awesomeness..

Oh and being my name is Amy, i’m thinking your sister has a pretty cool name🙂 have a great visit with her.

So proud of our San Francisco Giants.
Hopefully they’ll NOT overlook you this time as a GOLDEN GLOVE winner!

So proud of our San Francisco Giants!
Hopefully you will NOT be OVERLOOKED as a Golden Glove Winner.
I really enjoy the posts you guys post on your blog.

Brandon, All I can say is you are an incredible SS!!!! One of the best if not the best!!!! Those were some awesome plays you made! And so was the one you made last night in that crazy unbelievable game! You may not have gotten the ball to 2nd…which couldn’t be helped…but what a grab!!!!!!!!! You are so much fun to watch! Loved listening about your plays in Atlanta. I always notice that “game face”…so serious!!! You make those tough plays look easy! You’re amazing! Cant wait for you guys to be back at AT&T too! I can only imagine how much you miss your children! Good luck tonight! You guys are on FIRE!!!! Hope it continues!!! Thanks for the post!

Yay!! Braylyn’s molars are a big deal! It is exciting to see the small changes…it can be a miserable time though, those teeth can be so painful.

Congrats on the homers, and congrats on your awesome plays! I love watching you play and I appreciate your ability to stay humble…but cracking a smile every now and then isn’t bad either.

How is Bam Bam’s game going?

Thanks for the post, Brandon! Love to hear about everything!

You are a giant Giant Brandon! Your blog is great too.

Great post on the At Bats and the HRs. It’s details and nuances like that that keep a lot of us coming back.

Was so excited for you and the TWO HOME RUNS! No matter how you slice it that is a great game for you and your fans. You all are doing great keep up the good work.

Brandon…I have a great idea for you and Brandon when you guys get ready to retire from playing baseball. You guys can be the future Kruk and Kuip! You would make a great broadcast team!! Think about it….B and B, Brandon and Brandon brings you your play by play, (for the Giants, of course)!!

I like JoAnn Daniel’s remark of B & B brings play by play broadcasting. That would be Kewl! Now teething babies is hard. The crying, drooling constantly, and chewing anything they can fit into their mouths is very trying. Baby Tylenol helps with the pain. Talk with your Pedi doc. Jalynn has 2 mothers to chat with for advice on that too. Good luck and happy sleep when you two can.
Now baseball: great games. TORTURE just like the Giant’s way. Love it. You all are doing great, keep up the good work. As you guys already know, we fans love and support you win or lose. Together We Are GIANT! Hugs ❤

I’m not saying this because I’m a Giants fan and a Brandon fan but I’m saying this because this is the God honest truth. You deserve a gold glove. All those defensive plays are eye opening haha you make it look so easy. Last nights game was awesome. Long but awesome. Watched every minute of it. I felt like it was midnight for us here back home. Tough loss today😦 hope you guys can get a win tomorrow (esp with your sis’s bf on the mound haha). Take care!

As a parent, I feel your pain about the teething of molars! Your defense is amazing, and I’ve been saying since last year, you deserve a Gold Glove! You make those difficult plays looks so easy and your hard work and dedication to the Giants is obvious. Thank you for bringing it every day! Congrats on hitting both homers in one game…..that was a great night! Love watching Giants ball and keep it up!

Toddler molars is totally exciting news!! Amber teething necklaces if she’s fussy:) Awesome entry today, love reading the details of your at bat. And your defensive plays! Amazing! Enjoy your family park time when you get back home.

Great series in Atlanta. Thank you for taking the time to keep us fans informed and in the loop. Go beat LA!

Not fun when the back teeth break gums to grow. Good luck! Hope you stocked up on hylands teething tablets

Always exciting to see the defensive plays, and the homers are the icing on the cake. Keep working hard!

BC: I had my wife and 2 boys at the Monday (G1) Pittsburgh game. We drove out from NJ and had great seats behind your dugout. It was a very exciting game, what with 21 runs! Our little guy conked out top-11th but we heard Miller call the 13th back at the hotel–very memorable for my 5 & 6 yr old. Cutch ran a long way to make a nice grab on that ball you hit. I felt bad for Hicks–he had good AB’s and smoked one at the LF’er. They will drop for him–he is a key man so far & we pull for him. It is a special team. Up close Mon night, you could SEE that it is a TEAM. It is a joy to watch this team. Good luck. My dad is Giant fan from when he was 10 yrs old when they won the 1936 pennant and lost the series to the Yankees. He’s been in the hospital but is doing better lately. He loved it that his grandson’s got balls at the game & so forth. I think we will make that trip next year, as it was so much fun. Good luck.

Forgot to ask you: during BP Monday night, as the Bueno Pelo group was finishing up, a pitcher absolutely laid out for a ball in right center right at the end. Everyone went nuts. We could not tell who it was. It seemed like it might have been Lincecum, but I don’t want to spread rumors. We were speculating that Bochy was probably not as amused as the rest of us. Can you reveal who it was? Thx.

Happy Mother’s Day to Jalynne. You’re right, we parents do understand. By the way, not only is your glove turning gold, your bat is too. What fun it is to watch you spin and throw.

Happy Mother’s day to your wonderful wife! So upset about Belt ‘ s thumb..poor guy, poor team, poor fans!

Brandon, you are so much fun to watch at short! I love that position. My dau was a great one herself. You have really come one this year!! Keep it live!!

Brandon, so thrilled for you this season. You have worked and persisted and now you have really evolved. This is my favorite position–SS–and you are becoming notable this year. All-Star, GG bond!!! My dau played a mean SS. Love it!!

Congrats on your 2 homers!! I watched that game on tv. You’re the best SS out there as you really made great plays. I can’t wait to watch you guys play this Friday. This is only our 2nd time at AT&T so we hope to see you guys during practice. We love to see Metallica too!! You are my son’s favorite player and he’d like to play SS someday. He calls you pretty boy every time you made great plays. He’s a pitcher and 3rd base as he has great arms. He’s only 11. Unfortunately, he has to pull out off his little league team since I am getting ready for my kidney dialysis and transplant. So, I promised him that we will watch the Giants game while I still have some energy. He’s a musician too – he plays guitar, drums, piano and sings that’s why he’d like to see Metallica as well. I hope you’ll continue to excel to be the best SS out there. Good luck!! Happy Mother’s Day to Jalynne too!!

Great game, great play. I was very happy to saw your two homers in that game and gread defense. And i love to see your both faces – game face and the smile!

Brandon C.: you are doing an absolutely amazing job. Please don’t rely too much on your game face; we love seeing your smile. If you go to the Kruk and Kuip site, you’ll see how many appreciate what you do. Golden Glove, here it comes! And keep us posted on your family…………we enjoy hearing about your beautiful girls, all three of them!

Brandon, I know there’s tough competition in the shortstop position…but I’d really like to see you get into the All Star game this year. You’re a Gold Glover in the future and it’s been a real honor to watch you play the game. In the not-too-distant past we used to pray the ball wouldn’t go toward the shortstop…now we all have nothing but confidence when the play is on you.

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