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.