When you look back on it, Brandon Crawford has truly lived the life that every baseball fan in America could only dream they could live. Growing up in Pleasanton, California, he dreamed of joining his local team and winning the World Series and could only cringe as they seriously thought about moving across the continent. As he grew as a player and as a man, he began to realize that dream. Now here he stands, the last vestige from his hometown team's dynasty.
Who can forget the picture? Who can forget the image of a young, Brandon Crawford leaning over the railing at Candlestick Park with a sign to his right begging the Giants to stay in town? The photo went viral and tugged at the hearts of every San Francisco Giants fan from coast to coast. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then Brandon Crawford's first moment in the sun would surpass that number. His big, brown eyes opened ever so wide with tears just waiting to be unleashed and his glum look can almost be blamed for keeping the Giants in San Francisco.
Of course, the Giants never left. They stayed. Thus the Dream began for young Brandon. As he grew into a star on the gridiron, the hardwood and the diamond, his Dream never died. Despite America's growing attraction for both football and basketball and despite the fact that he was Foothill High School's starting quarterback -a glamour position- he never stopped believing that he would one day don the Giants' colors.
But despite his productivity for his high school team, the major leagues didn't see him as worthy of a draft pick out of high school in 2005, But he wouldn't let his Dream be deterred. Instead, he went to UCLA where he worked on his skills and polished his game, dreaming the Dream every single day.
And then the day came. After three years in Westwood, Brandon Crawford had been drafted by his hometown Giants. It didn't matter that he was selected with the 117th pick of the 2008 Draft. All that mattered was that the Dream had become a reality.
Over the years as he worked his way through the Giants' farm system, Crawford met a few players who would impact his life in ways that he never could imagine. Players with names such as Belt, Bumgarner, and Posey. Each of these supremely talented players knew that they had the stuff to take the organization to where it had never been: a World Series title. They dreamed of the day that they would ride on open convertibles down Market Street with a million fans swooning over them and confetti decorating their champagne-soaked hair.
Then the big day arrived for each. First, it was Posey, the heartbeat of that long-awaited World Series-winning team. Bumgarner soon followed with his powerful fastball and country swang, knowing full well that he was joining a pitching cast brimming with talent. Belt came a year later, etching himself in the Giants' fan's souls as he blubbered like a baby with a beer in his hand, the moment caught on camera for a reality television show the Giants were starring in that year.
And so the shortstop from Pleasanton waited. But he only waited nearly two months before his first call-up, making his major league debut on May 27, 2011 and hitting a grand slam off of the Brewers' Shaun Marcum in his third at-bat. It was the first of many major league hits for Brandon Crawford. He spent the next two months with the club before going back to Triple-A and was recalled two months after that, late in the year before the Giants had officially been eliminated from playoff contention.
Inspired by his limited experience with the best in the world, Brandon Crawford worked all offseason to ensure that he was the Giants' Opening Day starter. Come Opening Day, he had achieved that goal. Now he was with his friends for the long haul.
What happened next was the Dream that they had dreamed together just a few years earlier. That year, the Giants rediscovered their magic from 2010 and could not be denied their second title in three years, not even when they were down 2-0 against the league-leading Reds in the NLDS. Not even when they were down 3-1 against the formidable Cardinals in the NLCS. Having won both series, they tore through the Tigers in four straight games, winning the Fall Classic in Detroit. At long last, Brandon Crawford was a world champion. And to top things off, he had accomplished this with his friends.
Two years later, magic returned to the City by the Bay, this time beating the Royals in seven hard-fought games. With two rings in hand, Brandon Crawford and his friends sought for more. But times were changing and the dawn of the dreaded Dodgers was at hand.
Now was the time for the personal accolades to shower upon San Francisco's homegrown shortstop. First came the All-Star selection in 2015, then came both the Silver Slugger and Gold Glove in the same, magical year. In the coming years, two more All-Star invitations would come as well as three more Gold Gloves, but no more jewelry.
The media ate up the adorable pictures of him and his family, four children that remind the public of a young Brandon dreaming of the day that he would play for his beloved Giants. As he did years ago, he won over the public's hearts with pictures as he taught his children the value of good friends and family while being fully devoted to the Giants. He may not always recognize it, but together with his wife, they are raising his children to be just like him. And all the public could do was love every blissful moment that he shared on social media.
After 2019, they began to leave. First went Bruce Bochy, the beloved manager that had brought the Bay Area so much long-awaited joy over the past 13 years. Then went Madison Bumgarner and his mighty left arm, longing for a contract the team couldn't afford. Then after a nearly magical 2021, Buster left after battling nagging pain in his knees for years.
And then the Captain left. Brandon Belt had been out of commission for large swaths of time over the past couple of years and management was getting frustrated. The major leagues are still a business, cutthroat as ever in an age where the love for the game is dying in favor of the all-mighty dollar. As Belt left for Toronto, Brandon Crawford stands alone as the last man standing from the Giants' dynasty years, holding on tightly to the Dream -his Dream- that he dreamed oh so long ago.