Outfielder finds his groove with Boise Hawks

Musically-inclined Rashad Crawford has 17 RBIs in 26 games this season.

tphibbs@idahostatesman.comJuly 10, 2014 

Boise Hawks outfielder Rashad Crawford slides safely into third after a two-run triple Wednesday against the Hillsboro Hops at Memorial Stadium.

KYLE GREEN — kgreen@idahostatesman.com

Boise's Rashad Crawford has rhythm. The outfielder finds his groove at the ballpark and in the studio. Baseball and music are intertwined in his upbringing.

Both his parents played sports collegiately at Fort Valley State (Ga.). His grandfather, Dave, produced "What a Man" in 1968, which later peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the early '90s when Salt-N-Pepa re-recorded the hit.

Discovering something new appeals to Crawford.

"In baseball, you never know what you're going to do on the field," he said. "In the studio, you never know what you're going to create, but you have an idea."

Crawford is hitting above .300 this season for the Hawks. But when he's not working, he's creating his own musical beats.

"I have a studio at my house," Crawford said. "I use an app called Logic Pro. You've got a keyboard and different instruments, and you play along with it until you find a good bass and you go from there."

Surprisingly, Crawford's walk-up music is not Outkast. Considering his Atlanta roots and uncanny resemblance to group member André 3000, a song from their album "Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik" would be appropriate. Not to say Wiz Khalifa isn't working.

In his first at-bat Wednesday, Crawford approached the plate and, almost like second nature, saturated his gloves in dirt before twirling his bat in tune to "Black and Yellow."

The beat never stops.

"I'm not as advanced, piano-wise, but I'm learning so I can venture off into different genres, like guitar," Crawford said. "I've always loved music."

Crawford grew up five minutes from Turner Field in downtown Atlanta before attending high school in Jonesboro, Ga. He developed into a two-sport athlete at Mundy's Mill Hill, with professional aspirations in both baseball and basketball.

"I could have, I really think I could have," Crawford said when asked about playing in the NBA. "Baseball is my first love, I started playing baseball when I was five. I love basketball, too, but it never got to me like baseball did."

After batting above .500 during his senior season, Crawford committed to Savannah State, but to ensure extensive playing time in an attempt to improve his draft stock, he elected to pursue the junior college route.

Crawford never attended Tallahassee Community College, however. Instead, the Chicago Cubs selected him in the 11th round in 2012. The self-described "big Braves fan" signed for $100,000 to wear a lighter-colored blue.

"It's kind of hard when the Braves play the Cubs," Crawford laughed. "I come in the middle."

At 20 years old, Crawford has already switched his allegiance from the Braves and basketball - decisions paying dividends for the Hawks.

On Wednesday, Crawford went 2-for-5 with a bases-clearing triple to extend his hitting streak to nine games. It was his fourth straight multi-hit game and his third straight three-RBI outing.

Crawford had 11 career RBIs entering the season. He has 17 in 26 games.

Perhaps Wiz Khalifa truly is better suited as his walk-up music, but make no mistake:

"Outkast is ever lastin'."

HAWKS 6, HOPS 2

The seven-game losing streak in June seems like a distant memory. The Hawks (14-12) are one game back of first place in the South Division after winning 7-of-8, including four straight. Boise leads the Northwest League in runs scored (167), hits (253), home runs (25) and RBIs (148). Jeffrey Baez went 3-for-5, and Mark Malave added two hits for Boise. Erick Leal earned the win with two strikeouts in five innings. The final game of the series is at 7:15 p.m. Thursday at Memorial Stadium.

Trevor Phibbs: 377-6424; Twitter: @IDS_Phibbs

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