Sleep, dogs and Fresh Prince of Bel-Air – Brandon Belt
My in-laws arrived last Wednesday for a six-day visit. They brought all our mail – but I was hoping they’d bring Lily, our dog. She’s a three-year-old dachshund-beagle mix and she’s the sweetest thing. She’s been staying with my parents since February. We didn’t bring her to spring training because she whines whenever we leave her and we were afraid she’d bother the neighbors. Our plan was for Haylee to bring her out to Walnut Creek when she went back to Texas for a visit, but she hasn’t gone home yet. She’ll get home for sure during the All-Star break, and I’ll go, too, if I can, and we’ll get Lily then.
Anyone who has dogs knows how much you miss them when they’re not around. There’s something about having a dog in the house that just makes you feel better no matter happened in your day.
Anyway, Haylee’s parents left today. We really had a great time. Well, they had a great time. They did everything with Haylee. I joined for lunches when we played at night and for dinner when we played during the day.
No breakfasts. I’m almost never awake for breakfast.
Most players will tell you that routines are crucial in keeping focused and staying fit for 162 games. And one of the most important parts of my routine is sleep. I need my sleep, and I take it where I can get it. And most of the time, it’s in the morning because I stay up so late.
After a night game, I leave the park around 11. (The game ends around 10 or so, then I talk to reporters, eat, lift weights and shower.) By the time I drive back to Walnut Creek, it’s 11:30. And I’m wired. There’s no way I can fall asleep.
So I watch TV. Mostly Nick at Nite. I love the late 90s sitcoms like Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. I watch in bed with Haylee zonked out next to me. I’ll get to laughing so much that I’m sure I’ll wake her up, but apparently she can sleep through anything. (When Lily arrives, she’ll keep me company!)
I finally fall asleep around 1:30. I’ve discovered I need about nine hours of sleep, so even when we have guests, I don’t get up until 10:30 or 11 (when we have a night game).
Once I’m showered and dressed, we have lunch. We live close to downtown Walnut Creek, so we eat a lot at McCovey’s and Cheesecake Factory. After lunch, we’ll walk around the mall area, but we rarely buy anything. We’re not really shoppers. But it gets us out of the house. I leave for the park around 2:15 and am in the clubhouse before 3.
I’m finding out that once the summer starts, you get a lot more visitors. Especially if you play in San Francisco. Everyone wants to come to San Francisco. We have more friends from Texas arriving at the end of June.
Then we’ll see my parents in mid-July when we play in Atlanta. They’ll drive over from Texas. Then Haylee’s cousins are coming to town after that. It’s a pretty busy summer.
But everyone understands my first priority during the season is baseball. This is a game of such thin margins that you can’t afford any slack whatsoever. You have to stick to your routines. Now that I’m in my second year in the big leagues, I understand that more than ever. It’s a balancing act. I want to enjoy my family and friends while they’re here but at the same time, I can’t let anything get in the way of baseball.
Thanks for reading – and thanks for the great comments about my first memory of baseball. I’m glad it sparked your own memories!