I’ve finally gotten out to see a few movies lately. I went to two over the weekend with Haylee and saw two on the last road trip.
Bad Moms: Haylee and I got to the theater late and had to sit in the front row. So already it wasn’t great. But the movie was freaking hilarious. It’s about the moms’ jobs and their interactions with the kids and trying to overcome the judgment from other moms. It was pretty crude at times. They basically had these moms talking like you’d expect from a group of guys. One of the actresses — I can’t remember her name but she’s in Stepbrothers, a red-headed woman, Catherine something – she was absolutely hilarious. I laughed my butt off pretty much the entire movie. Haylee liked it a lot, too. The best part was the woman in the theater who you could hear laughing like every five seconds. She thought this was the funniest thing she had ever seen her entire life. And that made it even funnier for me.
Rating: B-plus. It’s the funniest female comedy I’ve seen. Better even than Bridesmaids. Actually maybe it’s an A.
Sausage Party: Haylee didn’t want to go see it, and I talked her into going. She’s like, “It’s a cartoon and it’s probably going to be stupid.’’ I said, “Yeah, probably, but stupid can be funny.’’ It’s from the guys who made Superbad and all those movies. Seth Rogan, Jonah Hill, Danny McBride. Kristen Wiig was in it. I was kind of excited to see it, but it was brutal. As in terrible. Awful. But all they did was make a bunch of cartoon food cuss a lot. It’s set in a grocery store and the food wants to get out because they think they’re going to heaven when they’re picked and taken out of the grocery store. They call it the Great Beyond. When they get picked, they go out there and learn they’re getting eaten by people and getting slaughtered and basically going to hell. It’s kind of a funny premise. Like there are German bratwursts who want to kill all the juice. Kristen Wiig is a bun, and she has a boyfriend who’s a wiener. But we walked out after an hour. I didn’t laugh hardly at all, and I love comedies.
Rating: F. This might be my first F, though I might have given The Jungle Book an F, I can’t remember.
Jason Bourne. I saw it on the road with Kontos, Osich and Chad Chop. It’s the only Jason Bourne movie I’ve ever seen. I didn’t care for it too much. I like the Mission Impossible movies better. Not much else to say.
Suicide Squad. Cain and I went when we were in Washington. The story’s about these villains who form a super-hero type group to defeat bigger evils. It’s a Marvel comic and it’s set in the same place as Batman and Superman. It’s really cheesy. Very corny dialogue. It was supposed to be a Guardians of the Galaxy type movie, and it wasn’t even close to that. Guardians of the Galaxy is way better. It had a good cast—Will Smith, Margot Robbie, the guy from Jack Reacher. A lot of guys I’ve seen before. And Jared Leto was the Joker. He was a good Joker, but I heard he was weird during the filming, that he stayed in character even when they weren’t shooting. Cain thought it was pretty stupid.
Rating: C-. Maybe D actually.
That’s it for now. Thanks for reading. Let me know what movies I should see next. And let me know if you think Haylee will like it.
Also wanted to give a shout out to Dillon O’Leary and his family from Pleasanton who I met yesterday before the game. Keep battling.
Yesterday was an awesome day. For a lot of reasons. I made the All-Star team, a dream come true. Actually I never really dreamed it. Earning a starting job on a Major League team was the dream. The All-Star team is something I can’t even put into words.
But it turned out the main emotion I felt yesterday wasn’t excitement, though I felt plenty of that. What I felt more than anything was gratitude.
I couldn’t believe how many people messaged me that their thumbs were about to fall off from voting for me. I couldn’t believe how hard Becky Biniek in the Giants’ social media department worked to keep reminding the fans to vote. I couldn’t believe how many of my teammates tweeted out #VoteBelt.
I’m still trying to wrap my brain around it all.
But I was thinking yesterday about one person more than anyone else.
When we got word – in a text from Ali Bumgarner – that I’d made the team, I was driving back from lunch in Lafayette with Haylee and Greyson. Haylee immediately started crying. I knew it wasn’t just that she was happy for me. It was about all the hard times and hard work and the doubts and the load she has had to carry so I could achieve my dream.
I got a little misty watching her cry because this has been about both of us every step of the way. This doesn’t happen if she’s not with me. I’m not being cheesy. It’s the truth.
It’s not easy being a baseball player’s wife. It’s not like she can do whatever she wants. She’s working constantly, getting everything ready when we travel, organizing our moves, renting houses, doing charity stuff, putting up with me when things aren’t going well. Everything. She makes sure I don’t have to worry about anything off the field.
This is a very public job, and I know how tough it was for her to read and see some of the mean things people said about me over the years. It hurts her. I don’t think everybody can put up with that. I really don’t. But she’s strong, mentally strong. She can take a lot of crap and come out on the other side, looking even better than before.
She’s always there for me when I’m feeling down about something. She knows me so well. She’s there to dig me out of whatever hole I get myself in. When I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, she was there to show it to me. She can say stuff to me that no one else can say. She tells me the truth even when I might not want to hear it. She’s the one who keeps me grounded.
Haylee and I have known each other since high school. She had no idea what was in store for her when we started dating. It’s amazing to me that she has stuck with me through all the years of ups and downs. If it were me, I don’t know if I could have hung in there. You’re staying in there for somebody else. She’s not getting anything out of this other than “your husband achieved his dream’’. It’s selfless. She might be the most selfless person I know. I feel pretty selfish in comparison.
So when she got emotional in the car yesterday, I knew it was because it’s been such a long road and because this amazing gift of going to All-Star Game was for both of us, together, not just me.
On the other hand, Greyson didn’t really care. Wasn’t impressed at all.
When you play 162 games, plus games in the spring and postseason, you find yourself developing pre-game routines. For me, and I think for most guys, it’s not about superstition, like wearing the same socks during a winning streak. It’s about getting your brain into a battle mindset.
Having a routine saves you a lot of energy. You don’t have to figure out a new way every day to switch off normal-life mode and turn on focus-and-fight mode.
I’ll take you through my pre-game routine and mindset.
I start to feel the change on my way to the ballpark, whether I’m driving myself to AT&T or taking a taxi or the team bus to a ballpark on the road. My body and brain know a game will be happening in a few hours. It’s like the dogs in that experiment – what was that guy’s name? Pavlov?
So at that point I’m feeling some anxiousness. For a 7:15 game, I’ll get to the park around 2:30. When I step into the clubhouse, my demeanor gets more serious. I’m having fun with my teammates, but I’m not as goofy and loose as I am at home. I’m enjoying myself, but my body and brain know the clubhouse is my place of work.
As the game gets closer, I’m feeling more intensity. I just get going. I used to feel the intensity and restlessness way too much, and I had to learn how to calm myself down.
I did this in a few ways. I stopped – or at least I try really hard to stop – worrying about results. I can’t control them anyway. What I CAN control is how much I prepare. So I make sure I do everything possible to feel as prepared as possible mentally and physically. If I know I’ve done everything I can do – take extra fielding or batting practice, get my sleep, eat well, go over the defensive charts — I’m going to feel confident and more relaxed.
After BP, I eat, stretch, open mail, etc.
As teammates start to pull on the game uniform, I wait. I stay in my practice uniform or in a T-shirt and shorts.
About 30 minutes before the game, I change into my game uniform. By then, everyone else is already dressed.
Putting on my game uniform is the final step in getting into full battle mode. It’s like putting on armor. For a few minutes, I sit quietly in front of my locker. I’m not having conversations. My mind is focused on what I need to do to help us win. I’m thinking about my approach at the plate: Keep it simple, stay within yourself, see the ball and hit the ball. I try to keep myself from getting too caught up in the opposing pitcher’s strategy. Don’t overthink it.
But soon I have to start moving. Once the uniform is on, my brain and body are on red-alert to play. I want to get going. I might expend a little energy taking some cuts in the batting cage behind the dugout. I might walk to the dining room and grab something to drink. I want to just get out there and play. It drives me nuts to just sit at that point.
I’ve been doing this same routine, more or less, since I was in the minors. It keeps me calm, gets me focused and energizes me for another game of a very long season.
Thanks for reading. . . And thanks for all the All-Star votes! It really means a lot to see and hear about the efforts to get the vote out. I feel really lucky to play for the best fans in baseball.
(Movie reviews soon.)
Still shaking my head about the Warriors last night. Amazing. We know a little about playing in the postseason with our backs against the wall. Really inspiring to watch.
I want to finish up random notes from the last road trip.
Big Bad Bum in San Diego: As soon as Bum struck out Wil Myers for the last out of the inning, I bolted for the dugout because I was leading off. As I’m running in, the field crew is coming out to drag the field, and the crowd suddenly erupts. I’m thinking, “Man, they really like the field crew here.’’ Then I see the dugout emptying. I still don’t really know what happened. Just another day at the ballpark with Bum on the mound.
Swinging away: There are certain things you remember in detail when you play ball. They’re usually the things that don’t happen very often. One of those is swinging on 3-0 counts, which I did in the same game as the Bum-Myers dust-up. I’ve swung on 3-0 counts only five times in my ML career.
The first time was against Johnny Cueto in 2011. I flew out to left. I didn’t swing on 3-0’s for the next three years, ’12, ’13 and ’14. Last year, I swung three times – for two home runs and a double. And in San Diego, I hit a home run. I’m now 4-for-5 on 3-0 counts.
How do I decide to swing or not? The pitcher, the score, where base runners are, who’s hitting behind me.
In San Diego, the situation was: runners on first and third, one out, nothing-nothing game, and a pitcher – Colin Rea — I had never faced but had watched video on. He’s not a guy who has a huge sinker or anything like that, so I wasn’t too concerned about grounding into a double play. He’s a guy who will occasionally elevate his fastball — something you can hit a fly ball off of. So I figured even if I didn’t get all of it, I’d still get a sacrifice fly and score the runner the third. Bum was on deck. Yes, he’s a good-hitting pitcher, but he’s a pitcher. I wanted to do what I could to get the run in myself. I looked for Rea to throw me a fastball, which he did — though it was a borderline ball four. And since I was ready for it, I got it out.
So I don’t know if this stuff is at all interesting to most people, but for those who wonder about our thought process, I’ll share why I swung away the other three times.
Last year, against Jordan Zimmerman, the situation was 2 outs, nobody on, and a light-hitting batter coming up behind me. If I took the walk, there’d be two outs with me on first. I’m not a big basestealer, so somebody was going to have to hit a double to get me home from first. So I went for it. I had never really hit Zimmerman well in the past, but I knew he was going to come after me with fastballs. He doesn’t want to walk anybody. Sure enough, I got an up-and-in fastball and hit it out.
It was a similar situation against Kyle Lohse, also last year. Two outs, runner on first. We’d need an extra base hit to score the runner. Lohse was another guy who, for the most part, was going to come right after you. He doesn’t want to walk me and put a runner on second base with two outs. So I thought it was a good time to swing away. Maybe I’d hit one in the gap and score the runner from first. I hit a HR to center.
The next one was against the Dodgers. Belt was on second with two outs. Mike Bolsinger, a right-hander, was on the mound. We had a right-handed batter after me, so Bolsinger was pitching around me to get to him. I had just taken a couple good curve balls, so I sat on another one and hit a double.
Having said all this, I know if I swing at a 3-0 pitch and ground out, some people will howl – “Why are you swinging on 3-0??’’ But at least you’ll know why.
A Day at the Zoo: Kristen Posey arranged for players and families to go to the San Diego Zoo when we were there. Buster and Kristen’s son, Lee, who is four years old, came into the clubhouse after a game at AT&T the other day.
“Lee, how’d you like the zoo?’’ I asked him.
He lit up. “Yeah! The giraffe drooled on my head!’’
Love that kid. Fits right in with the rest of us.
Thanks for reading. Go Warriors!
There’s a lot to catch up on. Let’s start with music.
During batting practice last week in San Diego, the Padres – or at least whoever’s in charge of pregame music – had a little fun. The first day of the series, as soon as their own BP ended, the edgy, rappy music stopped. Suddenly, when we took the field, it was all boy bands, ‘90s pop, teeny-bopper pop.
I was smiling because it seemed like they were trying to mess with us. I was standing out at short stop and thinking, “They don’t know what they did. They’re locking me in.’’ They don’t know that we like this stuff. Or at least I do. I hit a home run that night.
The second day of BP, it was all Enya. If you haven’t heard her, the songs are like massage music — for batting practice, it was kind of rough. The third day, they played stuff like “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’’ and “It’s Raining Men’’ –kind of girl-power music.
So did we return the favor when they played in SF this week? No, because to be honest I don’t think the music has anything to do with how you play during the game. BUT . . . if I were going to mess with them . . . since it seems they don’t like that ‘90s pop, I’d probably throw on the Sneaky Awesome playlist we listen to every day. Except it really wouldn’t be messing with them because they’d realize they actually like it.
Now that we’re two months into the season, every now and then I run out of ideas of what to play in the clubhouse. So I’ll ask around. Bum and Belt are never afraid to give me a song. Belt’s tastes are all over the place. He’s like me in that way. He’ll go from “I Knew You Were Trouble’’ by Taylor Swift to a punk-rock-scream song by System of a Down to rapper Rick Ross to Luke Bryan.
Bum’s been surprising. He’s requested Rihanna and “Sugar’’ by Robin Schulz. He’s liked the Drake song I’ve put on recently. Not what you’d expect from “Fire on the Mountain’’ Bum.
I have other random things to share, which I will. But I’m going to post this and finish the rest in a little while.
By the way, pretty good week so far all around, isn’t it? Happy flight to Denver yesterday.
So I’m making my first stab at video blogging. This video is pretty rough, I admit it. We overloaded the iPhone so had to stop in the middle, delete a bunch of stuff to free up storage and start up again. We’ll get better.
This is shot this afternoon (Saturday) in the dugout after practice.
It’s great to be back on the field with all the guys. And sorry, Crawford, for posting on the same day . . . But I had to get my picks out before the Oscars tomorrow.
Thanks for watching. Really, this will get better.
By the way, think it’s time to update our photos over there on the right side? [Updated: DONE…take a look.]
It’s really disappointing to be out of the lineup right when the season gets started. I won’t be out for long, but missing any time at all is so frustrating because all you’re thinking during the off-season and especially spring training is, “How do I get ready for Opening Day and the new season? What can I do to get better?’’ You can’t wait to get back out there.
I still got butterflies on Opening Day down here in Arizona. I imagine I’ll feel them again for the home opener on Monday. Maybe you think at this point in our lives, playing in the Major Leagues, we’d get kind of jaded to it all. But you don’t. It’s still a huge deal. You’ve been waiting four-and-a-half months. You’re so raring to go and so excited that you have to learn how to calm yourself down and clear everything out of your head.
You do that by going back to basics. As a little kid you’re always told to keep your eye on the ball, and that’s basically what it is. When you have a lot of stuff cluttering your mind, that’s when you get yourself in trouble. You need to go out there and be free and easy both mechanically and mentally. It’s something I really worked on this spring.
One thing that really helps: Having a seven-month-old baby. You cannot be in a bad mood around that kid. It’s awesome. He’s just loves being alive every day. He’s a lot like me as a kid. You might not know it now, but I was kind of goofy growing up. You can ask some of the guys I played with in the minors. I was goofy. And Haylee’s just like me. So we expect Greyson to be the same way.
I have faith that this little setback is just that. It’s no fun watching a game from the dugout when all you’ve been thinking about is being on that field. I’m feeling good and know I’ll be back in the lineup very, very soon. No movie reviews until then!
In the clubhouse. The topic: TV binge watching.
Belt: You ever seen Walking Dead?
Crawford: You’ve asked me that, like, a hundred times.
Belt: I ask everybody so I don’t know who I asked.
Crawford: You’ve told me to watch that already. But I probably won’t.
Belt: It’s not really about zombies. Once you get into it, it’s the drama about them staying alive. The zombies are always going to be a part of it but it’s kind of like an outside thing.
Crawford: Is it like Zombieland?
Crawford: Then I’m not watching it.
Belt: I liked Zombieland, too. Everything was about the zombies in Zombieland. You seen Orange is the New Black?
Crawford: I’m on Season 1.
Belt: At first, I was thinking, I don’t get this show. Then I really liked it.
Crawford: The first episode I watched, I thought, Oh, this could be pretty interesting.
Crawford: Gross. I watched a few more episodes and watched all of them. Way better than zombies.
Belt: I’m telling you, I was totally opposed to watching Walking Dead, too. Everybody was telling me about it. They couldn’t shut up about it. So I watched two or three episodes and I couldn’t stop. I love binge-watching. I love it to death. I hate it when it’s over.
Crawford: I know.I want to watch, like, three episodes in a row. But I find that I’m much more tired at night now than I was in the past. Nine o’clock comes around, I’m ready to go to bed. Unfortunately the girls aren’t ready.
Belt: This off season (the first with a baby), we were in bed every night at 8. I didn’t go to sleep but we were in bed watching TV. Just enjoying the entertainment. It’s so great.
Crawford: Jalynne and I will watch Breaking Bad if we’re actually both awake and the girls are asleep. We’re on Season 2. It’s kind of our new “together’’ show because at the end of last year we finished three shows all around the same time: Always Sunny in Philadelphia, How I Met Your Mother and Dexter.
Belt: I started watching Dexter all over again. I think it’s a genius show — about a serial killer who kills serial killers! What can get better than that?
Crawford: I think it’s interesting how many shows nowadays have, like, the main character doing bad things but in a good way. Like you’re rooting for the bad guy, kind of.
Belt: The lesser of two evils.
Crawford: He can’t help himself from killing so he kills bad people.
Belt: Right, without his code he would be a straight-up serial killer. He’s just lucky he got that code when he was young.
Crawford: Breaking Bad, he’s producing meth to make money for his family. Which, I feel like he has a good amount of money already in Season 2, so he could have stopped.
Belt: All I’m watching right now is Walking Dead so I can’t binge.
Crawford: You’re caught up?
Belt: Yeah. It sucks.
Crawford: When I was down in the Dominican (rookie league), they showed Law and Order, CSI and Lost. One episode a week. They had it on repeat. So for week a straight they had one show on reruns. and the next week they’d do another episode.
Belt: Man, that’d really suck.
OK, now that we re-read this, it is totally boring. It was an experiment. Doesn’t work. But thanks for reading it if you got this far! We probably won’t have another blog post until we get to San Francisco. See you there.
Today’s post is an actual combo Brandon & Brandon blog. We decided to turn on the tape recorder and share with you a conversation between the two of us in the clubhouse. (Saves us from writing anything.) We flipped a coin to see who’d transcribe the tape. We won’t say who lost, but the tape was subsequently fobbed off on a Giants’ staffer who volunteered to do it, mostly to stop a particular someone’s whining and pleading for best two-out-of-three.
Belt: It would have been awesome to be in the lineup today with Will Ferrell playing, wouldn’t it? (Neither Brandon was in the lineup and didn’t make the trip to Glendale for the game.)
Crawford: Would it have been cool to see him? Yeah. But it’s a road game. I’m not disappointed not to go.
Belt: I don’t know if we’d get to talk to him that much, anyway.
Crawford: What would you have said?
Belt: I’d give him some tips on how to be funny. How to act little bit. Nothing as far as baseball goes, I don’t think.
Crawford: What’s your favorite Will Ferrell movie?
Belt: Just your normal ones. Old School. Step-Brothers. Talladega Nights. A lot of people like Elf.
Crawford: Anchorman’s a classic.
Belt. Anchorman! Yes! That’s up there at the top. But Stepbrothers is probably my favorite. It’s so stupid, but it’s hilarious.
Crawford: Step Brothers is all right. Not the best.
Belt: Step Brothers is one of those movies I can watch over and over. Like Tombstone. SuperBad.
Crawford: Elf is better than Step Brothers.
Belt. No, it’s not!
Crawford: Stranger than Fiction?
Belt: That’s the one I was trying to think of. It’s terrible!
Crawford: It’s better than Step Brothers.
Belt: No, it isn’t! Step Brothers is hilarious.
Crawford: Are we going to stay catch partners? (They were catch partners Wednesday when Crawford played in the field for the first time this spring. Last year Crawford’s catch partner was Pablo.)
Belt: I can’t remember who mine was last season. Hicks, before he left. I don’t know what I did after that. I had a concussion for a while. I don’t remember a lot.
Crawford: You threw with Joe (Panik).
Belt: That might be right. I can’t remember.
Crawford: I think he’s playing catch with McGehee. Probably so you wouldn’t ask him again.
Belt: You know I’m really tired right now, and I slept late today. Is that weird? I am like extremely dead.
Crawford: Did you have cherry juice?
Belt: I should have.
Crawford: I don’t believe it wakes you up. For me, it makes me more tired.
Belt: It’s got like 64 cherries in it, and it’s gross. But it’s supposed to give you energy. I didn’t drink it today. I need a Red Bull right now. I haven’t had a Red Bull in like six days.
Crawford: There are a bunch of sugar-free ones in the kitchen that are terrible for you.
Belt: it’s the sugar ones that are bad for you.
Crawford: I thought you were on a nutrition kick.
Belt: So I can’t have Red Bull? Why not?
Crawford: It’s bad for you.
Belt: What are the long-term effects of Red Bull?
Crawford: I don’t know.
Belt: Exactly! So you can’t say anything bad about it.
Crawford: You might develop super powers.
Belt: Yeah! I could!
Crawford: You might actually get wings.
Belt: I could get in the hot tub and spill it and go back in time. It’s possible.
Crawford: Where’d you go?
Belt: I like today. I wouldn’t go anywhere.
Crawford: Go to the future.
Belt: Yeah, I’d go to the future. Go a hundred years into the future and see where we are.
Crawford: Where WE are?
Belt: No — well, we might be alive because they might have the technology by then to bring you back to life.
Crawford: Or maybe the Red Bull will keep you living that long.
Belt: Maybe if I drink Red Bull my whole life I’ll be a thousand years old.
Crawford: Good point.
Tomorrow in Part II: Binge TV.
I know you all are happy with MadBum for the grand slam today. I’m mad at him. I have two grand slams in my whole life. He has two this year! I’m never going to hear the end of it.
My two grand slams: One in Triple A, and one in high school. The one in high school was against Will Alvis. That’s Will Alvis. A-L-V-I-S. He’s one of my buddies now. I want to make sure everybody knows I hit a grand slam off him.
This win against the Diamondbacks was a great way to go into the break. Great offense, great defense, great pitching. As Bochy has said, we’ve been a Tale of Two Teams. But we can’t change that. Now we have to use this game as kind of a springboard into morphing back into the team we know we really are.
I was scratched from the lineup right before the game. I tweaked my back in batting practice and started spasming. It’s nothing new. It happens about twice a year. It almost happens in spring training because I’m not used to playing. That’s probably the reason it happened today, too. My body is not all the way back from my time off with the thumb injury.
I did treatment in the training room all afternoon, but nothing helped. I’m about to get on a plane back home to Texas tonight, so I’ll take a pain reliever. I’ll rest it over the next few days of the All-Star break, and it’ll be fine.
Haylee and I plan on setting up the baby’s room while we’re home. We’ve shipped a crib we bought here and a bunch of great stuff people gave Haylee at her baby shower a couple weeks ago. Those baby showers are pretty awesome. I’m not sure we have to buy anything!
The rest of the time at home we’ll hang out with family and friends and take it easy. We’ll have people over for a cook-out Tuesday and watch the All-Star Game. To be honest, I don’t know if I’d watch the game if my friends weren’t coming over. It might be nice to get away from baseball altogether for a couple days. But we’ll have a good time.
No movie reviews today. I drove to the theater Thursday night to see the new Planet of the Apes movie, but when I got there I was so tired I turned around and went home. I drove there again yesterday and when I pulled up, I said, “Nah.’’ Too many people, for one thing, and I just didn’t have the energy. I think I’m just not used to playing yet.
I’m empathizing a little more with Haylee and her tiredness being pregnant. If this keeps up, I’ll have to add another grade to my movie rating system: BA — Brandon Asleep.
Here are a few answers to your questions:
Yes, I read all the comments. I like reading them. I appreciate all the advice and suggestions and funny replies. Sorry I don’t answer all of them.
We don’t prank new players when they arrive. We wait until the end of the season. That way we can include the September call-ups. It’s not that bad: Mostly you just have to dress up in ridiculous outfits. The photos will be all over the internet, so you’ll get to see what we do. ICYMI, here’s a photo of me and Crawford in 2011.
No, I don’t like True Lies because of the hotel dance scene. But it’s pretty comical. It’s Jamie Lee Curtis stripping for her husband but she doesn’t know it’s her husband.
We did not name Lilly after the Pink Martini song. I’ve never heard it. I will try to check it out sometime soon.
That’s it! If I don’t get out of here right now, I’m going to miss my flight. Talk to you after the break!