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.
Last night, with the new contract signed and delivered, I celebrated at the House of Prime Rib with Jalynne, my mom, my agents Joel Wolfe, Josh Persell, Rich Aude and Joel’s wife and daughter. (My dad had to work.) No champagne. Nothing extravagant. For me, the most important thing — whether it’s work or a night out — is the people I’m with.
That’s why this contract extension means so much. The money is great, don’t get me wrong. But now I know for the next six years I’ll be around the best guys in baseball — Buster, Joe, Matt, Bum, Hunter, the list goes on. Hopefully Belt will work out an extension, too. The no-trade clause was a big deal for me. I wanted to know I wouldn’t be going anywhere. By the end of the six years, Buster and I will have played ten years together. I can’t imagine a better guy to go through a career with.
We have something really special going on here, and the front office — namely Bobby Evans and Brian Sabean — is making sure this core group stays together to win more World Series Championships.
I said this in the press conference today: I’m living a dream beyond my imagination. It’s not only that I’m playing for my hometown team. But I have the two things I think everyone wants in whatever career they’re in: You’re around great people, and you have the opportunity to do great work.
Part of that work is giving back to the community. When you’re as fortunate as I am, I feel strongly there’s a responsibility to give back. So I’ll be getting more involved in the Giants Community Fund and Junior Giants. I’ll help to build or rebuild a field here in the Bay Area so kids will have a safe, clean place to play. I’m going to buy season tickets that will go to kids who otherwise couldn’t attend a Giants game. As a father myself, my focus is on helping kids, though I’ll continue the Craw Claw that helps Casa Colina, a brain-injury rehabilitation hospital.
We’ll also start looking to buy a house in the East Bay now that we know we’ll be here. We’ve always rented apartments or houses.
I have to say this week has been the most amazing week of my life career-wise. It began when Jalynne and I flew to New York last Monday. On Tuesday, we attended the Major League Baseball Alumni Association gala where they present Heart & Hustle Awards. The alumni association chooses a player from each team then vote on an overall winner, which was Anthony Rizzo this year. Brooks Robinson is the president of the association, so it was really cool to meet him.
On Wednesday we went to dinner with Joe Panik and his fiance, Brittany, to a great steakhouse called Quality Meats. Joe had never been, so I felt good about showing him a new spot in his own backyard. We went afterward to see Aladdin on Broadway. The movie was better, or at least I thought so. It was one of my favorite Disney movies as a kid. Then we went for frozen yogurt in Times Square.
Thursday we walked around Central Park, bought the girls some gifts in Times Square and had dinner with my agent.
Friday there was a lunch for the Gold Glove winners, the Rawlings guys, the award presenters and past winners and George Lopez, the host for the awards dinner later in the night. I sat next to Greg Maddux, who is a great guy.
The awards dinner was at The Plaza, where we were staying. Ozzie Smith presented my award. Jalynne and I sat with Salvador Perez and his family and Alceides Escobar and his family. The whole experience was pretty amazing.
And it got better: Right around that same time, I found out the contract extension was about to be finalized.
Now here I am on a Wednesday afternoon in November, a week before Thanksgiving, with so much to be grateful for. Jalynne and I are flying back home to Arizona today. Jalynne’s parents had been watching the girls and drove them yesterday to Arizona, so they’ll be there when we arrive.
Then we’ll be driving next week to Big Bear in SoCal to celebrate Thanksgiving with Jalynne’s family. We’ll go home for a bit then drive to Los Angeles, where we’ll celebrate Braylyn’s birthday on December 18, there, drive back up here to the Bay Area for Christmas with my family.
We’ll be driving everywhere because by then Jalynne won’t be able to fly. She’s due in late January. We already know it’s a boy. We’re naming him Braxton. I came up with the name. Jalynne and I chose the babies’ names while were still in college.
So happy I’ll be spending the next six years with all of you. Thank you for everything you do during the season. You make being a Giants player the best job in the world.
Happy Early Thanksgiving!
You remember the first day of school when you were a kid? (If you’re a kid reading this: Remember September?) You have new stuff, right out of the box. Shirts, shoes, backpack, notebook.
It’s kind of the same at the start of the season.
My new cleats arrived Monday, two days before we left Arizona. They’re not just new cleats, though. I got to design them. I have a Nike contract so they give me money to use however I want on their Nike site. So I’ve designed my own shoe. It’s surprising how many color and pattern choices go into designing a shoe.
There’s the top of the shoe, the sides, the back, the swoosh, the sole, the tongue, the laces. You can choose a color for your number and name on the side. In the past, the only option was solid colors but this year they have a graphic option. I don’t know how to describe it so I’m including a photo here of my home shoe (left), road shoe (middle) and batting practice shoe (right).
MLB says the shoe has to be 51 percent black. I know these don’t necessarily look like there’s 51 percent black but that’s just because the orange stands out so much.
Usually you need just two pairs of cleats in a season since you’re alternating road and home. I might make more, though, because it’s pretty fun. I might make a pair that has more black since we have the black jerseys this year.
I have a new glove, too, which I’ve been using all spring. This one came out of the box already pretty broken in. That happens sometimes. It arrives and you can play catch right away. Other times they’re really hard. Do I use the same glove all season? If it’s doing its job, it’ll stick around.
I also get new batting gloves. The manufacturer sent me four different color combos, three of each, so I have 12 pairs. They’ll send me more throughout the season. How long does a pair of batting gloves last? Depends on how well you’re hitting and how fast they tear. If you’re hitting well, and there’s a hole in them, you stick with them.
We had a great time at the Play Ball lunch today at the Hilton. Here’s a photo of the table set up for Belt, Justin Maxwell, Jean Machi and me. That long line in the background? That’s all the people waiting for Buster and Madison.
We did get some people in our line, though.
I think the strangest thing I signed was the lining of a guy’s sports coat. That was a first. I should have taken a picture of that.
Thanks for reading!
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.
With the All-Star Game tonight, I was thinking about how I watched it as a kid. I was a huge Giants fan, but also a baseball fan in general. I liked seeing the players line up before the game because back then, before Twitter and MLB network, I didn’t necessarily know who had made the team.
I was one of those kids who collected all the players’ cards. I’m sure they’re all still at my parents’ house. My dad has plenty of cards and memorabilia that he hasn’t thrown away, so I’m sure he hasn’t thrown away mine. He collected cards from football, baseball, some basketball. He has a boxing glove signed by Muhammad Ali, a Joe Montana football, a lot of cool stuff he got signed at card shows.
That was a big thing for us, the card shows. I’d go with my dad even when I was really young. My dad tells the story of Gaylord Perry holding me as a toddler while my dad took a picture.
It’s kind of funny now going to those cards shows and being one of the people who are signing. The shows are a lot different now. My dad said he’d sit there and talk to a guy for a while because nobody else would be around. Now there’s so much security. They put us in the chairs and tell people no pictures except while we’re signing. They want to get as many people through as possible.
I hope people know it’s not the players refusing to take photos or take time to chat. It’s the people holding the event wanting it to move quickly. So it’s changed a bit since I was going to the shows with my dad. But it’s so cool just to be there and sign stuff for people who want my autograph. It’s cool to think my card might be in a kid’s binder or box.
For me, it’s still kind of amazing seeing Will Clark here in the clubhouse so often, and hitting with Barry Bonds in spring training, and seeing Willie Mays almost every day. I was able to get Mays to sign my dad’s copy of Sports Illustrated from 1970 with Mays on the cover for getting his 3,000th hit. And my dad got to sit with Willie McCovey for a few innings in spring training this year. He doesn’t get real excited about things, but he seemed pretty excited about that.
Thinking about the cards, I remember reading Sports Illustrated for Kids in elementary school. Every issue had nine cardboard cards that you tore out of the magazine. I collected those like I collected every other card. They’d have athletes from other sports — swimmers, basketball players, gymnasts. Years and years later, I was talking with Jalynne and she mentioned the name of a gymnast she knew through her sister (who was an Olympic gymnast). The name sounded familiar to me. Then I remembered.
“I think I have her card!’’
I’m sure I’ll watch the All-Star game tonight because I know we’ll be home. Other than visiting my grandparents in Lincoln (near Sacramento), we’re just hanging out and relaxing during the break. I didn’t watch the home run derby last night. What’s the point if Bum’s not in it? Jalynne leaves tomorrow for LA so she’ll be with her parents during our road trip. The team leaves for Miami Thursday morning.
See you at the park when we return. Thanks for reading.
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!
I’m getting ready to board the team bus to the airport for Opening Day in Arizona. Our home is in Arizona, so Jalynne stayed there with the babies while I came here for the Bay Bridge Series. (Jalynne’s mother has been there since Jaydyn was born.)
Can’t wait to see all of them tonight when we get in. After the Diamondbacks’ series. Jalynne will drive with her mom and the babies to Los Angeles for the Dodgers series, then drive up here for the home opener. Our rental house is pretty much ready because we moved all the furniture in when we were here for FanFest.
About the birth: When Braylyn was born, Jalynne was in labor for 52 hours. It was brutal. Jaydyn was born by scheduled C-section – a hundred times easier. We went in at 7:15 on a Saturday morning, and the baby was born at 9:30. Two hours – and that’s including paper work and surgery prep.
The nurses allowed me to clip the umbilical cord, then they weighed and measured Jaydyn, cleaned her up a little, wrapped her and put her in my arms. I brought her over to Jalynne, who had been awake and chatty through the whole thing. I took that day off and the next. My dad and sister, who where at the hospital, joked that I could just run across to the Giants’ stadium across the street, pinch hit and run back.
Braylyn was a little confused at first about this cute little creature in her life. She gives her little sister kisses then bops her on the head. I think she means just to pat her but she doesn’t have a concept yet of rough and gentle. She’ll jam a pacifier in the baby’s face, like “Here! Take it! You want this!’’
The best description I’ve heard about going from one kid to two is it’s like basketball – you go from playing zone defense to man-to-man. It’s been a little crazy. Jalynne’s got Jaydyn for the most part because she’s breast-feeding; I’ve got Braylyn, who never stops pulling out pots and pans, DVDs, video games. I think she plays with everything in the house except her toys.
Back to baseball: A highlight of spring camp was working with Barry Bonds. I was pretty terrible at the plate the first three weeks of camp but finished strong, and I think at least some of the credit goes to Bonds.
The second day he was in camp, I went to the cage to work on stuff with Joe Lefebvre, the assistant hitting coach. Right when I finished, Bonds showed up. He was talking to Hunter, and I stuck around to listen. Bonds was talking about drills Hunter could do to track the ball deeper. He told him to keep his front shoulder in so it didn’t fly open — which was exactly what I was just working on in the cage.
At some point, Bam-Bam told Bonds about my situation – that I was a really good fielder but needed to hit better. He said the team didn’t want to sit me against lefties, which Bochy did a lot during the second half of last season.
So Bonds talked to me about how it took him three years before he felt he had become a good hitter in the big leagues, mostly because he struggled against lefties. It was kind of cool hearing from Barry Bonds that it was only after his third full season that he thought he became a consistent hitter. This is my third full season.
During Bond’s week in camp, when I wasn’t in the lineup I tried to work with him. Once I took a half a bucket of balls from our new left-handed BP pitcher. Half a bucket is a lot of balls. Bonds stayed at the cage the whole time. He told me to actually aim my front shoulder at shortstop as kind of an exaggerated way to make sure I kept it closed. It was just a drill for BP, but he said to think about it during the game as a reminder.
The first couple games after that, I had two hits off lefties. One was a line drive to left field, which I hadn’t done all spring off a lefty. I broke a bat the next time up, but it was a good swing and the ball got through for a base hit. I broke three bats, in fact, because I was keeping my front shoulder closed so long that I was getting jammed.
It’s still a little uncomfortable, as all mechanical adjustments are, but I’m keeping my shoulder closed now without having to exaggerate it. There are times when I’ll take a swing and think, “Oh, man, I flew open a bit there.’’ The important thing is I’m recognizing when I’m doing it and making the adjustment.
Obviously I have to hit better against lefties this year to help the team. I feel as confident about it as I ever have, given how I’ve been feeling at the plate the last couple weeks. It took Bonds three full seasons to find consistency against LH pitchers, so I guess I shouldn’t have expected I’d get there a whole lot faster.
Can’t wait to get this season started. See you back at AT&T on the 8th!
Jalynne and I are back home. Everything’s fine. We’re hanging out with Braylyn and having a nice quiet day. I’ll take a few minutes for a short post.
We have a team meeting most days before practice. Bochy goes over the schedule and stuff like that. It is also the time we get to know guys who are in big league camp for the first time. Bochy summons two each morning to introduce themselves. They give their name, position, where they’re from and what they like to do.
Then they get questions from the rest of the team. You can’t imagine the ridiculous questions. They make me uncomfortable. Guys will bait the new player by asking him to name his current favorite song. The player will say what it is.
Then: “OK, now sing it.’’
That’s when I think, “Oh, I’m so glad I’m not up there right now.’’
In my first big-league camp in 2010, the hardest thing I had to answer was Brian Wilson asking why I cut my hair. I had reported for physicals the day before and had pretty long hair. Later that day I got it cut because it was Big League camp and I didn’t want to come in with ridiculous long hair. So Wilson asked me why I cut it.
“Um, I don’t know,’’ I said. “I thought it was a good idea.’’
That was the toughest question. I was lucky.
It’s a fun clubhouse again this year, so Mike Morse fits right in. He’s like a combination of Ryan Theriot, Mark DeRosa and Hunter. He likes to have a good time and has a good sense of humor. He’s also a great storyteller. (I won’t share any here for a variety of reasons.) But as I saw in our first game yesterday, he’s pretty intense on the field and in the dugout. That’s the Hunter part of him.
Morse, Pagan and I are in the same BP group. It quickly became known as the Good Pelo Group. Pelo is Spanish for hair. Who has the best hair? It’s not for me to say. But if you asked Pagan, he definitely would say himself. I think Morse would probably say me. Angel spends way more time on his than I do on my mine, by the way. He puts in his products and smoothes his hair really carefully into this Mohawk kind of thing. I just put gel in and put a hat on. I’m not sure what Morse does.
Then the other day Belt joined our BP group and messed up the Pelo thing. We told him yesterday if he wanted to stay he had to grow his hair.
I hear Belt is doing yoga. It’s almost worth getting up early to see that in person. Almost. But not quite. I like yoga. I don’t like 6:15 a.m. yoga.
Back to the field tomorrow. We have a split squad: here against the Brewers, at Phoenix Municipal against the A’s. Let’s hope Morse draws the Brewers. Not sure he’s ready to see Reddick again just yet.