Staying in the Game Even When You’re Not – Brandon Belt

We’re all still in a good mood from yesterday’s 10th-inning come-from-behind win against the Diamondbacks. It seemed like everybody contributed, which is when baseball is the most fun. That game kind of captured our team in a nutshell. We’re just a bunch of fighters who battle our butts off every day. When you play for each other, good things happen.

My job yesterday was to come off the bench in the eighth to pinch-hit. It’s something I didn’t do very well last year. I had almost no experience pinch-hitting, so I didn’t know how to approach it. Now I know I have to stay focused the whole game and assume that I’ll be going in at some point. Around the fifth inning, I start getting loose. Last night that meant going down to the batting cages behind the dugout and jogging the length of the cage, stretching, throwing and hitting. All the while, I monitored the game on the TV.

When I was summoned to the plate with two outs and Crawford on second base, I was ready to go. Usually I would talk to Bam-Bam to get the pitcher’s scouting report, but I had faced reliever David Hernandez and knew he had a good fastball but wasn’t afraid to throw a breaking pitch. My job was clear: drive in Crawford and get on base myself as the potential tying run.

I sat on the fastball, and Hernandez delivered on the second pitch.

My single scored Crawford to get us within a run of the Diamondbacks. Two innings later, Scutaro would hit the walk-off that scored Crawford again for the win.

It’s a great feeling when you come through as a pinch-hitter. You know they’ve put you in there for a very specific reason. And you get one shot. In baseball, you fail so much so anytime you get the job done, you really feel a sense of satisfaction.

I was pretty busy during the Houston series, as you could probably imagine, because I have such a great support group of family and friends back home. I left 15 tickets for every game, but there were a lot more friends who bought their own tickets. (The thing about Houston – not to call anybody out – you can buy cheap tickets and move down into better seats because so many of them are vacant.) Unfortunately, the games were played mid-week so almost everybody came in for one or two games then went back to work or school. Only my parents and aunt and uncle were there for the third game when I had four hits.

Not even Haylee was there for that game. She was so sick the night before with a stomach flu or virus. I was up all night taking care of her. The next morning she went home with her mother, about a 90 minute-drive. So I didn’t get much sleep, then we played the night game in Houston, flew to Chicago and arrived around 3 a.m. – only to get up a few hours later for a day game against the Cubs.

We were all pretty sluggish, except Buster, who had three hits that game.

OK, a note about my walk-up song. I listened to “Pretty Handsome Awkward’’ and sorry Rob R. and Alicia, but I’m going to pass. I’ll listen to Beatles’ “Number 9,’’ a suggestion from Allan.

The truth is I haven’t had a walk-up song since I’ve been in pro ball. I don’t even know what plays when I come to bat. It’s not that I’m not into music. I’m a huge music person. But I’ve heard people make judgments about players because of their walk-up music. We get judged on so many things so I thought I’d skip that particular judgment.

But maybe that will change if I find the right song. I don’t know.

Karin asked if I ever pick up tips from players at other positions that I can use at first base. (She was commenting on how Buster blocked throws at first the way he does as a catcher.) First base is a little different in that you mostly use one hand instead of two. Everywhere else you’re told to use two hands, but not at first base except if it’s a weird play and you need your other hand to keep the ball in the glove.

But I do learn a lot from Crawford and Pablo about making the double-play throw. I watch their footwork and body position and incorporate that into my own mechanics when I’m practicing my throw to second for a double-play. I’m always trying to improve the accuracy and speed of the throw, and I know it’s all about footwork and positioning.

Thanks to Rob for pointing out that Ted Williams and Roy Hobbs wore No. 9. I didn’t know about Roy Hobbs. Pretty cool.

Again, thanks so much for reading and for leaving all the great comments and questions. I do read every one. And so does Haylee. A lot of times she’ll read them out loud to me. We both are so appreciative of having an even bigger support group here than we do in Texas!

 

-Brandon B.

54 Comments

I was there at the Atlanta Game last Sunday and want to thank you for signing my ball and taking a picture with me. You’re always so gracious to your fans and it’s one of the reasons we love you. Would love to see what you end up picking for your walk up song. Also, congrats on your splash hit yesterday. I know you’re not on twitter, but the entire twitter universe exploded. Keep it up, and hopefully see you in October!

Last night was amazing! Great job with the 2 run splash hit! Keep going strong ❤

Brandon,
I love this blog!! Before every game that you play in I sent Haylee a positive tweet, and after game to. I’m @giantslady4life on twitter. I hope She tell you about them!

You guys are way fun to watch this year, again! Thanks for playing with such positive attitudes, it really shows. I have a general baseball question regarding broken bats. As kids we were ALWAYS told to hold the bat with the label up, to keep from cracking or breaking the bat. The labels were positioned to give the bat the best chance of surviving, with respect to the grain of the wood. I always see pro batters ignoring this. Is it an old wives tale? Does it not really matter? Thanks in advance for your comments. Giants Fan Craig

I got to be at the park for Monday’s game and had a blast watching you guys play so well together. Im usually rooting from NYC, so being at the home park was awesome. Congrats on that Splash Hit last night! Keep up the hard work in October Quest!!

– Jen

P.S. I hope Haylee is feeling better!

Your splash hit was awesome. In fact, you did great, and are getting better and better. Thanks to all you guys for putting up a good battle!

I think Allan is kidding about that Beatles song! It’s nine minutes of weird avant garde noise and talking, it would make the worst walk-up song EVER. The Beatles have a great catalogue of songs with strong riffs, though, try something like “Paperback Writer” or “Drive My Car” (provided AT&T can afford the rights!)

you’re such a great player. happy to see you hitting homers again, I bet it felt really good! :) Keep ut the good work you do! Paula

Very awesome of you to stay up with Haylee when she was sick! Hope she’s feeling better now. And seriously, that splash hit last night was amazing. I love when you hit home runs because of how you drop your bat. I don’t know, there’s so much attitude in it and you hardly ever display attitude. It’s great. Hit more home runs so I can see it more often! :D

Actually, it’s called “Revolution 9″, and then there’s “The One After 909″, both of which are by the Beatles. John Lennon also had a song titled “#9 Dream”.

Oops,, yes, I knew that — still think none of those are exactly suited for getting the crowd pumped for an at-bat.

I absolutly love reading the blog. You and Crawford always end up making me smile. Congrats on splash hit #3! You are so much fun to watch and like someone else posted, I love the attitude when you hit a HR. Keep up the great work and hopefully I get to say hi to you when I go celebrate my birthday on the 22nd at AT&T.

Great game yesterday with your 2-run splash! It seemed to have really brought the energy up in the stadium. It was a tough lost, but you guys really battled! Hopefully today you guys can get that game back! You’re are such a fun player to watch and best of luck in today’s game! =]

The best thing about your splash hit was seeing you smile! We’re going to be at the yard tonight (with my baby giraffe hat on!), so maybe there’ll be a repeat! :)

Loved the mammoth splash hit last night even though we unfortunately lost. I was exhausted listening to the game (I tend to pace a lot when the game gets tense!) I can only imagine what you guys must have felt actually playing the game. In rollercoaster games like that is the mental ups and downs more taxing than the physical playing of the game or is it the other way around? And BTW what a sweet hubbie for tending to Haylee when she wasn’t well. Hope she is feeling better!

Great blog as usual……thanks it’s such great reading material! I want to tell you that after your amazing Splash Hit on Tuesday night I notice you and Mad Bum in the dugout and it seems you have a true friendship bond. Am I right?

Personally, I like the song “Centerfield” by John Fogarty (aka: “Put Me In Coach”) because whenever I hear it, I sing it like this: “put Belt in, Boch, he’s ready to play today” I know you don’t want to be in centerfield, but 1st base doesn’t work in the lyrics. Doesn’t really matter what song you choose, your progression as a pro has been a joy to watch. Great contribution last night and many, many other games. The 2012 Giants rate very high among my all-time favorite Giants’ teams. Toni C.

Great Blog Brandon. your home run yesterday was great! thank you for always being supper nice to me when i get to see you.

As much as I would have loved for you to use “Pretty Handsome Awkward” as your walk-up song, part of me felt like it probably wouldn’t be your kind of song. Good luck finding the right song, though. :) Also, congratulations on splash hit number 3. Twitter and Tumblr exploded afterward. Do you think splash hits are more satisfying than any other home run? Or would you say that all home runs feel good because they’re, y’know, home runs?

Without saying any more, I felt you were either going to hit it through the RF brick wall or over it into The Cove, depending on topspin. Son you are dialed.

Congrats on the splash hit!! It was amazing!!
I knew you could do it!!
Your biggest fan
Sierra!(:

Love reading your blog! Always great insight that fans don’t know much about. I enjoyed your HR last night, it was a key moment in the game and something the team needed. You are doing great and both you and Crawford have improved so much since the beginning of the season, it’s been fun to watch. Even with the loss, I was so excited to see everyone on the team playing hard!

I’m really happy things are going well for you (and Brandon C., too). I’ve been rooting for you nonstop since the beginning of last season and even wrote the Giants a complaint email when they sent you down last August (right before we had tickets!). I never stopped believing in you and look forward to watching you for many years to come.

And Haylee: I loved your interview with Amy G. a couple months ago. I wrote her on Twitter and said “What a sweetheart. Brandon’s a lucky guy.” I was really touched by your obvious care and support for Brandon, and I really love how real and authentic you both are. I have a daughter about the age of you two, and I know it’s hard to be a young adult these days, and especially in the spotlight like you are.

I know you’re people of faith, and I want you to know that there are Giants fans who have been praying for you, too. God bless.

Maybe for a walkup song you would like howlin for you, gold on the ceiling by the black keys or the joker and the theif by wolfmother.
I don’t know its just an idea(:
Your biggest fan
Sierra(:

I have noticed players from the opposing team will chat before the game. Do they ever chat as they are on base or in the batter’s box? You know like “how is your family”, “where did you go for dinner last night”, or “good seeing you again, man” .

Thanks for another great report on the game. I really enjoy reading what you and BC write in your blogs. I call you two “my boys!” (I’m old enough to be your Gma.)
I loved the splash homer and Kipes reaction to the spray afterwards! Good luck tonight!

Brandon, you were in a slump earlier this year and you spoke very eloquently about it, It was one of your most memorable blogs….You are now doing very well and have overcome that slow period. Other players face the same obstacles too and everyone handles stress differently…Now that you are in a pennant drive, how do the other players help someone who is dealing with a slump or a personal crisis? Do most avoid the topic of conversation, provide words of encouragement, take them out for a few drinks, or help them out at batting practice with their short-term slump? There is one player on your team that is in a slump at the moment and I can sense the tremendous stress that this person is under. I think part of it is due to fatigue of the long season, another part is mental…I hope this player snaps out of the slump and you guys provide him with as much physical and mental support as possible as you head into the playoff season..Keep up the great work…it’s been a very exciting year!

BB9, great game yesterday, great splash hit!! You did it under the toughest of circumstances, against a very good pitcher. Everyone appreciates the way you’ve improved on an almost daily basis. Lots of people are pulling for you to be the SF Giants 1st baseman for the next decade and stabilize that position. Will Clark is my favorite 1st baseman of all time, and I hope you’ll follow in his footsteps or better!

I’d first like to say thank you very much for answering my question! I was having a really crummy day and came home to 1) the Brian Wilson garden gnome I won from CSN Bay Area and 2) your new blog post and, I’ve gotta say, definitely made me smile and a very happy panda :) Second, thanks for the insight on pinch-hitting, I always had a feeling that pinch-hitting would be stressful but I never realized how much work (mentally and physically) you have to put in so that you can help the team when you come in to pinch-hit. Third (and this is less baseball related), giraffes have always been my favorite animal (I don’t know why, I just love them) and I had a serious giddy-fit when you were nicknamed the baby giraffe. It just made me so happy. And finally, I have another question. I recently watched something on CSN Bay Area where Kruk and Kuip interviewed Zito, Buster, Theriot, Pence, Vogie and Bochy and the question was asked if anyone had any pregame meals that they always have to have before a game (I’m really looking forward to trying what Theriot used to always eat before games). Do you have anything that you absolutely HAVE to have before a game?

I’m always thrilled when you have a good game, (and then disappointed when you don’t get to play the next day after having a hit well the day before – I’m sure there is a reason for it.) Living in Utah, I only get to watch the games that are on national broadcasts or when the Giants play the Rockies – and many of those games didn’t have you as the starter.

And… I love that you wear #9 – it was the number Roger Maris had most of his career!

Brandon, as a fellowTexan (Palestine – another piney woods town) I have followed your Giants career and am so happy and impressed at your performance. I look forward to future years and seeing you grow and become an all time Giant great! I was so impressed when we were on a field visit and my son and his friend asked for your autograph. You told them you had more to do in the field but you would come back, and you did. Thank you for making their day! My son wanted to tell you he loves your shoes and shoestrings but was too in awe to tell you. I started to tell him how easy it is to talk with someone, even a professional ball player, then realized I did the same thing as I was going to tel you that I too hailed from East Texas and completely forget when seeing the boys so happy getting your autograph. Oh well, maybe next time! I hope you and Haylee are happy in San Francisco, I have been here for 25 years and love it! My husband, son and I all went wild over your homerun last night and told everyone around us how you were our favorite player! My son loves baseball, my husband has coached his Little League team for eight years and I think you are a great role model. Thank you! Nancy

The song that comes up at bat (if I read it right, I think you said you didn’t know what the song was for you) is called 99 Problems by Jay-z. Good song. Anyways, congrats on your splash hit. You’re doing awesome! Keep it up Brandon :)

I have to say – congratulations on that at-bat the other night when you “belted” the ball out of the park into McCovey Cove!! That was amazing. My daughter and I watched the whole game and were in awe at how much air that one caught as it just sailed out of the park. Great hit! Keep up the good work!!

Hi Brandon and Haylee!
For the record, I am not a blog person, don’t read them, don’t write them. Yet, I come back every week to check out what you guys have to say. I love it! Keep it up!

The splash hit was fantastic. I wrote a comment when you were having a hard time a few months ago and said something along the lines that the critics will shut up when you are hitting them in the cove again. Way to shut them up!

I have to ask for my girls…have you checked out Lou Seal in the Baby Giraffe hat? We saw it once and they still crack up about it.

We will make the 4 hour trip to the park again on the 21st and be cheering you on from the living room every night! Keep it awkward!

-Lisa, Arianna, and Sienna

Brandon!
I have been routing for you from the start, I rock my giraffe hat any chance I get, and having you come right up to me when I asked for an autograph at spring training/catching a b.p home run of yours was the highlight of the trip! You are really a nice genuine guy, and it really shows through these blogs, I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to share on this here, it’s refreshing as a fan to get insight on a players views and life experience! My family and I have been so excited about your success at the plate lately! Keep it up!!!!! Anyways, my question for you is.. Obviously every ballpark is built differently, and caters to different talents more then others, based on your experience which parks do you work best in? Which are your favorites to play in? And are there some you really don’t look forward going to?
Thanks again!

As a long time fan of the Used, I’m a little bummed but honestly it didn’t seem like your style or even a good walk up song haha. You should choose something that gets YOU pumped up, but if you don’t think it’s a big deal than I’m sure you have better things to focus on, haha. Congratulations on your third splash hit! Seeing how well you’ve been hitting lately has made me such a proud fan, and seeing how happy you were was just awesome. You definitely deserve it. :) You played in my first ever Giants game back in May and I hope to see you play on Sunday against the Dodgers. Hope Haylee is feeling better and that you have a good day off tomorrow!

I was so crazy yesterday and full of joy when I watched you make the splash hit yesterday. It was nice to see you make a splash hit and lead the team 5-6. I was watching it from home but it felt like I was there at AT&T Park because all the fans were just as happy and hyped as I was. Keep it up!!!

So do you and the other teams player ever talk when your playing first and their on first base? If so, what do you talk about? :D

Did I see you say “Lands sake” when you got an out the other day? Grampa!

Brandon you have been so clutch lately it’s unbelievable! When we were faced with having to drop Melky from our fantasy team (clearly our most productive offensive player) I said to my boyfriend, “Belt is raking right now. Let’s get him!” And you’ve been awesome! As someone who becomes particularly attached to 1st baseman since I was inspired to play 1st myself by Will Clark and JT Snow, I’m so stoked to have another stellar 1st baseman to root for and hopefully for a long time coming! P.S. I’ve been known to make some “Belt-like” picks at 1st in my co-ed lowers softball games. Yeah, I’m kind of a big deal. Hahahaha keep it up Baby Giraffe!!!

Hi Brandon (and Haylee)… I still really enjoy reading your blogs. I think you all are doing such a great job on the field (even when we don’t win). Congrats on that splash hit the other night… you’ve got 3 under your belt (no pun intended). Regarding the walk up song, the last game I was at the song they played for your walk up was Jay-Z’s 99 Problems, but that was in July. I’ll be there tonight so I’ll let you know what they play! BEAT LA!!!

Last season, I was at a game and was happy to hear that you’d been called back up from Fresno. You were playing in left field that night. Every time you guys came back on the field you would throw a ball between the bleachers and where I was sitting. I caught a ball that night. It was one of the best nights ever! I should probably bring it with me to get it signed one night.

Hi Brandon – Will you be speaking at Fellowship night on Saturday after the game versus the Dodgers? I saw you speak last year and I was touched by your testimony. I hope to see you Saturday! Maybe if I’m lucky, I’ll get an autograph from you.

Hey Brandon! I would like to congratulate you on your splash hit the other day. You really are an Amazing player and to me one of the Best first basemen…ever. I would also like to thank you for signing my bat one day at the park. I swear that was the most Amazing thing that’s happend to me. So thank you. I really enjoy reading your blog. I was wondering, which of your home runs is the most memorable and why? Good luck at the game tonight! I’ll be rooting for you!

Brandon,
It has been a thrill to watch you play. I have been a Giants fan for 42 years. I don’t think I am stretching it when I say that you will soon be, for everyone else, one of those players who people will want to see hit every at bat. I never wanted to miss a Bobby Bonds, Will Clark, or Barry Bonds at bat. Likewise, I don’t miss your at-bats. All we as fans can ask for is that our favorite players compete. You do that.

You’re squaring the ball well Brandon. Solid contact, making pitchers work with all the foul balls and laying off pitches out of the zone. Looking good. Keep up the good work buddy.

Love watching you play! Best 1B in the league, great eye at the plate, and the best swing in baseball.
I think you should rock “Macarena” when you come up to hit! It’s funny will get the crowd going, and I think Haylee would get a kick out of it!

Brandon,
Great blog!
I wanted to say THANK YOU for signing my ball glove at the game on Friday night! I was there for my birthday, am a lifetime Giants fanatic and have been a huge fan of yours since I started seeing you play with the Giants. It was so special to “meet” you for half a minute and get your autograph! :) I didn’t stop smiling all night and well into the next day! God bless you and your family richly! Thanks for being an awesome part of our team!

Hi Brandon –

Here are a few comments on your recent blogs. I am SO glad to hear about the great team chemistry in the Giants. Sometimes I think the importance of team chemistry is underrated. I believe it was very important in the success back in 2010. That same great chemistry will be very important in the upcoming weeks. I am also delighted to see that you beat the Dodgers in 2 of 3 in this last series at AT&T…whenever you beat LA it is a delight, but especially now when it is SO important. Best wishes for a successful road trip….please give my best to Ryan and Madison that they can get back “on track”. We are all pulling for them!!! Having grown up in Walnut Creek, I hope you and Haylee enjoy living there! Here are two restaurants to try, if you haven’t already. One is Scott’s Seafood across the street from McCovey’s. If you enjoy fish, it is great! Another is The Duck Club in Lafayette. It has a great general menu. Here is their website:

http://www.opentable.com/duck-club-at-lafayette-park-hotel

I hope you and Haylee have a chance to enjoy one or both of these restaurants!

Best,
Will S.

Brandon you are amazing lately! I have really grown fond too watching you play! Every game I look forward too seeing what is in store for you, you are truly an inspiration too me! I hope you have an amazing rest of the season!

Hey Brandon!
You should listen to “You Only Live Once” by The Strokes or “Kids” by Sleigh Bells. Very energetic and youthful songs.

Well, now you own that hand high two seam, and change up down and away. From what I can tell, the last swing hole is full. Clutchup and makem pay now.

This song by the Hellacopters has a fun guitar beginning. The song name is “Better Than You”, which you could think to yourself about every pitcher you face!! Keep up the great work and we’ll see you in the postseason!!

Better Than You – The Hellacopters

http://www.myspace.com/music/player?sid=34507929&ac=now

Brandon, I think you should listen to Mr. Brightside by the Killers for your walk up song. I really enjoy watching you play, and I try to emulate the way you play first. I have a question… in high school, were you the main guy on the team or was someone else? And how much did you practice in the off season?

I keep hearing “Number 9 Dream” from John Lennon on my SiriusXM. I know someone mentioned it on the comments too. Take a listen, may be a good walkup song.

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