Giants

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.

As Dodgers celebrate, Bochy turns eyes to franchise-altering talent

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As Dodgers celebrate, Bochy turns eyes to franchise-altering talent

LOS ANGELES — The Giants left their dugout quickly after Friday’s loss, escaping a celebration on the mound and a fireworks show in the sky. As Dodger Stadium shook with cheers, Bruce Bochy sat in the visiting clubhouse and smiled. He nodded at his laptop, which earlier had been used to pull up highlights of Japanese two-way star Shohei Otani. 

“He’s good,” Bochy said, laughing. “I absolutely would play him every day.”

Earlier in the week, when it became known that Bobby Evans and Jeremy Shelley were headed to Japan to scout Otani, Bochy said he couldn’t imagine a player pitching and then moving to the outfield between starts. What changed? 

Perhaps it was the tape Bochy saw. Otani throws 100 mph and hits homers with ease. Or perhaps it was the game he watched Friday. The Giants lost for the 94th time, with the big blow coming from a 22-year-old Dodgers star. Cody Bellinger’s blast was the difference in a 4-2 win, and the Giants don’t have a Bellinger, or anything close. Otani, 23, is a long shot for a team that very well could finish with the worst record in baseball. Still, he’s the kind of talent that could help pull the Giants closer in a hurry. He’s the  kind of talent they haven’t developed in years, and Bochy certainly sounded a bit wistful as he talked of the power Bellinger has put on display. 

“You call up a guy and he does that — that just doesn’t happen,” he said. “It’s a rare deal.”

The ninth inning of the Dodgers’ clincher reinforced that point for the Giants. They got a homer from Pablo Sandoval, but he’s playing only because Christian Arroyo — the Giants’ best prospect bet this year — is hurt. Ryder Jones, their 23-year-old prospect, struck out to end the night, dropping his average to .180. 

That set off a celebration for Bellinger and the Dodgers. They have won five straight NL West titles, with three of the last four clinched against the Giants. 

“Congrats to them,” Bochy said. “They’ve had a tremendous year across the board, and they’ve played great baseball. They brought some guys up that really did a great job for them. It’s well deserved.”

Bochy said it was not difficult to watch this one. The division has been wrapped up for months, with only a September slide keeping the Dodgers from clinching earlier. 

“We knew what we were facing here,” Bochy said. 

The Giants have two more against the Dodgers and then six more before a long winter. The Dodgers, on the other hand, will host an NLDS series here at Dodger Stadium. Both Bochy and starter Jeff Samardzija made the same observation, that the Dodgers will have a hard time cutting their deep roster down to 25 postseason players. 

That’s a nice problem to have. It’s a foreign one right now for the Giants, who have a serious talent gap and no clear solutions internally. It’s no wonder, then, that Bochy has all of a sudden become so intrigued by a wondrous talent overseas. 

Samardzija hits two milestones, makes 200-200 club in start vs Dodgers

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Samardzija hits two milestones, makes 200-200 club in start vs Dodgers

LOS ANGELES — When the Giants gathered for spring training in February, team officials thought they had put together a rotation with four 200-inning arms. The starters didn’t come close to hitting that lofty goal, but one Giant got to the 200-inning mark Friday night. 

Jeff Samardzija hit 200 innings in the third inning Friday night at Dodger Stadium, reaching the standard for the fifth consecutive season. Samardzija also became the first Giant this year to reach 200 strikeouts when he struck out Curtis Granderson to open the second inning. The right-hander will be the only member of the rotation to reach either milestone, with Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto limited by injuries and Matt Moore having a down year. 

“These guys like Jeff that are able to handle that workload that he does and log 200 innings and have durability, that’s invaluable,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “You look at what it does for the ‘pen but also the quality of innings he gives you. His record should be different with how he has thrown the ball — he can’t control that. But the workload itself is important.”

Samardzija became the first Giants right-hander to strike out 200 in a season since Tim Lincecum (220) in 2011. Samardzija joined Carlos Martinez as the only National League pitchers who have thrown 200 innings this year, and Max Scherzer, Jacob deGrom, Robbie Ray, Martinez and Zack Greinke in the league’s 200-strikeout club.