I’ve been telling people today, “Yeah, it felt great when I hit that walk-off.’’
That’s the great thing about being a Brandon. Craw hit a walk-off yesterday but it was like I hit it. When one Brandon’s hurting, we’re all hurting. When one Brandon feels good, we all feel good. I didn’t have such a productive day yesterday, but Craw and Hicks carried the Brandon flag. Hicks got a couple hits and made some game-saving plays. So I have to say overall it was a really good day for me.
I want to go to a movie on our off-day today, but there’s nothing too exciting out there. I’m not interested in Draft Day. Sports movies are usually not very representative of real life and they end up being stupid. I don’t want to see Captain America. Maybe we’ll go to Noah or Divergent, though Divergent didn’t get good reviews. Maybe Joe with Nicholas Cage.
The movie I’m waiting for is Neighbors with Seth Rogan and Zac Efron. I think it’s out in May.
If Haylee and I don’t go to the movies, we’ll probably just hang out at home with the dog. Maybe go for a walk. The exciting life of a Major Leaguer.
We really like the place we’re staying. We’re two exits from Walnut Creek in one direction and two exits from Danville in the other. And at the end of our street is a shopping plaza with a supermarket and restaurants. Very convenient.
Wait, I just took a look at Craw’s last two posts. Do you know he has almost 300 replies between the two? Three hundred! That’s got to be some kind of blog record. I’m really proud of my fellow Brandon. Way to go! Of course, he had to ask you to reply so he could beat Hunter’s 90-something replies. I love Craw but he is so competitive it’s almost sad, really. Only somebody colossally insecure would stoop to such juvenile tactics to get readers to post replies (which you can do below; it’s very simple; doesn’t take any time at all). Really, Craw, give it a rest. Just let the best blogger win.
I’m still a little damp from Angel dumping the Gatorade cooler on me. I think he got more water on Amy G. than on me.
I’ve watched the replay twice already, I’m not going to lie. I’ll go home and probably watch it again. I might keep it on a loop. Maybe make a GIF for my phone. These don’t happen to me every day. In fact, I have never hit a walk-off home run in my life. Little League, college, minors, anywhere.
I knew it was out as soon as the barrel of the bat hit the ball. You can just tell how it feels and sounds.
Did you like that bat flip? I learned it from Bum the other day on his grand slam. Seriously, though, everybody’s got a bat flip. We call it pimping the home run. (Is that politically incorrect to say?) You give it a little individual style, like a layup in basketball. Not that I have a ton of experience. I bat-flipped only one other time that I can remember. You have to earn a bat flip. I think a walk-off splash-hit in the 10th qualifies.
I dropped the bat, then I thought for a second — with a pang — that it might curve foul. Luckily it stayed in by about ten feet.
I had faced Brothers yesterday and hit a first-pitch fastball for a double. So in this cat-and-mouse game you play with a pitcher, I guessed that he wouldn’t be throwing me a first-pitch fastball again. He has a good slider, so I thought he’d try to get ahead of me with something like that.
Sure enough, he threw a splitter but it was way outside. OK, now I know he doesn’t have great control of his off-speed pitch. So he’s probably going to come back at me with a fastball. I got into hit mode. And there it was. (Of course if he had thrown a first-pitch fastball and gotten ahead, I would have been kicking myself a little bit.)
I’m not sure there’s a better feeling in baseball than rounding third and your teammates are going crazy at home plate, waiting for you. It’s a little overwhelming, actually. Everybody’s whacking you on the head and grabbing at you. I’ll take it. I’ll take it again on Tuesday. And as many times as I can.
When I walked into the clubhouse after my interview with Amy G, there was great music blaring from the speakers and everybody clapping and yelling. Bochy joked that he was going to start sitting me against righties instead of lefties.
I’ve got to ask Bam how many points I get for my Team Brandon hitting team. A walk-off home run has got to be about 50, at least.
Pretty nice way to go into an off day.
So Hicks and Hunter fill in for a couple days and suddenly traffic to the blog explodes. What’s that about? Hicks received 38 or so replies to his post, more than twice as many as my last one got! Hunter’s post yesterday got more than 60 replies in the last 24 hours.
And his post started a Twitter trend — #TogetherWeAreBrandon.
I mean, I love the team unity and all that. But it kind of makes Belt and me feel like old shoes. Everybody’s getting their heads turned by the new guys. We weren’t enough?
Believe, I’m going to count every reply. Not that we’re competitive or anything. The hitting groups Hunter wrote about in his blog are not batting-practice groups. They’re part of Bam-Bam’s new hitting game. Every player gets points for moving a runner over, RBI’s, extra-base hits, etc. The groups compete against each other. The group with the most points at the end of each month wins.
There were three captains — Buster, Hunter and Pablo — who picked teams, which include the starting pitchers. Buster drafted all three Brandons, so he named it Team Brandon.
Even before that, though, we kind of had a Team Brandon thing going on. We figured since a lot of guys have special handshakes with each other, we ought to come up with a Brandon handshake because, well, we’re the Brandons. It’s hard to get a three-person handshake, but I think Belt came up with it. If you look in the dugout before the game, you’ll see it. We slap hands down and up twice, then once patty-cake style then a chest bump as we say, “Brandon!’’ in a very manly tone.
We developed this in spring training. You might not know this, but just like we work on getting our swings back and fielding ground balls, we also work on handshakes. I have a different one for almost every guy. A lot of them are pretty similar. For my handshake with Hunter — which he came up with — we fist-bump then I go to punch him and he catches my hand and I straighten my fingers as if I’m going to jab him in the neck as if we’re in The Matrix.
Even with the Brandon-Brandon-Brandon handshake, Belt and I still do our own before every game. It’s a fist-bump and then I say a particular string of words to him. I won’t share the exact words. I basically called him a big dumb stupid idiot. It started after a game in which he did really well, and I’ve been saying it to him before each game ever since.
I still want to tell you about the start of the season and other stuff, but I want to get this posted before the game. Belt and I love #TogetherWeAreBrandon. It’s another way of bringing all of us together — the players and fans, everybody. We take it as a great compliment.
But, you know, to quote Marvin Gaye, ain’t nothin’ like the real thing.
Hello, everyone. This is Hunter Pence filling in for Brandon Hicks, or Brandon Crawford, or Brandon Belt, whoever’s turn it is supposed to be.
I’m filling in because — you probably didn’t know this — Hunter is a nickname for Brandon.
My middle name is Andrew, which is Swedish for Brandon. And Pence is English for Brandon. So my actual name is Brandon Brandon Brandon.
You also probably didn’t know that “Tim Lincecum’’ is Dutch for Brandon.
Buster is a nickname for Brandon. Pablo is Spanish for Brandon. Pagan is Puerto Rican for Brandon. Madison is Southern for Brandon. “Bumgarner’’ is — I have no idea what that is. I think it’s Arabic for Brandon.
Pretty much everyone is Brandon. We’re Team Brandon.
Kruk and Kuip have got to get with the program. Brandon’s throwing the pitch to Brandon. When anybody steps into the box, Brandon’s up to bat. The double play combo is Brandon to Brandon to Brandon. (Wait, they already call that one.)
So now if you yell “Brandon,’’ you’ll get everybody’s attention. We’ll all respond because we all became Brandon when the third Brandon arrived. We’re a unit. When we take the field we’re a family of Brandons.
The original Brandons still have some privileges. They have their own really cool handshake. It’s the patty-cake chest-bump Brandon. You need to check that out. (We new Brandons don’t get to do the handshake.)
You might notice the originals all have beards. Beards are part of the ancestral tradition of Brandon-dom.
The rest of us Brandons who also have beards are doing this to honor the Brandon history. Pagan, with his beard, is clearly honoring his Brandon-ness. Posey has not yet matured enough for a beard. He’s still a Baby Brandon.
The original Brandons are all in the same hitting group, which is called, of course, Team Brandon. Buster’s in that group and Timmy. My hitting group is called Laser Swag: Morse, Arias, Perez, Vogelsong and Hudson. It’s a name we all agreed on. The other one is Pablo’s group, called La Guerilla. I think it means gangster or army in Spanish. Or maybe it means Brandon.
Hey, everyone. It’s Brandon Hicks. Brandon Crawford’s wife Jalynne came up with the idea that the newest Brandon ought to take over the blog for a day. The other Brandons thought today would be a good day. Great. Right after I strike out three times and make an error. Where were they when I went 2-for-4 with two doubles and two runs against the Dodgers?
I’m a pretty quiet guy, and frankly I didn’t know what a blog was until they explained it. But since my locker is right between them, and since Belt is my throwing partner every day, I figured I’d better do this.
Actually, I’m happy to fill in because it gives me a chance to tell you how unbelievable it was to start for the Giants on Opening Day here at AT&T Park. I didn’t find out until yesterday morning. I was in the lunch room around 8:30 or 9 when Bochy told me I was starting. My adrenaline started to get going. I’d never been in the starting lineup on Opening Day.
My girlfriend is here with me, so it was great to share this with her. She doesn’t know that much about baseball because she hasn’t been around it much. But she thought it was pretty awesome. How could she not? The planes, the fireworks, the screaming fans, the BatKid. I didn’t know anything about the BatKid, so Carl, our conditioning coach, told me how the city basically turned into Gotham City for him last year. That was pretty sweet to have him here yesterday.
I wasn’t nervous to take the field, but I was definitely excited. I just wanted to get that first ground ball to let my emotions calm down a little bit. You want to treat the game like any other game but on Opening Day at a park like this with fans like these, it’s clearly not just any other game. Yesterday was unlike anything I’ve been a part of.
On the double play throw, I rushed it a little bit, didn’t get my feet set and made a bad throw. You feel bad for the pitcher especially when a run scores, but you have to let it go and think about the next pitch and the next play. You have to stay in the moment.
Same with the strike-outs. You have to put them behind you. I was probably a little over-anxious and trying to do too much. It was just one of those days when you get outside your game plan. Today is a new day, so you go out and make the most of it. We play way too many games to worry about one game. You’d have a headache every day.
The most important thing is the team won. It’s the only thing that matters.
Walking back to the hotel after the game was as awesome as the game. Everybody was wearing Giants shirts and hats. The streets and the bars were packed. Everywhere we looked we saw orange and black. I have to say that was really cool.
OK, fellow Brandons, the blog is yours again. Thanks, everybody, for welcoming me. This is an awesome place to play.
I thought spring training was just for my baseball stuff. Apparently it’s spring training for my living arrangements, too. When we got into San Francisco Wednesday night, I drove to the house Haylee and I rented in the East Bay. The lady we’re renting from told me how to work the alarm system. I had it all written down.
So I unlocked the door, and I punched in the numbers. And the alarm went off. I punched in the numbers again. The alarm kept blaring. I called the alarm company and was shouting over the alarm.
Then the police showed up. I was telling them I was doing the exact thing the landlord told me. I have an alarm system at my own house, so I know how they work.
It kept ringing and soon 30 minutes had passed. It’s after 10 by this point. I decided just to leave and sleep at the team hotel. So I drove back into the city after I had driven all the way out there. The next day we got hold of the company and changed the code. But just to be sure, I went out there yesterday before the game and the alarm worked. Ready for the season!
To answer some questions from last time: I never got to spend time with Barry Bonds. He arrived the day before I go sick and basically was out of commission for five days. I heard great things from other players, so I really hope I get another chance.
No, I never got back to yoga. Just went that once. First, I was sick. Second, the class schedule changed a lot because we had night games.
A reader named Mark left a comment about my language when I played Crawford in a football video game. Mark suggested I didn’t really say, “Oh my gosh! Seriously? No chance! This game’s so stupid.’’
Mark, that is actually the way I talk. I try to keep bad words to a minimum. Sometimes it’s hard because you get so caught up in what you’re doing that stuff just comes out that you wish didn’t. But for the most part I can keep it in check. I don’t want anyone back home see me say that stuff on TV. Especially little kids who watch. Even in the clubhouse, I try to avoid it at all times. I think the only time I do say something is if I get really frustrated with something that happens on the field.
I went through a phase during puberty when I used bad language. I think I wanted to feel older. I wanted to feel cool. But when I got into pro ball, I really watched myself because that’s not something I want people to see me do. They don’t want their kids to hear that stuff. I would not appreciate if my kids, when I have them, see and hear that stuff. It’s part of life, I know. Kids are going to get exposed to it. But I’d rather it not be from me.
Jessica left a message that she tried to bring me a bottle of Olive Garden salad dressing but she wasn’t allowed to bring it into Talking Stick. If there’s one gift that I appreciate, it’s Olive Garden salad dressing. Thanks, Jessica, for the idea. It’s the thought that counts. But here’s the address for AT&T Park – 24 Willie Mays Plaza, San Francisco, CA, 94107, in case you still have it!
You also mentioned about getting a hug from me like you did at last spring training. I’m sorry to say I’m going to lay off the hugging for a little bit. I might have to stop getting real close to people in public altogether because I keep getting sick! I’m not sure if that’s even what’s making me sick, but I never get sick in the off-season. Maybe it’s using everybody’s pens? Should I carry my own pen? I have to ask what other players do. It only takes one sick person to pass along the germs. I’m not a germaphobe but I can’t keep getting sick. So please don’t take it personally!
What did you think of the new commercials? I think they’re pretty funny. I hope they dispel the impression that I’m always mad about something. My dad gets the same thing. I guess we look like we have a perpetual frown on our faces.
Maybe the commercials might help to show who we are off the field. I swear, I think some people who think we’re just robots and when we’re done with the game they kind of pack us up and load us in our lockers and they come get us the next day. I get these crazy comments sometimes on Twitter. I might tweet something about what I’m watching on TV and somebody replies with “Why aren’t you in the cage working on your hitting right now?’’ It doesn’t bother me but it kind of gives you an idea of the mentality. I guess I should just have compassion for someone who’s just so angry and unhappy.
OK, I have only one movie review.
Bad Words: It’s Jason Bateman’s directorial debut, and I think he did a pretty good job. He plays a guy who’s 40-something. He finds a loophole in the national spelling bee rules where he can actually go and participate. He has a reason for doing it, but in the meantime he basically tries to sabotage the entire thing so he can win. He says some stuff in there that is outrageous, and that’s where most of the comedy comes from. It’s stuff that if someone said it in real life, they’d get in big-time trouble for it. Really politically incorrect. But funny.
Two and a half stars.
I watched 12 Years a Slave again because Haylee hadn’t seen it. It was just as good the second time. This time I was really thinking about the ending, when he’s riding away in the carriage and leaves behind people who spent the rest of their lives in slavery. Haylee liked it, I think, though I didn’t really ask her. She stayed awake through it, so I’d say she thought it was pretty good.
Thanks for reading. Can’t wait to start real games!
We’re sharing the space today. SFG Productions taped us playing Madden NFL against each other last week. They’ll show it on an “Inside the Clubhouse’’ segment on Comcast at some point. In the meantime, we got someone to transcribe the audio (at least a lot of it). You might find it totally boring, but it was an easy way to “write’’ a post. We like easy. (Especially Belt. Let’s be honest.)
To set the scene: We’re in an empty suite at Scottsdale Stadium sitting on stools and facing a huge screen. We’re holding PlayStation controllers that neither of us has ever used. Crawford picks the 49ers as his team. Belt picks the Cowboys. Then Belt sets the difficulty level.
Craw: You serious? At least All-Pro.
Belt: All-Pro? No!
[The music comes up. Teams appear on the screen.]
Belt: If you remember, when they played each other in 2012 the Cowboys won.
Craw: This is 2014. Nobody cares about 2012.
Belt: Don’t look at my plays.
Craw: I’m picking my own plays.
Belt: First down, son!
[Then another first down for Dallas. And another.]
Belt: Are you even playing defense?
Craw: I’m pressing buttons still trying to figure it out.
[Dallas scores, PAT good, 7-0]
Belt [Examining the controller to choose defensive plays]: What am I doing here? Oh my goodness.
[49ers receiver eludes Cowboys’ defender for a first down.]
Belt: That’s bullcrap. Everybody knows the Cowboys have the best secondary in the NFL.
[Then the Cowboys stuff 49ers RB Frank Gore.)
Belt: Take a seat!
[Cowboys’ ball. Incomplete pass.]
Announcer: Terrible route!
Belt [glaring at his controller]: This thing is not made for lefties.
[Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo fumbles.]
Belt: Oh my gosh! Seriously? No chance! This game’s so stupid.
Announcer: That was just a terrible job by the offensive player!
Belt: That was just a terrible job by the makers of this game. Romo doesn’t fumble.
[A few minutes later Frank Gore runs for a 49ers touchdown, PAT good, 7-7.]
Belt: Well, we know where the makers of this game are from. They make PlayStations in the Bay Area, right?
Craw: You think that’s what’s going on?
Belt: I know that’s what’s going on.
[Romo fumbles again.]
Belt: Oh my god! OK, I quit. I want to break this thing. You got to be kidding me.
[A few plays later, the 49ers score again, 14-7. Then the Cowboys score, 14-14 at halftime.]
Belt: We’re tied, and I never play and you play all the time. How does that make you feel?
Craw: Not very good, to be honest.
[49ers open second half with a steady drive down the field.]
Craw: You nervous?
[Quarterback sneak for 49ers touchdown, 21-14]
[Crawford laughs. Belt is disgusted.]
Belt: Why are we playing at Candlestick? Did you do this? To give you as many advantages as possible today?
[But soon Dallas scores. Belt wants a timeout before the PAT]
Belt: How do you call a timeout on this thing?
Craw: Why are you calling a timeout?
Belt: [Laughs]: I have to figure out how to do this!
Craw: You going for two?
Belt: Stop looking at my stuff, man!
Craw: I’m looking at the screen to pick a play.
[Belt’s two-point conversion pass fails. Score is 21-20, 49ers]
Belt: What was that? [Laughs]. Go big or go home.
[Belt calls for an onside kick. The ball slips through the 49ers hands, and Dallas recovers.]
Belt: Oh, oh!
Craw [Smiling]: PlayStation’s stupid.
Belt: Oh yes! This is the best game ever!
Craw: The best part is I had no way to control that.
Belt: Yes, you did — catch the ball!
Craw: It was in his hands.
[Incomplete pass for Dallas. Then another.]
Belt: This is the dumbest game I’ve ever seen!
[Then a gain of 9.]
Belt: Fourth and inches!
Craw [Deadpan]: I’m pretty sure he’s going for it here.
[Dallas picks up the first down. Two-minute warning.]
Belt: My palms are sweating.
[First and 10 for Dallas. Incomplete.]
Belt: Oh my god!
Craw: Do you have confidence in your kicker?
Belt: No. I don’t have confidence in myself to make the kick.
Craw: It’s only a 57-yarder from there.
[Complete pass. Third and short.]
Announcer: Third and short is a lot easier than third and long!
Belt: That’s some good insight right there.
[Incomplete. Fourth down.]
Belt: OK, time out so I can freak out. How far am I? Where am I?
Craw: The 32?
Belt: Where’s the wind coming in from?
Craw [Waiting to choose his defensive play]: I’m making sure you’re kicking it before I press the button. You kicking it?
Belt: Yeah, I’m kicking it.
Crawford: Now that I taught him how to kick, he’s a decent kicker.
Announcer: No good!
Belt: Oh my gosh! [Laughing] Did he break his leg? I don’t know what happened! You got to be kidding me!
Craw: [Laughing] Candlestick wind.
Belt: I nailed that.
Craw: I thought you had it.
Belt: This game wins Dumbest Game Ever Award.
[49ers gain 8]
Belt: How do I call a timeout?
Craw: Press that button there.
[Timeout. Then 49ers immediately make a first down].
Belt: That’s it. [He stands, takes off his microphone, puts it on his stool and walks to the door.]
Craw: You have 30 seconds left.
Craw: Actually their defense is probably going to be better now that he’s gone.
Belt: It’s ridiculous. This game is ridiculous.
[Incomplete pass for the 49ers]
Craw: Defense is better without you.
[Belt calls another timeout]
Craw: [Deadpan] Take your timeout on an incomplete pass. That’s a good idea.
Belt: I nailed that kick. Doesn’t make any sense.
Craw: I’m a little embarrassed by how bad I played.
Belt: Yeah, me too. I was a little off today.
[49ers run the ball, and the clock runs out. 49ers win, 21-20.]
Belt: Well, congratulations. EA Sports is in the Bay Area. You win.
Craw: Sore loser.
Not Ready to Pack Up Yet
Hard to believe there are just three games left in the season. Jalynne has pretty much packed up all her stuff. I haven’t done anything. I like going home after games and just relaxing with my two girls. I don’t want to be packing up the apartment. So I’ll do it all next week. We have the apartment until October 15. No reason to rush. Then we’ll drive to Southern California and stay a few days before driving on to Arizona.
Though the road trip was long and we couldn’t wait to get home, we had a great time in New York. Jalynne was with me, then her parents flew in with Braylyn, and my dad and some family friends were there, too. Before everyone else arrived, Jalynne and I went to see Spiderman on Broadway. I don’t recommend it. Then we saw Jersey Boys, where we ran into Bochy and his wife, Sabean and his wife and scout Lee Elder and his wife.
We had dinner at a place near Central Park called Quality Meats. It sounds like a butcher shop but it’s a nice steak restaurant. We liked it so much we went twice.
The first day we were there, the team bus left the hotel at 1 for a 7 o’clock game. That’s way too early. So the next day, I asked Belt if he wanted to try taking the subway. I knew other guys were doing it. He downloaded an app that tells you where to catch the trains and which one to take. So we did that for the Mets and Yankees games. One guy recognized Belt when we were heading to Citi Field. “Hey, take it easy on us tonight,’’ the guy said.
It was cool to be at Yankee Stadium for the Mariano Rivera tribute. I obviously don’t know him personally, but it seems like he’s the perfect guy to model yourself after as a baseball player. It would have been cool to face him. I probably would have broken my bat like everybody else. Rivera throws a cut fastball and a two-seam fastball. If you’re a righty, the ball’s breaking away, so you’re either going to hit it off the end or you’re going to miss it. If you hit it off the end, you’re probably going to break your bat. Against a lefty, it’s the same thing except the pitch is coming inside and it’ll hit the bat near your hands. Against Buster, the pitch looked like it was going to be middle or middle-away, and instead it came boring down in on him and he got jammed. The bat broke into four pieces — and Buster kept them as souvenirs.
I was surprised the other day when reporters were waiting at my locker before the game. They presented me with their annual Good Guy Award. They said they appreciated how open and cooperative I was. A Good Guy Award is always nice wherever it’s coming from.
We have two big vacations planned. In November Jalynne and I are taking a Mediterranean cruise that starts in Barcelona and stops in Cannes, Pisa, Florence, Rome, Venice and Dubrovnik, Croatia. Jalynne’s been to Europe but this will be my first trip. Really looking forward to it. Then we’re spending New Year’s in Park City, Utah, with Jalynne’s twin sister and her husband, and my best friend and his wife. Braylyn’s not going on the cruise, but she’ll be with us in Utah. I’m sure she’s going to love the snow.
I’m going to change my workouts a little this off-season. Last season was so long that I felt I needed to give my body a longer rest. But when I began throwing in December, my arm was really tight. So I’ll start throwing once or twice a week beginning next month then dive into more intense workouts in December. I also want to have a more consistent workout regimen throughout the season. I’m more tired than I should be and I lost 12 pounds over the course of the season, which has never happened before. I think it might be from not working my legs and upper body enough.
Thanks for reading. And thanks for continuing to come out to the ballpark to support us. You don’t know how much it means to all of us.
– Brandon Crawford
Whatever you’ve read about the rookie hazing in Times Square, believe me, it was better. If I was one of the rookies, I’d have hated it. As a bystander it was one of the best things ever.
They were wearing just speedos, cowboy boots, a cowboy hat and guitar. That was it. It was way worse than what we had to do when I was a rookie. We had to wear full body suits—these nylon things that stretched from your toes to the top of your head like the costumes for Blue Man Group. It covered your body but was revealing at the same time. It showed every bump. Not a good look. We were walking around a part of San Diego that was packed with people. I got separated from the group somehow – I think I went into a restaurant to go to the bathroom and they left me.So I was walking by myself in this bright-colored, very revealing body suit. You can imagine the looks I got. It was the most awkward thing ever.
But it wasn’t nearly as bad as this year’s hazing. You wouldn’t believe how many Giants fans were in Times Square. Tons. They recognized the veteran players, and we told them to hang around to see the show. So our guys had a nice big crowd around them.
Their main goal was to find the real-life Naked Cowboy and get their picture with him. So they did that. Then there was the Naked Cowgirl. She was about 80. I’m not kidding you. She was naked except for pasties. That was weird. There were also a couple girls dressed up like Vegas showgirls with nothing on but body paint that didn’t cover up anything. There are an amazing large number of naked people in Times Square.
The rookies had to collect a certain amount of money before they could change into their regular clothes. They played the guitar, did whatever they could to get money. Roger Kieschnick was pretty successful. Heath Hembree was talking to everybody and anybody. I think Johnny Monell and Juan Perez actually enjoyed it. They were really good sports about it.
A lot of the wives made the trip to New York. Haylee and I went to see The Lion King one night after a day game. It was pretty spectacular. The only thing with the Broadway plays – at least the two I’ve been to – is they’re always packed. I can’t stand sitting for two and a half hours and not move. At the movies, I can get up and do whatever I want. But in a Broadway theater, if you’re in the middle of the row, you feel you’re stuck there. The people behind me were tiny and I’m huge, so I was trying to slump down in my seat. So it was feeling pretty cramped. But the show was great.
We ate beforehand at Ted’s Montana Grill, anoutstanding steak house owned by Ted Turner. And we saw him in there! He was sitting right near us. It was like seeing Santa Claus at the North Pole.
Yesterday before the Dodger game back here in San Francisco, Haylee and I ate at Olive Garden. Great as ever. I always pay a little extra now to get alfredo sauce with my breadsticks. I don’t know what I’d do if they stop giving free breadsticks. I go to places for free appetizers. That’s a fact. That’s why I go to Mexican restaurants. You get chips and salsa.
I don’t know how you’re doing in your fantasy football league, but I’m not a happy owner right now. I’m in three leagues, and I’m behind in all of them. I have great players, but they’re playing terrible. They’re not gelling. They don’t have good team chemistry. I’m going to have to call a team meeting. Get these players together and figure something out.
In the Giants fantasy league, I’m 1-2. I reallydidn’t want to be part of the Giants’ league because I was already on two other teams. But I got talked into it. I can be talked into almost anything, by the way. I’m a follower.
On the off day Monday, I saw the movie Prisoners, so here’s the review.
Two families’ daughters get kidnapped, and the whole movie is about the families trying to find these kids. It was two-and-a-half hours long, but there wasn’t a time I was bored because there are twists and turns to keep you interested. And the ending it pretty good. It’s kind of predictable but not completely. Hugh Jackman and Terence Howard are really good. There are some torture elements in the movie, so if that bothers you, you might want to watch out for that. I can see why the torture is in there, though. I mean, if you were in the same situation, what wouldn’t you do to find your kid? Haylee liked it, too, which says a lot because she hates movies.
Three and half stars. Maybe 3.75. But let’s go with 3.5. It loses half a point for the semi-predictability. And at one point there was something in there that they were really beating to death and they needed to move on.
See you at the ballpark for these final few days. We’re finishing pretty strong, I think, and looking forward to a fresh start next spring.
With new guys called up this month, Crawford, Blanco and I are blogging about playing in the Majors for the first time and what advice we have for the rookies.
When we broke camp in 2011, I still didn’t know if I had made the team. To be honest, I was just excited to come here for the Bay Bridge Series. That was pretty awesome. When Bochy gave me the news in his office that I made the Opening Day roster, the Showtime crew was there so I think a lot of people saw how emotional I was. You work your whole life to get to a certain place and you finally make it you don’t really know what to think. It’s just a cool feeling to know the hard work has paid off.
You get caught up in the excitement of everything — and what you don’t realize is that the journey is just beginning.
You realize that now you’ve got to keep performing if you want to stay up here.
My advice would be: Do what you do and be who you are. If you try to do more than you’re capable of doing or be more than you are, you’re going to get yourself in trouble. You can’t be thinking you have to live up to somebody else’s expectations. That’s just counterproductive. The way to play this game is to play within yourself. Listen, they called you up for a reason: You’re good enough to be up here. You have to remember that to keep your confidence. Because once you lose confidence up here, it’s tough.
There are practical things, too, that you have to learn. I know Crawford talked about the unwritten rules about where to sit on the plane. I feel bad for the new guys who don’t know about it and sit in somebody else’s spot and then it gets awkward because that guy has to ask the other guy to move. I could never ask the guy to move. I’d have to go find another place to sit. So I avoid the awkwardness by trying to be the first guy off the bus and onto the plane so I’m already in my spot before the new guys get on. Problem solved.
A few other things: Don’t be the first one to grab food from the post-game spread. Don’t be the first one in the shower, especially after a loss. Just give it a little time. Wait a while. I had no idea about this when I came up. Somebody had to tell me.
And you shouldn’t say much. It’s not exactly “don’t speak unless you’re spoken to,’’ but don’t go crazy. Don’t try to act like a veteran.
I was pretty much clueless about everything. I pretty much did everything wrong. A veteran guy would get a little sarcastic with me and I’d want to say, “If I’m doing something wrong, just tell me. Don’t beat around the bush. If you don’t want me to do something, I won’t do it. Just tell me.’’
It’s great having the new guys in the clubhouse as we play through September. I think we have good baseball left in us. I’m working to carry my performance in August through to the end of the season. Every time I go to the plate, I feel confident I can get a hit. Obviously I know I’m not going to get a hit every time. But I go up believing I can. It kind of changes your whole perspective on things. It reinforces what you already knew, which is you’re good enough to be successful up here. I’ve had the mental aspect for most of the year, and now my mechanics have caught up. It’s something I can take into next year – and do it from start to finish.
Which brings me back to my first advice to the new guys: Be yourself. Believe in yourself. Do what you know you can do.
One quick movie review:
Two Guns: It stars Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington. One works for the DEA and the other works for the military. The Navy, I think. They’re investigating each other. It was a good movie because Denzel Washington is a great actor, and Mark Wahlberg was hilarious. It’s not a comedy, but he was really funny. I can’t remember the plot exactly. I think they’re trying to take down this drug cartel in Mexico. Just go see it.
Three stars (out of four).