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 continue embarrassing stretch against rebuilding Padres

Giants continue embarrassing stretch against rebuilding Padres

SAN FRANCISCO — Three years ago, the Giants and Padres were the two teams in it until the very end for Pablo Sandoval’s services. He ended up in Boston, and when he became available again over the past week, the Padres politely backed away. 

They prefer youth and Rule 5 Draft picks. They came into this season knowing they might lose 100 games, and they didn’t mind. If anything, they welcomed the increased shot at the top pick in the 2018 draft. They’re here to tank, but the Giants (who expect to welcome Sandoval back on a minor league deal as soon as Friday) just won’t let them. 

Thursday’s 5-2 loss to San Diego was like so many others over the past calendar year. The Giants didn’t hit, they didn’t come through in the clutch, they did not support their starting pitcher, and they did not guarantee a handshake line. 

The Giants have lost 15 of 20 to the Padres since last year’s All-Star break, including three straight last July to kickstart a tailspin that has lasted over a year now. They have dropped four of five meetings in this second half, which was supposed to prove that a Padre-like rebuild is not needed up here in the Bay Area. They are five games behind the Padres in the race to finish a distant fourth in the National League, and in a season full of disappointment, that stands as one of the more embarrassing facts. 

Not even Madison Bumgarner’s return to AT&T Park could turn the tide. The lefty looked good most of the night, but two homers left him with a rougher-than-hoped line. Bumgarner gave up four earned on two homers. He has allowed multiple homers in back-to-back games for the first time in his career. Both starts have come against the Padres. 

“I’ve got to stop giving up homers,” Bumgarner said of his start. “That’s not going to work.”

Bumgarner said he felt fine physically, and his curveball — the pitch that has backfired on him most often since his return — feels right mechanically. He was facing his last batter in the seventh as George Kontos warmed up with a runner on. Corey Spangenberg hit a two-run shot to the deepest part of the yard to make it 4-2. 

Buster Posey flied out with the bases loaded in the eighth. The Giants brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth but couldn’t score, which has been the norm against the Padres. The Giants are averaging just 3.2 runs per game during this 20-game stretch of futility against a team they once dominated. 

“We need to win ballgames right now,” Bumgarner said. “We’ve got to start doing that. There’s no magic solution. We’ve got to start playing better, all of us.”

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways as homers hurt Bumgarner vs Padres

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways as homers hurt Bumgarner vs Padres

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — A day after he did his press conference from a “Game of Thrones” throne, manager Bruce Bochy said he was happy the Giants won their series finale against the Indians and kept that plan in play. In that respect, he’s lucky his team wasn’t facing the Padres on Wednesday. 

The Giants were on Thursday, however, and they continued their baffling stretch of ineptitude against what is supposed to be the worst team in the National League West. The 5-2 loss to San Diego was the 15th in the last 20 meetings between the two teams, one of which has a $200 million payroll and the other of which is actively tanking. 

The Giants had a shot at a comeback in the eighth, but Buster Posey flied out to right with two outs and the bases loaded. Here are five things to know, if you are the curious type: 

—- Madison Bumgarner has faced the Padres twice since returning. In 13 1/3 innings, he has allowed 10 hits and seven earned runs. He is getting hurt by a familiar problem for the 2017 Giants: The Padres have four homers off Bumgarner in those two starts. Hunter Renfroe and Cory Spangenberg took him deep Thursday, with Spangenberg hitting one out to the deepest part of the yard on Bumgarner’s final pitch. 

—- This is the first time in Bumgarner’s career that he has allowed multiple homers in back-to-back starts. 

—- Kyle Crick showed good stuff — sitting 96-97 — while stranding a runner on second in the eighth. He followed that with a scoreless ninth. The Giants should make it a priority to throw him into some deeper water over the next two months. 

—- There’s an epidemic these days of outfielders making foolish throws to the plate. We see it just about every night, and it cost the Padres in the sixth. Gorkys Hernandez was on second and he took off right away on Denard Span’s single to right. Renfroe had no play at the plate but he threw it anyway and Span took second. He scored when Eduardo Nuñez singled to left. 

—- The Giants announced their second consecutive sellout. That’s a streak. Maybe?