SAN FRANCISCO -- In this season of giving gratitude, Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford is thankful for his health and his family's. Because he's acutely aware and sympathetic to those who aren't as fortunate.
Hence the significance of the "Craw Claw," a foam object shaped like a baseball glove that was inspired by Crawford and his wife, Jalynne. All proceeds from the 1,400 Claws purchased thus far and those sold in the future benefit Casa Colina Hospital and Centers for Healthcare, a nonprofit physical rehabilitation center in Pomona, Calif. Casa Colina specializes in caring for catastrophically injured patients.
Crawford's father-in-law, John Dantzscher, underwent treatment at Casa Colina after he was seriously injured in a traffic accident while attending the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. Dantzscher was there to watch Jalynne's sister, Jamie, compete for the United States' women's gymnastics squad that won the bronze medal.
John and another daughter, Jennifer, were passengers in a taxi that was struck by a bus. Jennifer's injuries were relatively mild, but John sustained massive head trama, two collapsed lungs and had to be placed in a drug-induced coma. He has recovered substantially.
"Talking to him now, you wouldn't even know this happened," Crawford said.
Crawford and Jalynne were years away from meeting when this crisis occurred. Once he learned of it, he found it instantly compelling and hastened to throw his support behind Casa Colina, where he and Jalynne visit periodically. Crawford devotes himself to various causes, but for obvious reasons, he called Casa Colina the one "closest to me."
Crawford, 28, also is involved with Marin County's Guide Dogs for the Blind, which led to him experiencing a training drill with one of the organization's highly skilled canines.
"I put on a blindfold and was led by a dog around the whole campus, and it's amazing how well these dogs are trained. It was a really cool experience," Crawford told San Francisco's CBS affiliate.
Crawford decided to sponsor a puppy guide-dog-in-training, which fittingly enough is named "Crawford." His involvement quickly raised the school's profile, as Giants fans relied on social media to spread the word of the good that was being done.
According to the CBS feature, since Marin County's Guide Dogs for the Blind was founded in 1942, trainers have graduated more than 12,500 guide dog teams. About 2,200 highly trained dogs are currently matched with individuals who are blind or have low vision.