Bum, Drool and Swinging Away – Brandon Crawford

Still shaking my head about the Warriors last night. Amazing. We know a little about playing in the postseason with our backs against the wall. Really inspiring to watch.

I want to finish up random notes from the last road trip.

Big Bad Bum in San Diego: As soon as Bum struck out Wil Myers for the last out of the inning, I bolted for the dugout because I was leading off. As I’m running in, the field crew is coming out to drag the field, and the crowd suddenly erupts. I’m thinking, “Man, they really like the field crew here.’’ Then I see the dugout emptying. I still don’t really know what happened. Just another day at the ballpark with Bum on the mound.

Swinging away: There are certain things you remember in detail when you play ball. They’re usually the things that don’t happen very often. One of those is swinging on 3-0 counts, which I did in the same game as the Bum-Myers dust-up. I’ve swung on 3-0 counts only five times in my ML career.

The first time was against Johnny Cueto in 2011.   I flew out to left. I didn’t swing on 3-0’s for the next three years, ’12, ’13 and ’14. Last year, I swung three times – for two home runs and a double. And in San Diego, I hit a home run. I’m now 4-for-5 on 3-0 counts.

How do I decide to swing or not? The pitcher, the score, where base runners are, who’s hitting behind me.

In San Diego, the situation was: runners on first and third, one out, nothing-nothing game, and a pitcher – Colin Rea — I had never faced but had watched video on. He’s not a guy who has a huge sinker or anything like that, so I wasn’t too concerned about grounding into a double play. He’s a guy who will occasionally elevate his fastball — something you can hit a fly ball off of. So I figured even if I didn’t get all of it, I’d still get a sacrifice fly and score the runner the third. Bum was on deck. Yes, he’s a good-hitting pitcher, but he’s a pitcher. I wanted to do what I could to get the run in myself. I looked for Rea to throw me a fastball, which he did — though it was a borderline ball four. And since I was ready for it, I got it out.

So I don’t know if this stuff is at all interesting to most people, but for those who wonder about our thought process, I’ll share why I swung away the other three times.

Last year, against Jordan Zimmerman, the situation was 2 outs, nobody on, and a light-hitting batter coming up behind me. If I took the walk, there’d be two outs with me on first. I’m not a big basestealer, so somebody was going to have to hit a double to get me home from first. So I went for it. I had never really hit Zimmerman well in the past, but I knew he was going to come after me with fastballs. He doesn’t want to walk anybody. Sure enough, I got an up-and-in fastball and hit it out.

It was a similar situation against Kyle Lohse, also last year. Two outs, runner on first. We’d need an extra base hit to score the runner. Lohse was another guy who, for the most part, was going to come right after you. He doesn’t want to walk me and put a runner on second base with two outs. So I thought it was a good time to swing away. Maybe I’d hit one in the gap and score the runner from first. I hit a HR to center.

The next one was against the Dodgers. Belt was on second with two outs. Mike Bolsinger, a right-hander, was on the mound. We had a right-handed batter after me, so Bolsinger was pitching around me to get to him. I had just taken a couple good curve balls, so I sat on another one and hit a double.

Having said all this, I know if I swing at a 3-0 pitch and ground out, some people will howl – “Why are you swinging on 3-0??’’ But at least you’ll know why.

A Day at the Zoo: Kristen Posey arranged for players and families to go to the San Diego Zoo when we were there. Buster and Kristen’s son, Lee, who is four years old, came into the clubhouse after a game at AT&T the other day.

“Lee, how’d you like the zoo?’’ I asked him.

He lit up. “Yeah! The giraffe drooled on my head!’’

Love that kid. Fits right in with the rest of us.

Thanks for reading. Go Warriors!

 

10 Comments

Hey Brandon, I love reading about your batting thought process. You teach me more about the game. You’re having quite the year, and we just might see you at the All Star Game! It was so nice to see the large group at the zoo. It’s clear that the team chemistry extends to your off days. Glad little Lee had a memorable experience. Didn’t the giraffe go for Brandon Belt too? Next time you write I’d love to hear more about your little ones. Have a great game today and take the series!

yes, your thought process hitting is very interesting because you have been clutch over the years. Go Giants!!

Absolutely keep sharing those thoughts at the plate. Also Lee’s thoughts about the zoo!

Brandon, my son works at the SF Zoo and Buster is my 5th cousin (although he doesn’t know me). If you guys want a trip to the SF Zoo with a bit extra thrown in, I bet my son can arrange something. Just hit me up.

NIce post! I sometimes wonder why a player won’t swing at 3-0 pitch in certain situations. Just like you, depending what the pitcher’s speciality is, it’s probably going to be a fastball and usually right down the middle. Unless he’s got the ‘take’ sign from the coaches, I’d definitely play the odds. I did it in little league, pony, and in high school with about 75% success. Thanks for your insights… always an interesting read!

DEFINITELY like to know the strategy and thought process behind big-league baseball. It’s like exclusive insight that I know I wouldn’t otherwise be privy to. I grew up playing softball (eons ago…) so have a limited knowledge of the strategy of baseball… other than what I’ve learned from Kruk & Kuip during the broadcast, and dad, who threw out his arm in Spring Training for the then Milwaukee Braves. He still has his catcher’s mitt. It’s really cool. Baseball has such a great history in our country, it’s so timeless. And asking, “Why did he swing on a 3-0 count?” sounds exactly like what I would say sitting on the couch watching the game. My posts are always too long because it’s very cool that you guys connect with the fans – so, let me just ask a question. At Coors field, they extended the height of the screens in their outfield which now robs more hitters of home runs. Are there any rules about distance from plate to left, center, right walls or height of walls? I ask because stats like home runs, etc. are so clutch in baseball. Those are things that players can leave a significant mark in the history books, so it seems like it would definitely affect home run statistics. Baseball has such a long history going back to stats for Babe Ruth, so these things concern me. lol! :0) Thank you… and, yes! GO DUBS!!!! #SeeYouMonday

Thank you for sharing your thought process at the plate. I find it facinating! Keep up the good work!

Love hearing how you guys process what you do! Thanks for the insight. It’s also great seeing all of you enjoy some much needed relaxation and time with the families🙂 Go Giants, Dubs, and Sharks!!

I so much enjoy reading your blogs, and you say: not sure if anybody is interested!
Absolutely we are interested in your thought process while in the batter’s box. We can only imagine what would be going though the mind when facing big league pitching. Thank you for taking the time to put us more into the game! These blogs by your and the other Brandon as well as Gregor are great fun for us, and of course, watching all you guys on the field is a thrill. Thanks again for blogging and especially for your MAJOR LEAGUE plays with bat and glove.

I think we are all interested the players thought processes. I know I am. Thanks for your posts. I find them interesting!

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