A Job Like No Other – Brandon Belt

Last night’s game was a blast. It’s a great feeling when you can come through when the team really needs something to happen. We haven’t been very good so far this season in driving runners home, so getting the double to put us ahead gives you a boost that you hope carries over.

A fan left a comment on the blog asking about my and Crawford’s experiences with the fans. So we’re both answering.

Like a lot of ballplayers, I idolized the major leaguers when I was growing up. It almost seems that there’s something in kids’ brains that’s programmed to look up to athletes. Because I remember how it was for me, I sign autographs as much as I can, though we don’t always have as much time at the park as fans might think we do. There’s a lot of stuff we have to do to get ready for every game. But I never want the fans to think I don’t appreciate them coming out and supporting us. So I try to do at least something every game to show that.

When I’m signing autographs, it’s nice to chat with people  They ask me if I like my “Baby Giraffe’’ nickname. (I do). They ask how I’m feeling, and I try to be honest. These days I tell them I’m feeling pretty good, but sometimes it’s a battle up there at the plate and you have to work things through. Sometimes people tell me not to worry about playing time and just keep doing what I’m doing.

Seriously, how many people have jobs where thousands of people are cheering you on and patting you on the back and making you feel like you’re really something special? I hope I can always appreciate how lucky I am.

Of course, there’s the flip side, too. It’s a public job so you can become a target of criticism. But here in San Francisco, the fans are incredibly supportive so I haven’t experienced the downside yet. Everyone has been really nice.

All of us get fan mail. Guys like Buster and Timmy get armloads. I have a little stack. But even with my little stack I procrastinate answering them. When the stack gets a little too high, I sit in front of my locker and answer. I received a really nice and unusual letter the other day. It was from a lady who just wanted to say she enjoyed watching me play and she liked the Giants. I almost never get letters like that. Just about every envelope has a card or photo to sign and send back. So that was a nice change.

Tomorrow, Monday, is a rare day off here at home. Haley and I are going back to Napa, which we went at the end of last season. I’m not a wine guy so I wasn’t looking forward to going, but then I loved it. It was one of my favorite days of the year. So we’re going back. We’ll eat at my friend’s brother’s restaurant, Il Posto, and spend the night. Tuesday is a night game so we can sleep in.

Then it’s back to the park and the Florida Marlins.

Hope to see you out there!

Please leave your questions in the comments section — makes it easier for me to think about what to write!

-Brandon B.

27 Comments

Hi Brandon – thanks so much for responding to my previous comment. I’ve been a fan of yours for a long time and whenever you’re up at the plate, I’m rooting a little harder for you to pull out a hit than any other player in the ballpark. I love how gracious and humble you’ve stayed despite everything that goes on during the game.

I don’t want to get too crazy with the questions but I’d be curious to know about your current mentors in the club house. Who do you guys go to for advice, particularly when you’re going through a rough patch? We hear a lot about how well this team gels but how does it compare to other teams? I always wonder if the SF Giants have a bond that goes beyond the average MLB Team.

I will be at all 3 games in Seattle and hopefully will finally be able to grab a signature from you. I have a “Keep Belt Awkward” baby giraffe shirt that would look great with an autograph ☺ You’re definitely my favorite player and for me, the most inspirational. Thanks again and keep up the awesome job!

Hi Brandon! Thanks for writing this! I love reading what the players have to say. I have a question for you: how do you stay positive after a tough loss? It seems like it would be really hard. Thanks again for writing! Have a great time in Napa! :)

I’ll be at the game on Friday; my first of the season! How do you adjust to people knowing who you are? And not only knowing who you are, but loving who you are and what you bring to the team? It just seems like it must be a difficult adjustment, especially while you’re still trying to get comfortable at the plate, in the majors, etc. Or maybe it just seems like a difficult adjustment because I know I’d collapse under the pressure. :)

Thanks, Brandon! It is fun watching you play, and it’s great having you on the team. Keep up the awesome job!:)

Thanks for the post and wonderful insight, Brandon! It’s great that you remember what it was like to idolize your favorite players and now you’re on the receiving end of it. Happy for you! First base will always be a bit special for me because I grew up idolizing Will Clark.

I hope you know that so many fans are rooting for you, even here in Dodger territory-Los Angeles. Love the younger Giants movement. Good luck this year!

Hey Brandon! Thank you sooo much for taking time to sign stuff for fans. I will always remember my first game of the season last year. I was standing there hoping for an autograph and you didn’t care that there was a huge line of people walking on the track. You were my very first Giants autograph and it’s one of my most prized posessions. Thanks again and i’ll be rooting for you as always :)

Hey Brandon-

Congrats on that double the other day, I was hoping you would get the chance to come up that inning, and thank God you did! I’ve always been a fan of yours, and just wanted to stop by and say you’re doing a great job. Your glove work is absolutely fantastic, and your bat is no slouch either. It’s nice to see you’re actually getting a chance finally. Seeing you, as well as Crawford, Sanchez and all the other new faces has really brought something new to this team, and your guy’s chemistry really seems to be improving the club. Good luck against the M’s!

G. Bear

Hi Baby G! I was at the park on Saturday with my friend’s kids, and you signed their hats and bags and just absolutely made their day! They already liked you, but after you took the time to do that, THEN hit that game winning double, they are just delirious in their love for you! Thank you for being such a great player, and such a kind, friendly and generous person. My family has been Giants fans since 1958. I’ve been rooting for you and Brandon Crawford and I love reading your blog — you two are my favorite players. I’m always sad when the two Brandons aren’t in the lineup. On another note, a very close friend passed away suddenly from a heart attack the day before the last game of the 2012 season. He was your biggest fan and one of his last tweets, just a few hours before he died, was how much he looked forward to seeing you play in 2012. I know he’s watching you from heaven — and so when you get those big hits like you did on Saturday, I can just hear him roaring his approval. Good luck against the Marlins — you have thousands of us cheering you on here in SF, and at least one huge fan in heaven.

Oops, in my earlier post, I menat to say — our friend passed away the day before the last game of the 2011 season. Sorry for the confusion.

Great job the other night, in fact I’d say you were the HERO ! …but we didn’t see that you wore the new “hero” shirt after the game ??? :) I follow Haylee on Twitter and she said she would see what she could do to get a picture but guess not. Well you two enjoy Napa but not too much now :)

Brandon.. I was wondering how if you enjoy working with the giant greats?! I’ve watched inside the clubhouse and when Will Clark is working with you in the cage and on the field, it is the cooliest thing in the world to watch. Will “the thrill” Clark is hands down my hero as a kid and watching him talk with you about the little things sent a chill down my back. Keep up with the positive attitude and great things will happen.

This is why I adore you. You make it so easy for the fans to LOVE the organization, because we have players like you to look up to. When you interact with us, you make us feel like we are apart of something. During Spring Training I caught a ball you threw out to the fans, and I will forever cherish that memory/that experience. The littlest things like that mean the most. Thanks for what you do!

Brandon

You’re2 RBI double on Saturday isn’t what made me excited for you. It was the confidence and satisfaction in your body language that got me amped up for you. For the first time this season you looked like you were having fun! I have gone out to watch you play here at the AZFL the last two years and watched you dominate… You have always signed and been a great example of what a big leaguer should be and that what has made you a guy I can root for. I’m looking forward to watching you settle in here in the near future and become the player we know you are. one question though… Why the high socks? The one time this spring I saw you play with your pant legs down I think you went 2 for 3! Haha

Hey Brandon,
Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to write this post. I know the fans, including me, really enjoy hearing from the players. I’d also like to thank you for being so good with the fans. I’ve noticed that you truly try to give back as much as possible and we really appreciate it. I was lucky enough to get your autograph during Spring Training and it is one of my prized possessions. It was also nice to get a “you’re welcome” from you when I thanked you, most players just ignore me, haha. Anyways, next time you get an off day and feel like visiting the wine country you should check out my home town of Sonoma.
Thanks again.
-A loyal fan

Oh, just you wait, your little stack is going to turn into an armload soon! :)

Hi Brandon, not only do I appreciate your athletic prowess but I think you’re very articulate! It’s fun to read your blog and get to know you a little better. You do need to come see Sonoma County, though. I work at a winery and would be glad to give you a private tour since we’re not open to the public!

Brandon –
I’m rooting big for you to win the first base job outright. Just a few words of advice. Don’t change your approach at the plate, the one that got you up here in the first place. Keep that good eye and don’t feel that you have to swing at every 2-0 and 3-1 pitch just because it’s a hitter’s count. Take the walk if it’s there and let the guy behind you do his job. A .400 OBP goes a long, long way towards teams winning ballgames.

Brandon,

I have lived and work in Napa for many years. Some suggestions on your visit. Stop at the Niebaum-Coppola winery in Rutherford, (especially see their retail room building). Combines history with with the artistic touches of Francis Coppola family (Director of the Godfather series). Try to get as far as Calistoga for it is probably your kind of small town – rural and a throw back to the California of 100 years ago. Lots of neat places to have lunch. Just a little further north is Chateau Montelina – another beautiful family winery with a lot of history. Enjoy your day off !

Uniquewine

Don’t worry Brandon, never mind what the powers-that-be claim, but you are always a “good soldier” to us fans!! #FreeBelt!

Hello Brandon B.,
So I was wonderinif you mind sharing your favorite funny clubhouse memory?
Keep repping for th awkward folks ( we appreciate it! )

Hi Brandon, I stumbled upon your blog and enjoy reading the mind behind the player…I was born SF and was raised on Giants baseball…radio and TV and going to Candlestick was a treat (w my 3 brothers). Good thing we get the games on tv bc my father (had a stroke) and can’t make it to the park. Just letting you know that Giants baseball has helped me spend time with him & although we watch you play, it’s really spending time together that helps him open up and talk about what really matters. Baseball sets the stage for precious moments with friends and family that last years after a win or loss. It’s all good !!

Hey guys,

Will be at the Nats/Giants series all three days (July3-5). My son (nine years old) loves the Giants. I hope you guys sign. Will yell “Hook em Horns” or “Baby Giraffe’’ to you Mr. Belt. I will probably have my Cincinnati Reds hat on and my son his Giants.

Thanks,

Greg

Hello Brandon. I believe so much in the info I’m trying to get to you that I’m typing this again after my computer deleted the first entry. My son struggled greatly 2 seasons ago at the plate and at catcher. He was over thinking everything he did. He had lost the unconscious explosive athlete I’d seen in the past. After careful research we chose a session by phone with Dr Richard Crowley PhD. 48 hours after the session my son had his game of the season and continued to impress others with his play. Similar stories of incredibly rapid results are described in Crowley”s book “Mental Ball”. All my son’s coaches kept saying his problems were “mechanical” but I didn’t believe it. The method does not involve typical talk therapy or psychoanalysis, but instead uses imagery, imagination and emotional awareness to try to reach a subconscious level change. I have never seen such dramatic changes in athletic performance in my life as an athlete, coaching 6 years, or treating as a sports physical therapist. I hope you will be willing to research his work.
I’m rooting for the same results for your game. I’d even pay for the initial consult if you are skeptical. Pro players Steve Blass (credits Crowley in new book on Amazon), Steve Sax, Sean Green (credits Crowley on You Tube), etc have been successes. Good luck!
Karl

Dr Richard Crowley PhD
dr@sportsmaker.com
805-868-3800

Hi Brandon Belt! I don’t know if your reading this comment or the comment I left before but I just wanna your amazing!!! You mean the world to me and your my role model.
Even though I’m a girl.
I love the way you wear your baseball pants old fashioned that’s classic!!
I know you havnt gotten very many hits but recently .. your got some doubles and singles!! I’ve read all your previous blogs and I love how your maw maw makes you sign a lot of stuff!! My grandma would do the same thing!! That’s just grandmas for ya!!! I hope one day I get to meet you !! You seem like a wonderful,joyful and funny person!!(: And tell Crawford I said Congrats to him and his wife on their baby girl!Now Crawford is a CrawDAD! Lol ( P.S If the Giant’s didn’t have you Belt, their pant’s would be falling down)

Well Belt I’m going to go to bed now!! Good luck on the game tomorrow against the Rockies!!!!

Your biggest fan ever !!!!,
Sierra!!

Hi Brandon, I am a really big fan of you and the Giants. I’m 13 years old and I went to my very first Giants game almost a month ago. I was wearing a Baby Giraffe hat and you threw a ball to me and it was (almost) the best day of my life, but a woman took the ball from me and told me she had a young son and said that I already had an autographed ball ( because earlier Angel Pagan signed a ball i had brought). That was my very first Giants game and she ruined it for me. So I truly believe you do try to do at least something special for a fan at every game, like you said in your blog.Thank you for throwing me the ball though,even though I didn’t get to keep it, I still appreciate you showing support to your fans, maybe I’ll get a ball at my next game! And I really do enjoy your blogs! Keep them up! My question for you is who do you think is more awkward at bat; you or Hunter Pence? :) (No offence to either of you, I love you both!)

I found your blogs just recently and so I decided to look back at a few because I love reading them! It’s awesome how you love keeping your fans involved in your lives. I have been a Giants fan since I was six and have spent many birthdays at the park. I am now 24 and just as big of a Giants fan if not bigger. I played first base for my college softball team so I love watching you play! Also, what drew me to this post was your trip to Napa. On one of your trips you stayed at the winery I work at. They didn’t tell us until after you left, which is awesome, keeping your privacy, especially on a rare home off day. Want to get all the rest you can. But I hope you had a good time and I just wanted to let you know that everyone here at the winery is rooting you and the rest of the team on in the World Series! All of us here in production, are either sneaking a peek at the tasting room TV or we have KNBR on in the cellar listening to every word. But if you ever find yourself in the valley again stop by and we will teach you some bung ball! Hopefully one season soon I can afford season tickets but for now I’ll make it to as many games I can a year. Not sure if you are going to see this since the post was so long ago, or since you don’t have much time now, but I just wanted to share my passion for you and the Giants and game of baseball! GO GIANTS!

Hi Brandon! I am a big fan of you and the Giants! I don’t know if you’ll even see or read this comment since you posted this last year hahaha but I’m commenting now because I didn’t even realize you’ve been blogging for so long now. Well if you do happen to read this, I love watching you and the rest of team play. You guys are an amazing team! Congrats on being champions! Well deserved :)

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