03 March 2011
Brandon Crawford is a Giants fan, and not just because he was ranked as their 6th rated minor league prospect at a time when Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner were #1 and #2. Brandon Crawford is a Giants fan because he grew up a Giants fan. His Dodger-hating credentials are legit. And he was nice enough to let us ask him a bunch of questions (and only 10% of the questions were about Eric Surkamp!)
Brandon has been playing shortstop for the Giants in spring training, and Jon Miller talked about him on the radio the other day, saying his glove has been "major league ready" for some time now. I think we all want to see Brandon make it big FAST, i.e. before Sabean is tempted to sign Miguel Tejada to a 7-year deal that covers him until he's able to order off the senior menu at Denny's.
Brandon was extremely generous with his time and was a great interview. The only downside is that after his last comment, he may never get to hang out with Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart, OJ Mayo, OJ Simpson....you get the idea.
You grew up in the Bay Area. Were you a Giants fan? If so, how exciting was it to get drafted by your favorite team?
I've been a Giants fan my whole life. My dad has had season tickets since before I was even born. It was very exciting getting drafted by them. I couldn't have asked for a better organization to go to, and it was always my dream to play for them someday.
If you'd been drafted by the Dodgers, then, I assume you would have immediately quit baseball and taken up a new profession? So for those who aren't familiar with your game....you're a shortstop. Is there a major league shortstop with a similar type of skillset we can compare you to?
Haha Yes, of course. Can't wear that blue.
It's hard for me to compare myself to somebody who's been playing in the big leagues for years. I'd say I'm a defensive shortstop with the ability to eventually hit for average and drive some balls. I've heard comparisons to Stephen Drew and J.J. Hardy in the past. It's humbling for me to be compared to any everyday starting big league shortstop.
You played in Richmond for the last 80 games or so last year. What was the jump to AA ball like? And where are you slated to start the season this year?
I actually started the season in Richmond and got hurt about 80 games in. I made the jump from high A San Jose to AA Connecticut in '09. The biggest difference I saw was the pitching. The pitchers in AA really know how to put the ball where they want it with any of there pitches at almost any time. It was the first time I really noticed a lot of movement on fastballs (2-seams and cutters). The Eastern League is definitely a tough hitters league.
I'm not sure where they plan on starting me this year. Hopefully Spring Training goes well and I guess we'll see after that.
Do you have any goals for yourself for the season, either statistical or in terms of what level of play you end up at?
It's hard to concentrate on playing when you get too caught up in exact numbers you want to put up during the season. I want to improve my plate discipline and staying with a consistent approach and swing, and, if I do that, the numbers will be there in the end. Obviously, I just want to be ready to perform at my best at whatever level I'm assigned to throughout the year.
What is life in the minor leagues like? What's the best and worst part of it?
Busy. You're at the park or in a bus almost all season. For a 7pm game, position players are typically there around 2 and don't leave the stadium until about 11. All the traveling is done by bus from double-A down to rookie ball. Last year in Richmond, our shortest ride was 2 hours to Bowie, Maryland, longest was about 12 hours to Portland, Maine, and had pretty much everything in between. I think the worst part is having to be cramped in those buses for such long periods of time. The best part, for me, is being able to see so much of the country. I also love being able to sleep in for those 7pm games.
So, how good were you in little league? Did you dominate?
I was good, but definitely did not dominate. I always made the all star team, but wasn't one of the studs on the team. I was always pretty average in height and size, and it seems like the bigger kids dominate in little league. I hit my first home run over an actual fence when I was 11. I played some short, but I actually pitched and caught a lot when I was young. I think my first little league card had me listed as a catcher.
Alright, so walk us through your experience watching the 2010 World Champions. When was your "oh wow they could actually do this" moment. When was your "oh crap, they're going to blow this damn it" moment. Did you go to the games? Watch on TV?
It was awesome. Seeing guys I've played with playing on a stage like that was very cool. When they made that run during August and September, I really thought they had a chance. Once they made the playoffs, with that pitching staff, I thought they could actually be a favorite to win. I went to game 2 in San Francisco and watched the rest on TV. It was great to see SF so excited about the team and the stadium going so crazy.
Let's say you get called up this year. Who do you want as your roommate on the road?
Haha Never thought about it, funny question. I guess I'd go with Buster or Bum because I played with them for most of 2009 and they're a couple of my better friends on the team. No offense to anyone else...haha I guess Freddy would be a good one to room with too. We could build our up-the-middle/ double play chemistry.
My next question was going to be different but now that I found out you're friends with Buster Posey, I have to ask you: We all think he's perfect. Like a Jesus figure almost. He's gotta have a weakness, right? Does he suck at cards or something?
Umm...nope pretty much perfect
Alright, last question. Well, three, actually. First, my UCLA fan friend wants to know your take on the most obnoxious USC athlete of the past decade. As for Giants stuff, we have an Eric Surkamp fan club on our website because he was the first person to do an interview with us and we like him. Would you be willing to join it? And, if Eric Surkamp faced nobody but you all season, what would his ERA be?
Surkamp........Sure, I'll join the Surkamp fan club. We played together in the Cape Cod league in college so we've known each other for about 4 years now. I think I faced him our freshman year at college, but I don't remember what I did. It's been awhile since then though so I don't know how I'd do.
USC question.........Aren't they all?
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