The Back-to-School Edition

With kids going back to school this month, Crawford, Blanco and I – your Giants bloggers –are answering three questions this week:

1. What’s the best advice you ever got?

2. What do you wish you knew back in high school that you know now?

3. If you had never become a pro baseball player, how do you think playing sports as a kid would have helped you in life anyway?

OK, Number 1.

One thing my dad used to tell me all the time, “If you’re going to do something, do it right the first time.’’ Don’t jack around or drag it out, whether it was about cleaning the garage or doing schoolwork or playing baseball. He also drilled into me that if you’re going to make a commitment to something you’re going to finish it. You do it 100 percent. So for instance, when I finally made the decision to make those mechanical adjustments up at the plate, I wasn’t going to do it a couple times and if it didn’t work, just give up on it. I’m going to do it ‘til I get it. That really does help when you get into a competitive world. You just have to stick with stuff.


I’ll answer Number 3 next because it’s related to Number 1.

​My Dad was a football coach, so I was getting lessons about sports both at home and on the field. One lesson was: Life’s not fair. It’s not going to go your way all the time. Sports is great because it presents you with a ton of problems that you have to face and have to figure out how to overcome.That can help anyone in any walk of life because everybody is going to have problems. You just have to suck it up and figure out a way to get past it. And along the way you’ll realize you’re stronger than you thought. If every time you’re presented with a problem and you shrivel up and go hide, how are you ever supposed to know what you’re capable of doing? The other thing you learn in sports is you can’t go around blaming everyone else for your own problems. The quicker you can look in the mirror the faster you’re going to improve yourself. I’m still working on this myself, to be honest. I want to find somebody to blame sometimes. But eventually I look at myself and figure it out.  

​Now Number 2.

I was really nervous about going into college and into the real world. I had it in my mind that there would be so much work and so much stuff I might not be able to do. That scared me to death. I wish I knew that what seems scary now is going to be your normal later on. You’re going to learn how to do what you need to do and it will just become second nature.

If I had known that, I probably would have gone to a four-year university right out of high school instead of going to junior college first. I found out the main thing about college is going to class. If you go to class and just do the work, you’re going to be fine. It’s the uncertainty that scares people.​

​ Now on to baseball.

I had forgotten what it’s like to play in the kind of humidity we had in Florida. That’s what I grew up with, but I got to tell you it’s good to be back home in San Francisco. I’m acclimatized to this weather now. That first game in Miami was four hours, and that takes a toll on your body. Even though the field is indoors, you can’t get away from the humidity. We have one more trip to the East Coast, so I’ll make sure I get more rest and stay off my feet as much as I can. And hydrate. At the end of the season, when your body is tiring out anyway, you really have to be conscious about taking care of yourself so you can finish the season strong.

​Now to the movie reviews. I got two for you.

Elysium: It was a good movie as far as the action and visual effects. Matt Damon is pretty good, and the story itself is pretty good. In the future they’ve built this thing that’s a perfect sanctuary. All the rich people live there and there’s no cancer or crime or anything. Everybody else is left on earth to fend for themselves and everybody’s poor and there’s lots of crime. It’s about the haves and have-nots, but it goes a little bit overboard. The rich people have no sympathy, no compassion at all to anybody else. I think it’s trying to be a little too political. Maybe it’s not good to admit this, but I just want to be entertained when I go to the movies. If I want politics I’ll watch the news.

Two stars.

We’re the Millers: It stars Jennifer Anniston and Jason Sudeikis. He’s a small-time pot dealer and his boss wants him to pick up a huge shipment of weed and bring it back to the United States. The story is about his journey down there. He pays this fake family to go with him because he figures nobody’s going to think this All-American family is bringing weed back into the States. So they put on this act the whole time. He has a fake daughter who’s like a runaway street kid. Jennifer is the fake wife. And the fake son is a sweet kid who’s a real goody-goody. It’s funny to watch the stuff they encounter and the trouble they get into.

Three stars. (Haley would give it three, too.)

Thanks for reading and for supporting the Giants!


Be sure to see “The Way, Way Back” (Steve Carell’s new movie). Best movie of the year so far, in my opinion.

Great story Brandon, I really hope that Mr. Sabean and Skip Bochy can keep this team together!

Love your movie reviews, Brandon!

The change in the way you’ve been hitting has been incredible. It’s been really fun to see you go up there and get so many hits, I bet it feels pretty good when you get on base a bunch of times🙂 I’m going into my senior year of high school. It’s a new school and it’s far away, I don’t know anyone. I’m nervous about not having too much senioritis. I also have no friends there. I guess that happens a lot as you get older and move around a lot.

Thanks for your post, it’s just what I needed to read today. Also, I totally think that “we’re the millers” deserves 5 stars (it’s on a scale of 1-5, right?). Especially since you likes “this is the end” Id imagine you’d think this was funny. Naw what I’m saying?

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Thanks for posting Brandon. I’m still hoping that you can peak in September and hit at least seven home runs. The way you have been putting the fat part of the bat on the ball this month, you kinda looked like Barry a couple of times, I am sure seven home runs is definitely within reach. I was at the game in DC when you hit that bomb into the right field upper deck. The ball seemed to climb very fast and just carry and carry. Well, I haven’t seen these movies that you reviewed. I know I want to see Jobs and The Butler. I got a ticket for one of the games against the Mets next month and I will try to get a ticket to one of the games against the Yankees. I am going to catch a play too, but I haven’t decided which one. Best of luck the rest of the way. Thanks again for posting. Go Giants!!

I recommend The Spectacular Now, a small, indie movie that’s a great coming of age movie. It also features an amazing performance by the great Kyle Chandler (Coach from Friday Night Lights).

Very thoughtful post. Love your self-reflections, thank you.

I love your self-reflections, they’re great. Thanks. The college advice is solid and a reminder about trusting our abilities if we put in the effort.

I highly recommend The Spectacular Now, a small, indie coming of age movie. It also features an amazing performance by the great Kyle Chandler (Coach Taylor from Friday Night Lights).

Dear Brandon from the 2011 Spring Training Camp when you took a picture with my 14 yr old daughter and I stated “I hope you have a good year” and you looked up at me and said “I hope I do too” – you have been a player I have liked as a person and stood by for the many ups and the many downs in your hitting that have lead me to provide many giraffe hats to my nieces and nephews – of course my daughter -. even when I was more of the fan then they have been – so keep up what you are doing. It was really nice when my nephew (who thought you should have been traded) had to text me and say guess who is NL Player of the Week – yes Belt. These folks are beginning to see how your hitting adjustments have improved your performance & continue to listen to your dad’s advise about using all of this and not get frustrated when once and a while you go into a slump. I’m going to share your blog statement with my daughter – now a High School Junior beginning to get nervous about college planning since it seems so overwhelming – for both her and me. By the way where can I find Haley’s chocolate cake recipe?

Love the movie reviews. My mom will be at the yard on September 27th watching you guys trump the Padres. Make sure to watch “This Is Us” (One Direction’s new movie) when it comes out. Made my mom proud to call herself “A mom of a Directioner.”


You have learned some very important lessons. It’s good for us to be reminded. We’ll be rooting for you, hang in there!

This was so sweet and surprisingly insightful! Your dad sounds like such an inspiring guy. And I just started college, so this advice is also very helpful to me! Love you, Baby G. You’re always and forever my favorite baseball player.❤

We are the Millers a a funny movie!! Keep doing what your doing because its going good!! Im going to get the Brandon Bobblehed on Thursday!! Ya Go Giants!!

Hey! Thanks for the school advice. I’m actually starting college in a couple days and I am scared to death. But reading your advice calmed me down and I feel a lot more confident about school. Go giants!🙂

Brandon, you are a hoot! I just love your movie reviews. As I sit on the couch watching the game, I’m always commenting to my family about what movies you’ve recently seen, how Haley doesn’t like going to the movies, how you sometimes get the other guys to go with you when you’re on the road…love it, you keep everything real.

The lessons you’ve learned in life have really paid off, your game last night was awesome, glad you are listening to your coaches!

Thanks for posting, you’re one of my favs. You signed my daughters T-Shirt last year at a game, you called her Sweetie and she will never forget how nice you were to her….GO GIANTS!!!

Great advice Brandon. You were very fortunate to have a father who gave you good advice along the way in life. It’s so important for kids to have mentors whether it’s a parent or coach or teacher. As a young person, you don’t always believe them at the time but if you respect them enough to listen, you will realize in time that they were right and had your best interests at heart. This leads right into the change you’ve made in your batting…..good advice from people who know.

Love your movie reviews. I haven’t seen either of those movies but I’m planning to soon.

Take care of yourself. It’s a long season. I can’t imagine how you guys cope with the weather changes and the jet lag zipping back and forth across the country on top of the grueling game schedule. We used to show horses in Texas and I thought I’d die in the heat and humidity.

Your movie reviews are very entertaining, keep em coming! Go Giants!

Brandon, just love your blog. Great advice to the kids. Coming from you, the kids will respect it more. In today’s world, young people need more heroes like you and your team mates. You guys just set great examples. I am almost 70 but I enjoy the game of baseball, always have and probably always will no matter who is playing. My giants are different, I Love you guys and never miss a game on TV or radio, You all are the epitome of what team work is about. I am so happy to see you hitting so well. You make it exciting to watch. Keep up the good work. Thanks for the movie reviews. I am sure at some point my son will get those movies you reviewed for me to see. He always sees the movie and then gets it on DVD for his Dad and I to watch. Since his Dad doesn’t like to go out to the movie. I know exactly for you mean about humidity in the south. I grew up there and can never go back there to live. I can’t take that weather. Take care and keep up the good work. Stay focused. We all love you and are rooting for you.

Thank you for posting about school, since I am now in my sophomore year at LOWELL HIGH (cue really annoying sound effects). You are one of my favorite players! I was very scared at first, but with your blog you have made me feel better about school.

you looked like you had the weight of the world on your shoulders, defeated, almost like a kid. i would root like hell for you, but nothing was working. then you got some mechanics to work with, and they started working, and everything about you changed. you had swagger, confidence, a game face, you looked older to me, surer. player of the week, how great is that ?

Speaking from a teacher, awesome advice for the kiddos. Love the movie reviews! haha are the stars out of 4 or 5??

Another great blog. Love reading these. Hey, my mom thinks you look a lot like Ryan Vogelsong. I hadn’t noticed before, but I would have to agree. Any chance you two are distant cousins??!!

Thanks for sharing, I love this whole series! This was a nice format, having the three of you answer the same questions, hope to see more of these. The blogs really humanizes the players for us fans, I greatly appreciate this window into the players’ life. I’m going to get my teenage son to read these, good words of wisdom from all of you. Love the movie reviews, yeah, I like to be entertained too, not preached to by the movie, so I am going to avoid Elysium but The Millers sound like a fun romp, I love comedies.

Great advice, Brandon! We love watching you play and continue to do awesome as a Giant!!

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