New season means new victory playlist for Crawford, Giants

New season means new victory playlist for Crawford, Giants

SAN FRANCISCO — In 2013, Brandon Crawford spent most of his time hitting eighth. The next year, he moved up a spot, and by 2015 he was a regular in the six-spot. Last year Crawford made 65 starts hitting fifth, his home this season, except on days when the man who used to hit in front of the pitcher will bat cleanup.

It’s been a steady rise, and over time Crawford has added Gold Glove winner, Silver Slugger, All-Star, MVP candidate and Team USA shortstop to his resume. One role hasn’t changed, however.

When the Giants win a game, Crawford quickly transitions into clubhouse DJ for the fifth consecutive year.

When Crawford first took over the speakers — “Nobody else would,” he explained — he leaned over an old clubhouse computer after wins and pulled the victory soundtrack’s songs up on YouTube. These days, he has a carefully curated playlist on his phone. It’s hooked up to clubhouse speakers after every win, at home and on the road. 

Crawford and BP pitcher/replay specialist Chad Chop spent a couple of weeks discussing options before gathering at Crawford’s home for “Hooks and Hoops 2.0.” The summit, started in 2016, is exactly what it sounds like. 

“We shoot jumpers and pick the victory songs,” Chop said. 

Every song on the five-track playlist has a purpose. The 2017 version kicks off with Icona Pop’s “I Love It.”

“It’s upbeat,” Crawford said. “That’s why it’s first. Everyone is coming into the clubhouse, having a good time. It’s a good high-five song.”

As players start to take their jerseys off and head to the weight room or kitchen, they hear “Big Rings” by Drake and Future, one of Chop’s suggestions. Next is a mainstay: “Bounce It” by Juicy J. The song has been on every one of Crawford’s victory soundtracks and is usually the one playing when the starting pitcher begins addressing the media, which, to the amusement of players, can make for some awkward background audio for cameras and recorders. 

“Aside from the lyrical genius of Juice J,” Crawford said, smiling, “It’s just a good win song.”

“Bounce It” has played after hundreds of Giants wins at this point, and it’s not going anywhere. This year’s cleanup hitter is a familiar one, too: “The Humpty Dance” by Digital Underground, which was one of Javier Lopez’s warm-up songs. 

“We put on ‘Big Rings’ which was a song Javi liked and we started thinking about Javi and thought this was a good song, a fun old song, and a good tribute to him,” Crawford said. “It’s a song that gives you a good feeling after you win.”

That’s the simple goal of all the playlists. The fifth and final song this year is literally "Good Feeling" by Flo Rida. Last year’s victory soundtrack was made up of “Bounce It,” Steve Aoki’s “Delirious,” Young Jeezy’s “Go Getta,” Pit Bull’s “My House,” and — naturally — DJ Khaled’s “All I Do Is Win.” It played from April all the way through Game 3 of the NLDS. 

The DJ work isn’t just saved for after the game, either. Crawford took over the BP playlists last spring and he’s back for a second season. Before games, he'll take requests from teammates, some of them surprising (Ryan Vogelsong was partial to "Fancy" by Iggy Azalea. "He loved that song. I don't know what it was," Crawford said last season). He even snuck his music into a late-September game in 2015, when he changed the walk-up songs for every teammate. Buster Posey walked up to “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae),” several players got 90s boy band hits, and George Kontos took the mound to Right Said Fred’s “I’m Too Sexy.”

As he made his first push for MVP votes last summer, Crawford spent some down time working on a another walk-up playlist to spring on teammates during the final home game. He scrapped his carefully-crafted plans because the second wild card spot came down to the final weekend against the Dodgers and it wasn’t appropriate. There are many reasons why a team wants to wrap up a postseason spot well before the final weekend. Add this one to the top of your list.

Giants lineup: Posey catching, Nunez at third base against Braves

Giants lineup: Posey catching, Nunez at third base against Braves

The Giants look to win two straight against the Braves and Bruce Bochy has made a few changes to the lineup Sunday.

Atlanta Braves (21-26)

1. Ender Inciarte (L) CF
2. Brandon Phillips (R) 2B
3. Nick Markakis (L) RF
4. Matt Kemp (R) LF
5. Matt Adams (L) 1B
6. Kurt Suzuki (R) C
7. Rio Ruiz (L) 3B
8. Dansby Swanson (R) SS
9. R.A. Dickey (R) P

San Francisco Giants (21-30)

1. Denard Span (L) CF
2. Eduardo Nunez (R) 3B
3. Brandon Belt (L) 1B
4. Buster Posey (R) C
5. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
6. Justin Ruggiano (R) RF
7. Joe Panik (L) 2B
8. Gorkys Hernandez (R) LF
9. Johnny Cueto (R) P

Belt relates to Arroyo's benching in slump: 'It doesn’t need to be bad thing'

Belt relates to Arroyo's benching in slump: 'It doesn’t need to be bad thing'

SAN FRANCISCO — At this point Bruce Bochy has had plenty of experience working young infielders into his everyday lineup, so he knew exactly which move to turn to when Christian Arroyo dropped into a wicked slump.

With Arroyo hitless in his last 21 at-bats, Bochy sat him Saturday night against the Braves. His plans could always change, of course, but Bochy said he planned to sit Arroyo at least one more game. It’s a move he used most notably in 2013 to help Brandon Belt get back on track.

Belt was in a 1-for-19 rut when Bochy kept him out of the starting lineup for an entire series in Philadelphia. He had just one pinch-hit appearance, but he returned for the opener of the next series in Tampa Bay, notching three hits and a homer. Belt batted .346 the rest of the way.

Asked about that experience and Arroyo's current one, Belt at first made a different point.

“Arroyo has actually been really good for us,” he said. “That road trip we just had, we faced a lot of really good pitchers. There’s nothing for him to hang his head about.”

Belt has actually had several “clear your head” breaks over the years.

“It allows you to reset a little, and with the pressure, you can release that a little bit,” he said. “For me (in 2013) it forced me to make (mechanical) changes and when you have time off you see everything more clearly. You can make changes or go back to something that was working for you before. He shouldn’t look at this as a timeout. It doesn’t need to be a bad thing. You can make adjustments and it can be a good thing.”

Bochy originally planned to rest Arroyo on Thursday in Chicago, but Eduardo Nuñez’s hamstring needed a day. Arroyo started at second Friday against a lefty but got the full night off Saturday. With Conor Gillaspie sidelined for several more days by a tight back and Hunter Pence out the rest of the homestand, there's time for the Giants to contemplate what they want to do going forward.

“We’ll get this sorted out,” Bochy said. “We’ve (worked) him pretty hard. This is to give him a chance to catch his breath, get his mind right, and work on some things.”