The Next Generation of Baseball Reporting
I'm San Francisco Arts and culture writer. Tony Bravo and I'm hosting zoom events about the future of fashion after the major upheavals of twenty twenty join us on Thursday. July thirtieth. SF CHRONICLE DOT com slash membership for details. Hello and welcome to the giants flash I'm Henry showman giants beat reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle. My guest today is my counterpart at the San Jose Mercury News Carrie Crowley. Just twenty six years old Crowley has already established himself as one of the nation's best and most versatile baseball writers and multimedia reporters. He's talented tireless, and most of all, he respects his elders. We're GONNA talk to carry about his hall of Fame High School Football Career at Saint Ignatius why baseball writing was not his first choice and covering the team he rooted for as a kid and as a native. Generation San Francisco. Well, how low Kerry? How are you doing? We're one week into the baseball season. Are you ready to give it up yet? I'm not ready to give it up yet Henry I missed it so dearly and I know that it's probably not advisable that we should be doing this that we should be covering baseball as if it's normal but I just love getting out to the ballpark right now it is so refreshing to go out there and leave the house right now that if I'm able to do it safely and in a mask I. Pass up the opportunity. Okay. Well, that makes one of US ABBA interested in So I WANNA start off by just getting a little bit about your background. First of all I it just strikes me when I look at your by O- on the the mercury news page in like at the end of one of your stories, it says that you are a multimedia reporter for the for the Mercury News in the. Bay, Area News Group, and all that, and this is obviously something in my era. We would never have I have have become a multimedia reporter, but the one difference is when I went to school, you didn't learn anything but how to write and how to type in how to ask questions maybe you went to that little school down there in the desert what was that called? You I, imagine that your upbringing as she was a lot different than mine. I mean when you talk about multimedia, what what is it that you train for their well for starters Henry I actually did not major in print journalism, which was an option when I signed up to attend the cronkite school say I majored in broadcast journalism because I wanted to go onto television I wanted to pursue a career in a TV as a sports anchor or is a play by play voice. That was my dream growing up I always wanted to be the next John Miller, day flemming Duane Kuyper, and by the time I was all set to graduate and get my degree get my bachelors and Masters I quickly learned that I was not a very sought after candidate in the world of broadcasting and the writing internships that I did on the side to kind of pay the bills and college we're going to be my better bet to a career in sports journalism and so. I, was definitely trained in terms of bibliography and shooting sequences shooting standups. Of different things like that, and in play by play was really my passion when I was at school. So my formal written education came completely on the side from the internships that I did and it was kind of funny how I ended up pursuing a career in sports writing after spending four years and a considerable amount of money trying to television yet, and you know you, you do a podcast every day now which by the way stop it just just. recapping the game before and if you listened to it, it's almost done like a sports cast where you're talking and then you cut into the audio from the from the zooms that we do with the players in the manager I I would imagine that learning how to edit edit a video and audio when you were in college probably helps you in that regard. Does it not? Yeah it was critical to understand how to do that because I'm producing and putting the entire podcast. Together cutting all the audio clips and then splicing things together with a written script. So understanding how to work programs like adobe rush. Adobe audition. Dobie premier is foundational and being able to do this for me because we just don't have the resources to do a daily podcast. So if it was something that I wanted to do I had to do it all on my own and it's working out so far Henry but I will tell you when I was finishing recording Wednesday. Evenings episode live on Thursday at five. Am I finish up around one am and I was really wondering what the Heck I got myself into yeah. Well, I mean now you're committed for the rest of your career I mean, that's the problem. Now Y- you just explained all of the different programs that you use and what I heard was Bob. Blah Blah Blah. But I'm sure that some of are younger listeners to this podcast will know exactly what you're talking about and I. Marvel, even at the we we hire I, mean the people we hire now are multi media reporters especially for the gate not just to the gate I mean for the online portion of our website. You know we have online only only reporters in they better have video and audio experience coming in. Now going back to your broadcasting career, it's probably a little known fact 'cause you don't advertise it very often, but you did do some play by play in baseball release color work. Back East did you not? Yeah I was the play by play Voice of the born braves and the Cape Cod Baseball League for two summers and giants fans might be familiar because I'm sure they've read your stories, Andy Bagley Stories Alex, Pavlovich Stories, and. Plenty of others have written about all the giants draftees who came out of the Cape Cod. Baseball League Buster Posey's Jock panic brandon cropper brandon belt Tim, Linski they all spent their summers there before they got drafted and so it really gave me an opportunity to ingrain myself in the baseball community to get a handle on play by play broadcasting and it was incredible because I look across the Major Leagues Henry and the First Base platoon that my born braves team was using back in two thousand fifteen was the left handed hitter was Brennan. McKay who's now pitching and playing first base for the Tampa Bay rays is a two way player and the. Right handed hitting first baseman was Pete Alonzo who was the rookie of the year in two, thousand nineteen and so five years ago I was going out to elementary school fields or high school fields and calling play by play for no one. No fans in the stands and watching these guys tear it up and ultimately become a million dollar bonus guys right and You know of course, the scouts loved to go see the wooden bat leagues they have them in the Midwest they have they have an in anchorage, Alaska and Alaska because you know these guys are all hitting with metal bats and you can learn different things by watching them. On a wooden bats now you have been doing fill in work, it can be our So you're keeping up some of your you know your audio skills I mean, do you still have a dream at some point to maybe do television or radio on a full-time basis? I think absolutely that that would be my goal is to somehow do writing and radio or TV at the same time. I'd love to be able to cut back a little bit on writing and do a little bit more multimedia and cover bay area sports in the entire various or seem like that. But right now, I feel so fortunate to be filling in are on A. Part time basis I'm actually doing Friday morning show at five am so the. On a Friday morning will be treated if there are any at that time of day. So I, I've really enjoyed it. It's just a passion of mine to be able to talk about sports and to do it in the area where I grew up because quite frankly henry I I don't think that I would feel comfortable going into another market and talking about the local teams because I don't know their history and you can learn it but you didn't grow up with it. And that's what gives me in my opinion a little bit of an advantage here in the bay area is I was born and bred in San Francisco I grew up reading your stories in the Chronicle John Shea stories in the chronicle Bruce Jenkins Scott officer were to my favorite writers, and so to have that kind of foundational background was really critical for me to have have the confidence to do this and I'm saying that. I believe you're succeeding in spite of reading my article. I was going to ask you about your your upbringing a little bit now you know you're you're you're from San Francisco family obviously a tell us about your allstate of career as a defensive back at. Well. My career is a defensive back. Didn't last very long because I started there one game my junior year. I. Varsity starred ended up having an interception but the other team also realized that if they attacked me on every play their chances of scoring absolutely skyrocketed to an exponential degree in so I, moved over to the offensive side of the ball for my senior year and started running back and we were okay we went three six warning the regular season and in high school you get into the postseason based on your strength of schedule and so we play a really tough schedule we got in as the seven seed I got. Hurt and that was pretty much. The best thing that ever happened to my team is when I went down installed my current roommate as our new running back, he was the fullback at the time ended up playing in college as a running back, and he outrushed me in my ten games in the three games that he started in the playoffs absolutely historic performance for him are championship game was actually against Sacred Heart Cathedral Oracle Park in two thousand eleven the only high school football game ever played it Oracle Park. So I won a trophy there and in two thousand eleven I had as many championships there is buster posey. Well. Did get to play in the game at Oracle Park I did not I went out for the captain's coin toss because I was well trained in determining that we always wanted to defer going into the second half and that was something that was lost on a lot of players, but it was not lost on me. So I, it's funny I I don't know if you know Bonte Hill, but he's a commentator at I do ninety, five, seven, the game, and he was covering that game, and so he he did the lead up to the week for for the San Francisco Chronicle he was doing some San Francisco examiner work as well. He was stringing and he interviewed he came out to interview the players heading into that championship game and he interviewed me even though I was on the physically unable to perform list and we're GONNA play. But the coaches thought that I would be the best speaking representative at the time for the team and so I, ended up talking with Bonnie and that kind of honestly sparked my interest in pursuing a career millions for training. Absolutely I learned on the giants splash on bonds as the best I mean he he he was so good at understanding the high school sports. He's a local San Francisco guy riots no surprise at all right on in you separate your shoulder. I. Believes what? Yeah I did I separated my shoulder I could have gotten a cortisone shot and played but not advisable for an eighteen year old and as we found out not advisable for my team as as we just got so much better when I was Yeah. Yeah Modest Now Yeah how many generations back to your family go in San Francisco six. I like to stay the on my mom side. I, think it's six on my dad's side. It's five I like to say that we were here before the potato famine hit Ireland. So it was right around that time. Yeah. They came right to San Francisco and it is it has been this way in the Crowley and Hayden families in the eighteen fifties. Yeah. I don't know if we were a gold rush Californians are not specifically my mom knows the whole family history, but we have been in the city forever. So there's a lot of pressure with this the reason a of housing prices here too for me out and and making seven generations. Yeah I. Mean I. I don't WanNa I. DON'T WANNA get into too much of your personal life but you live like think in a house with eleven people out. I definitely like I mentioned. Yeah. There's there's five of us out here in the sunset district five blocks up from our high school and it was the the running backs who live here together now while shameless Crowley coming around I'm going around the Cape in eighteen twenty seven. While I mean, that's that's an amazing story. You really don't see a lot of sports. Writers who who are necessarily ingrained in the city that they're. They're covered. I mean A lot of them come from other areas because they've done an internship in a end up staying I mean aside from the fact that you grew up reading chronicle writers in examiner writers in what is or anything about having grown up in the city the things that makes you think that Makes you suited for doing the job you have now That's good. Question I think that just my family's history and my understanding of growing up and listening to my mom's stories of going out to Candlestick Park with her dad and watching Willie mays and Willie mccovey and her favorite players growing up, and then my dad talking about Jerry Rice Joe Montana Bill Walsh understanding that history before I was born really gave me an interest in that. But but the thing that I always go back to the gives me such an advantage round here is really having an intricate knowledge of the immune system because my mom would put. Me On the tervell when I was growing up at ten years old, she'd give me in a friend a ticket to the game when no parents are giving their their kids that type of freedom. But I love getting on Muny I I was obsessed with public transportation when I was a kid and I still somewhat am to this day and she would put us on Muny. We go to the Ballpark we'd sit in the bleachers and watch the game, and then we'd come home and they'd pick us up from West Portal station at ten, forty, five or eleven. Yeah you know I I talked to your mom when she told me that she kept give you one way tickets to the ball. Before we go to break here D. do you remember your first giant's game of the year and what happened I do it was June eleventh two thousand the day after my sixth birthday Shawn estes pitch and he pitched an interleague game against the Seattle. Mariners and he got shelled I informed Shawn Estes this last year when I was talking to him pre game at Wrigley Wrigley. Field we were just sharing stories about how I got into. This and his thoughts on broadcasting I said you know you actually pitched in the first game I ever attended. He goes out I do and I said what you were just awful. I mean you made it really hard to root for you and I think he had a pretty good sense of humor about that. He he does. So if I'm doing my math correct if you were six in two thousand that would make you sixteen now, right? Yeah. Okay well. We're GONNA talk about the giants now that we've got your history and we're GonNa talk about the first week of the giants season and we'll get there right after this. Hi I'm Joe Gear. Fully we're heading into the home stretch twenty twenty campaign, and if you WanNa make sense of the trump biden race and all of the other important campaigns and issues in national and state politics than join me on it's all political. You'll hear from some of the smartest people around from candidates, the journalists to experts, and I'll be there to. It's all political wherever you get your podcasts. Shulman here from the San Francisco Chronicle giants splash with mercury news giants beat writer can be our voice part-time Carrie Crowley. We're recording this probably about What about thirteen hours after Mike? Put One in the water to win the game I was not able to get out to the park last night I did watch the game and I'm just wondering first of all, what was it like watching a walk off homer at home obviously a walk off homer with nobody in the stands totally bizarre totally bizarre I won't get over that scene Henry from Wednesday night because we were both at dodger stadium last Thursday for for the first. Game of the two thousand and twenty season there were fans we knew it was going to be weird and I still thought that there was somewhat of an energy in the air that night maybe it was a, you know just the nostalgia for me of baseball coming back. Maybe it was the way the dodgers were piping in the crowd noise a little louder. But I did feel like there was a little bit more energy a little bit more intensity and life to that game, and so you get to the ninth inning on Wednesday night at Orca Park and the fog's rolling in you don't feel like anyone's going to be able to knock one out of there and then Mikey Stransky. Some celebrates and it was incredible to see the giants poured out of the Dugout and do their social distance celebration and walk off the field and that was it. Usually that that fans hang in the stands. There's the extended celebration there's the onfield interview with amy. there. was none of that on Wednesday night and I don't know that I can completely capture that senior or I don't know that it has sunk in. Yet that this is the reality. All I'm saying I didn't hear anything you said elevate. I just did it did seem weird. So. As we will record this again, they're three and three having split four games in Los Angeles and splitting. The first two games against the PADRES is there anything you've seen in the first six games which is now, which is you know one tenth of the season. That leads you to believe that they could be one of the sixteen teams. It makes it into the postseason. That's a tough question because four I would say eighty percent to ninety percent of these six games and I know work dealing with a really small sample size. But for the vast majority of these Games I've thought they'd look lost I. You know there were two games in Los Angeles where they didn't look ready they came and got boat by the padres even though it was a five three game, they never have a chance it felt like on Tuesday night and then for so much of Wednesday night it felt like it was gonNA follow the same script but Henry this team is showed pretty impressive resilience to come back and win the final two games against L. A. After back to back. Blowouts to have that late comeback with with Donovan Solano. Hitting the three run home run that was so improbable on Wednesday night for Salon to go deep at Oracle Park. So the fact that they've showed resilience during the first week of the season does lead me to believe this team can weather a storm and the first half schedule is really daunting. It's really difficult. This next road trip could make or break their chances to be quite honest with you but in Games Riley yeah. Exactly. But the fact that they've showed this resilience is a sign that they at least have to still be consideration for one of those sixteen spots in it's way too soon to write them off. Yeah, I mean. I'll make a statement and you tell me whether you agree with it. The strength of this team in twenty twenty is going to be a bullpen. Yeah one hundred percent I agree with that in seven days ago I would have completely disagreed with that. But there are a lot of young unproven and fearless arms in that bullpen and these are tough and when they're being used in small opportunities to get three to six outs at a time when many of these guys were former starting pitcher so I think that they're well suited to match up with some of the roster's they're up against. Yeah. And you know, I, think personally to the rotation once it sorts out has a chance maybe not to be top echelon rotation but not not not the worst either because Guzman and Smiley who are both going to end up starting I believe I mean th they're. They seem to they seem to be pretty good. They seem to have an idea and they both also seem to be guys who could benefit from pitching year I think some are. A getting him on track? The way he was last year is going to be you know interesting in Boy Tyler Anderson last night kind of showed that you know he may be captured talked about that. You know the are trying to prove they belong in the rotation and then an outing white tyler Anderson's last night. I'll let you know that he might have a shot I. Mean You you think we could see a rotation I mean it's my view anyway you know Quito Gausman smileys. And Anderson, before a couple of weeks route. I also would add logan, web at mix. Yes. I think that by the end of the season Logan Web has the potential to be the giants best pitcher. I really believe his stuff is that good but you're right about these guys in the newcomers in Gospel, smile and Anderson Smiley looks much more like the two thousand, thirteen, two, thousand, fourteen version of himself. He didn't. Twenty, seventeen, two, thousand, eighteen he didn't pitch in those seasons in twenty nineteen hundred back from injury and man he's got the electric fastball at the split can land for strikes. He could be good on any given night in Anderson really impressed me on Wednesday night because. Get the rough outing in Los Angeles. I just didn't think he looked quite ready to face the dodgers but he carved up that padres lineup. He's so good with runners on base that pickoff move is elite and I do think that if they're facing the lineup two times through and if they are limited to four or five innings at a time and turn things over the bullpen, then this starting staff can be affected. If you're trying to get more out of them I'm not sure that's going to work but that's not gave cavilers philosophy anyway. Did you like? Did you like Cueto's reaction? I mean. We had him on the zoom so you can actually see his body language before you know before I finished asking the question in English before Irwin even translated it. When I said, how do you feel about this new thing where you don't face two times through the more than twice through the lineup and he started doing things with his head like Really asking me this. Watching Johnny Cueto on zoom is an absolute treat and it reminds me I need to cut up some videos of Johnny Cueto on Zoom because not only does he understand Edrich question in English extremely well, he could also respond in English if he Is He's got a master the language. So it's funny that he's still uses the translator and I appreciate it because it's precise. But Johnny Cueto Yeah I think that the whole concept of throwing four to five innings at a time and only facing the lineup twice is something that he's struggling to wrap his brain around and you could tell from the the score Ramon assume call this. Early starting that that he agreed with but yeah So have you gotten any Joey Bark questions at all? Yeah I think that every five minutes. There's a new Joey Bark, question Andrea wh. What is the the Joey Bark question that's on your mind. Well, the joy part question on my mind is how do I keep answering the same question over and over and over when the team is never ever going to admit that this is a service time thing and you know absolutely that this is a service time thing but you saw Chadwick trump last night. Now he didn't get a hit and maybe it's harder to see in person when you're sitting behind them. From my view on television I thought he did a really good job behind the plate You know whereas whereas Tyler Heinemann may have been giving strikes away. I thought Chadwick trump actually a few strikes monkey could be a little quieter back there but but the point I'm trying to make is that the way caught last night and the way Has Been Hitting and I. I realized that in four hours, this could be obsolete because could make the move and bring them up because they're past the service time key. Moment, but they really don't seem like they're under a lot of pressure. Do you think agree that they're not really under a lot of pressure right now based on on Heineman and trump to get up here? Yeah. I I. Don't think that it's a decision that has Sony made today tomorrow or even by Sunday, I think that they can let joy bar. Take a few more at bats in the minor leagues and see a little bit more what they have and Chadwick trump because I agree with you. Henry I, actually had the TV broadcast pulled up in the press box last night so that I could see what trump looks like behind the plate and he was easily the best defensive catcher of the trio. Far In my opinion I mean he really did look like he had a knack for framing pitches that were on the edges of the strike zone and I didn't expect that because all we heard so far with trump is his bat is what's going to carry him potentially to the major leagues potentially to a part time role, and that was a pleasant surprise for the giants. But with the way that Haydn's been hitting with the way that they wanna, see trump behind. The plate I just think that you know you go ahead with those guys and then four days from now if you're not getting it, then you pull the plug Migo with joy bark for the rest of the year. But I think that they're not under the same type of pressure that they were entering the season that they are right now right on and you know at somebody on twitter yesterday said that while all of us beat writers are are good Your your guy, because you know you need you need a for the young generation and you're going to be the guy for for twenty years and you know what? He's not wrong I mean because the rest of US beat writers are. No I. Mean we could still bring it but I mean our time is short probably and I'm just thinking about you perhaps in five years from now watching giants team with Patrick Bali behind plate Joey barred at first base markle Luciano. Elliott Romo's guys who aren't even in the organization yet who who? Sign internationally or draft high kind of making up the core of the next contending team of the giants I just wondering if that excites, you knew if you'll be around long enough to cover that team. I think you'd have to ask the local employers if all around long enough to cover this because you know every every day I think you know there's uncertainty surrounding jobs in the media landscape, and so I never liked to get ahead of myself. It's honestly one of the reasons I really try and do so many different things. It's where I try to podcast. That's why I try to newsletter that sort of thing just to because if you're not adding value, you're going to be the first person that that gets the acts when these hard decisions come and our decisions have been coming in the media industry for. Ten to fifteen years and longer than that, and they're going to continue to come in. So it's depressing in one way that you have to. You know wake up at seven am and write a story after getting home at midnight. But at the same time, I also feel energized by it because I really do a love watching baseball. I love covering baseball and and I love covering at my home market I love being around people who followed the team forever and who have long-term perspectives of the giants organization. So when they see that you know the giants may be didn't put their their most competitive roster on the field. And Twenty twenty by keeping Joey barred out they're not afraid to call it out because they feel like his longtime fans of the team they're owed a competitive product and they can say what they want and I really do appreciate all the back and forth we have with people on social media even though some of it tends to devolve sometimes usually from me. So just last question here for you might have to think about this for a minute. It's something all every one of us who's ever covered. Professional. Sport probably as has thought about who is the one person player coach. Or whatever when you when you finally met them because of your role, you know you're finally able to meet them. You you Kinda were a little in awe is there is there one person you can think of? Yeah, I was Tim Lynch Tim To come at the twenty, nineteen Bruce Bochy sendoff I got to shake his hand and I. I got to have a conversation with him about You know him coming up and me listening to his starts for triple a fresno actually remember sitting around the computer and listening to the audio stream of lince competing, for AAA Fresno against the Tacoma rainiers. and. He he went back and forth with me he had a great story about his time in Fresno and Tim Lynch for me. Was that guy I'll always be in awe of someone who looked like the common man going out to the mound and just dominating majorly caterers and so I I really feel like I haven't had too many of those experiences but Lindsey Graham without a doubt was the answer. Yeah. Well, mine was Ted, Sizemore so I think you win. You'll have you'll have to google that one. I wouldn't I went a little. Okay. Thank you. Billy Grow Barca it's anyway Thank you for joining me Carrie on the giants flash and I tell the listeners here that this is going to be a little reciprocation because an honorable on your podcast I'm GonNa get to answer the questions you get to ask I. Think this has been a lot of fun and I look forward to. Seeing you next time ballpark. Well, in typical Henry Shulman Fashion I. Think this will be posted on the chronicle website ahead of my podcast on the Mercury News. So I appreciate it Henry all right. Thank you. Thank you for listening John Shea and I will have many more giants slash podcast Jerry Strange, and short twenty twenty season. The. Giants splash is a production of the San Francisco Chronicle podcast producers, our King Kaufman and Alan Johnston the theme Song Batter up was written and performed by Lauren gold and rate East Lewis Support the splash and all of our great journalism by signing up for a chronicle membership at SAF chronicle dot com slash pod.