Results tagged ‘ Brandon Belt ’
Haylee is filling in today to follow up on your questions. I’ll write again soon. I’ll be a better mood when we start hitting again. And winning. I promise it won’t be long. This lineup is just too good.
So here’s Haylee:
Thanks to everyone who read my blog! Here’s a picture of Lilly for those who want to know what she looks like and proof that Brandon loves her more than me ;) For those who asked, she’s a Heinz 57 dog! We think she’s beagle and dachshund.
I went through every comment everyone left! You all are so sweet and supportive. A couple people asked for the chicken spaghetti recipe. Here it is.
-1lb. cooked shredded chicken (I buy a rotisserie chicken already cooked and seasoned and just shred it)
-1 package of Velveeta cheese. It comes in a big block. I use most of it, but it really depends on how cheesy you like it. I cut half of it in cubes that I’ll melt for the sauce and then slice the other half and put a layer on top of the casserole and melt.
-1 box cooked noodles, any kind really but I use spaghetti
-1 can cream of chicken
-1 can cream of mushroom
- 1 can ro-tel
Mix in a big pot on low or medium the cooked shredded chicken, cooked noodles, cubed cheese, whole can of cream of chicken and mushroom and ro-tel until cheese is melted. Salt and pepper to desired taste. Don’t turn heat up high or it will scorch the food. Dump it all in a 9×13 casserole and add extra cheese on top and put in oven until cheese on top is melted.
Someone else asked why most players rent houses instead of buy in San Francisco. I can only speak for Brandon and me. We love our Texas family so much, and we still love calling Texas our home. So we are not ready to leave that. We love going home as much as we can. It gives us a break from this fast-paced life in the city and with baseball and we get to relax! Maybe one day we will have a home here!
Also, there were a lot of comments about the Dugout stores not having Belt T-shirts or jerseys. I know it’s kind of weird. Brandon’s fans need to complain to the stores and petition for them to carry his jersey ;) I don’t even own one!
Thanks from Brandon for all the birthday wishes, even if his day didn’t turn out the way he wanted, at the plate anyway. We went out with the Bumgarners Saturday night after the game to Lou & Mickey’s, a restaurant near the park. I brought an assortment of cupcakes and made sure there was a big chocolate one for Brandon. We had a great time as we always do with Ali and Madison.
Thanks again for all your comments and questions!
All the pinch-bloggers have been so good! Unlike the guys, I am not thinking of this as a competition. I’d never even try to beat Brandon at anything! He is soooo competitive. (And Jalynne, I learned yesterday that you have your own competitive streak!)
I’m going to be kind of random and just toss some things out that maybe you’ll find interesting.
I remember after Brandon signed with the Giants, some people in town had this idea that when a guy makes it to the big leagues, he doesn’t stay with his high school sweetheart. They thought , “If you get big-time you’re going to forget about where you came from.’’ Nothing could be further from the truth.
Brandon and I met in eighth grade when he transferred into my middle school. The best friends we had then are still the best friends we have now. One works in the oil fields. A couple are teachers. Another works for his dad. When we’re home in Hudson, which is about 90 minutes from Houston, we hang out at somebody’s house and barbecue and talk and laugh. The guys might play video games. Nothing too exciting. Our lives haven’t changed that much, which I’m really happy about.
But I confess that I had this picture in my head of what life would be like if Brandon made it to the Majors. I thought, “Oh, that is going to be awesome!’’ I thought I’d be shopping every day and going to the gym and going out to lunch. You kind of think it’s going to be right out of a movie. Some of it’s true. We stay in nice hotels on the road and I definitely shop more than I would if Brandon didn’t have the job he does.
But like Jalynne wrote, we stay pretty busy with packing, moving, settling in, taking care of all the day-to-day business of laundry, car repairs, grocery shopping, hair cut appointments, vet appointments for our dog Lilly. (With two babies, Jalynne’s even busier!) The guys really don’t have time for all that stuff.
During spring training and the regular season, our schedules are built completely around theirs. Brandon always tells me he feels bad about how much time the wives spend just waiting — after games, for their planes to land, for interviews to be over.
I love to cook, so I’m always happy when Brandon can eat at home. Usually he eats at the clubhouse after games because Joe, the chef, is so great. When I do cook, Brandon usually wants chicken spaghetti, a dish his mom taught me to make. It’s noodles, shredded chicken, Velveeta, cream of mushroom soup, cream of chicken soup and Ro-Tel diced tomatoes. It’s sooooo good.
Jalynne talked about the pros and cons, and one of the pros is the group of wives we have here. I love all of them. I’m particularly close to Ali Bumgarner and Nicole Vogelsong. We always sit together in the family section. It’s great because if Brandon is in a slump, for example, I can vent about how he’s being a baby and getting on my nerves! And the other wives aren’t going to think I’m a terrible person. We’re all going through pretty much the same things so we can relate to each other.
Actually Brandon’s easy. We’ve been together for so long and have been best friends for so long that we can talk about anything. I don’t know if everyone can do that. So I feel really lucky.
One other thing about the wives. We do a lot of charity work together. This month we each have to do a “favorites basket,’’ which means putting together a gift basket filled with our husbands’ favorite things. So for Brandon, I’ll put in popcorn, a bottle of Coke, a gift card to the movies (as you know, he LOVES the movies), a few DVDs, some books, the Bible and autographed stuff. Each basket will be auctioned off.
I mentioned Ali Bumgarner. Well, here is a story I hope I never have to live through again.
I was staying with her in Arizona after the team’s season-opening series against the Diamondbacks. (Brandon and I had to move out of our rental, and the Bumgarners still had their house.) Ali and I stayed in Arizona while the guys went off to play the Dodgers in LA. Our plan was to pack up our cars and drive to San Francisco, where we’d meet up with our husbands for the home opener.
Ali and Madison’s rental had lots of land. It was way off in the desert. I had our five-year-old dog, Lilly. One day, I left Lilly at the house with Ali’s dad, and she darted out the door and disappeared into the desert. It was horrible. Lilly is Brandon’s baby. He was in Los Angeles and can’t do anything about it. He was devastated.
Ali and I put signs up everywhere and sent out emails. When Lilly didn’t come back that night, a neighbor told us that not too long ago a pack of coyotes had snatched and killed a chihuahua right off the leash while a guy was walking it.
Another night went by. We kept putting food out. We kept scouring every inch of the property. Nothing.
After the third night, we were sure she was dead. So Ali and I packed the cars early that morning and set out for San Francisco. Three hours into our trip, Ali’s father called. He spotted Lilly in the front yard. But she wouldn’t come to him. Ali’s brother tried to rope her — he’s a champion roper — but he couldn’t get close enough. We turned the cars around and went back to Arizona to track her down.
When I told Brandon, he hopped on the first flight to Phoenix after the Dodgers games that night. The next day was an off day. He got in around midnight. We put out clothes that had our smell on them. We put out more food. We went to bed around 1, setting an early alarm. We wanted to find her before anyone else got up. Lilly might not come to the house if she saw anyone but us.
We got up at 6:30, and Lilly walked into the back yard at 7:15! Amazing. I don’t know how she survived for four days. Probably because she’s so anti-social. She’s snappy with other dogs and won’t go near them. She probably thought the coyotes were dogs.
I’m not sure what Brandon would have done if we didn’t get Lilly back. Sometimes I think he loves her more than me.
One blog reader asked Brandon how we go about finding places to live in San Francisco. It’s not always easy to find a six- or seven-month rental. Most landlords want a year. We always use a Realtor to help us. We look for a place that’s furnished and the utilities are included. It’s a pain to set up accounts for electricity, water, garbage, internet, all that stuff, and then have to cancel all of them six months later and pay a cancellation fee.
As far as players who have school-age children, their wives and children usually stay back home until school is out then spend the summer in the Bay Area. They’ll come out for long weekends and spring break. Or they’ll meet up for a road game. But most of us don’t have school-age children yet.
I’m sure I’m forgetting some interesting things. But I imagine this is more than you ever wanted to know!
Thank you for being so nice to Brandon. I love seeing the Baby Giraffe hats and stuffed animals at the park. It is so cool. I wish we could meet all of you and thank you personally. This has been such an awesome experience here in San Francisco.
And one last thing: Don’t believe everything Brandon writes about me in his blog. I don’t always fall asleep at the movies!
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.
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.
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!
I was home sick today with a stomach virus. It came on all of a sudden last night and I’ve been sleeping on and off most of the day. Not fun. But I thought I’d get a post out while I can.
On Monday a lot of reporters asked me about Barry Bonds because I guess he mentioned me by name at his press conference. I haven’t talked to him yet. I just introduced myself at the batting cage. I’m shy by nature so I’m not going to go up to him and start asking questions right away. I listened to him talk to other guys during BP and picked up a few things. Nothing too specific.
But I’ll definitely talk to him. You’re always figuring out some kinks during spring training, so that’s what I’d want to talk to him about. And I’d like to talk to him about how he minimized the down times so you get out of them more quickly. I know I can overthink things. The biggest part of the game sometimes is just getting out of your own way.
Sometimes it just comes so naturally. He talked to a few people today. You kind of listen to him talking to other guys and pick up on stuff for yourself. There was nothing too specific.
In the field, everything’s going pretty well. But just like you’re getting your rhythm back at the plate, you’re doing the same in the field. Your body wants to speed up because it’s feeling good. You’re real strong from the off-season, so your body wants to do a lot more than it needs to. So you just have to slow yourself down. The more you slow yourself down, the easier the game is.
I work on specific things as they come up. For example, I made a bad throw to third in a game, so that’s what I worked on yesterday. A lot of mishaps in the field just have to do with rushing. You usually have more time than you think. So if you just take your time you’ll usually be OK.
Another thing I always work on in spring is scoops. A coach will throw a bunch of balls in the dirt and I practice handling every kind of bounce.
Getting a good jump on the ball is another thing I work on in the field. Sometimes you create bad hops for yourself by not getting a good jump.The truth is I’m feeling good in the field right now, but you’re never satisfied.
Most days after practice I hang out with Haylee. Like last spring, we’re sharing an apartment in North Phoenix with Charlie Culberson and his wife, Sarah, and their 18-month daughter Collins. Charlie’s with the Rockies now, but we became good friends during the minor leagues with the Giants. We have a lot of fun with Collins. She runs around stealing your food and wanting a sip out of everybody’s glass. She’s a good baby.
You might have noticed I did pretty well on my Oscar picks. But did you know that Cleveland closer John Axford picked 18 for 18? How do you do that? (There are 24 categories but he didn’t make picks for all of them.) Pretty amazing. That’s my goal for next year.
So I’ve seen two movies since my last post.
300: Rise of an Empire – It’s a sequel to “300,’’ about the Spartans fighting the Persians in Ancient Greece, which I remember watching when I was in junior college. I thought this one was good but obviously it’s not going to be as good as the first one. But it was entertaining. Haylee and I went to a 9 o’clock showing and she slept the whole time. She fell asleep in the previews and didn’t wake up until the end.
Rating: Two stars.
Non-stop – Liam Neeson is an air marshal on a plane, and there’s a terrorist on board. The terrorist is going to kill someone every 20 minutes unless they transfer money into his bank account. The terrorist is setting it up so it looks like the air marshal is the terrorist because the account is in his name. You don’t know who the terrorist is until the end. The ending is kind of stupid. I kept waiting for something else to happen.
Rating: 1 1/2 stars.
It’s a pretty bad time for movies right now. I’m not sure what I’ll see next. I’m looking forward to “22 Jump Street’’—the sequel to 21 Jump Street — coming out in June with Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum.
OK, got to get some more rest so I’m ready to go tomorrow. Keeping a bucket by the bed. The one essential for a stomach virus.
(Sorry I didn’t get this posted until today. Pretend it’s still yesterday.)
I could talk about my two hits today in the first game of spring. That felt pretty good.
But because the Academy Awards are on Sunday, I thought I’d share my picks so you can win the pool at your Oscar party.
Best Actor: No question it’s Matthew McConaughey. He was awesome in Dallas Buyers Club. It’s the best performance of his career.
Best Actress: I’m picking Amy Adams because I think she’s a really good actress but I wasn’t blown away by her performance in American Hustle. And I didn’t see Blue Jasmine or that Osage County movie because it looked stupid. And Sandra Bullock was being Sandra Bullock and I didn’t really like Gravity. Getting lost in space is my biggest fear. I would never go into space. I think Bam-Bam’s stupid if he does it. That fear comes just ahead of being burned alive. I heard it takes 15 minutes to burn alive. Actually I have to say I’m probably more afraid of a mid-airplane crash and plummeting out of the sky. So that’s ahead of being burned alive. Lost in space, mid-air crash and being burned alive. That’s my order.
Best Supporting Actor: Jared Leto. He was so good you completely believed his character. The best part of Dallas Buyers Club was the acting. I was hooked on all the characters the whole way through.
Best supporting baseball player: Adam Dunn, who plays the bartender when Matthew McConaughey meets Jared Leto. (I just read that he’s actually going to the Academy Awards.)
Best Supporting Actress: Jennifer Lawrence. She’s great.
Best Picture: My top three are Lone Survivor, Twelve Years a Slave and Dallas Buyers Club. It’s really a toss-up, but I’m going with Twelve Years a Slave in part because I like historical movies.
I think I’ve told you before that during the season I am not a morning person. I have a reputation of being a grouch in the morning. So you might be surprised to know I was at the park for a yoga class at 6:15 a.m. on Tuesday. I had to get up at 5:30. The truth is that during spring training I become a morning person because all our games are during the day. I go to bed by about 10. Sometimes I have to force myself to go to bed that early, but I’m really working on getting better sleeping habits.
This is the first year we’ve had yoga classes. They’re on Tuesdays and Fridays at 6:15 for any player or staffer who wants to come. Tuesday was my first class. There were probably a dozen of us there. I hope to get to the Friday class, too. My lower body is not the most flexible lower body on the team. So I’m hoping to loosen those muscles.
I did yoga once before, two years ago at a Giants conditioning camp in January. So I was a little familiar with it and did better than I thought I would. Hunter was behind me, so I couldn’t see him. I’d say Gary Brown was the best of the guys I could see. But I held my poses a little longer than he did. So I’d have to say I dominated.
I don’t get too deep into the mind-body part of yoga. I’m from East Texas. We don’t do stuff like that.
I’m trying to eat better, too, this year. Mostly it’s about having a good eating schedule – regular meals and snacks instead of hauling in the food in two meals. Instead of my energy going way up and plummeting, I’m hoping to be more even throughout the day.
And I’m cutting back on Red Bulls. I’m not giving them up altogether but I’m not going to drink them just out of habit. I’ll have one only when I really need a boost. Like this morning. I woke up and didn’t feel real great. So I had one. It was great. I love opening it up and smelling it. I get energy right away just from the smell.
Tomorrow we have a day off, which I’ll spend with Haylee. Our wives stay at home all day waiting for us to get there. So if we have a little time to spend with them, that’s what we’re going to do.
Hope you got to see the highlight of today’s game. Look for it on YouTube or somewhere if you haven’t. Josh Reddick made maybe the best catch of the year. Maybe the best I’ve ever seen in person. Mike Morse – robbed twice. But it’s good to get your bad luck out of the way now.
Hope to post again soon.
I’m writing this – dictating actually – before the media show up to interview us, an annual thing the day before FanFest. But I flew into the Bay Area a few days early for two reasons: To find a house to rent in the East Bay for the season, and to shoot commercials for the Giants.
First, the house. Haylee and I lived in an apartment near the ballpark last year. We couldn’t have our dog. It wasn’t that dogs weren’t allowed. But Lilly is awful. She has bad separation anxiety, and when we leave her alone she screams at the top of her lungs for about an hour straight. We can’t share a wall with anybody when Lilly’s with us, so she stayed with my parents. But in the offseason I had a midlife crisis about my dog. She’s a mutt that, if I had to guess is a beagle/dachshund/rat terrier mix with kind of a squatty, feet-turned-out stance of a basset hound. I love my dog, and I realized if I kept leaving her in Texas during the season, I’d miss three-quarters of her life and that made me really sad. So we’re going to find a house with a yard this season.
As for the commercials, I’m convinced the Giants sit in a room and say, “How can we humiliate these players when they get here?’’ Or maybe just, “How can we humiliate Brandon?’’ Then they come up with the worst things possible. I had to dress up like a giraffe. I had to dress up like a fan with a big mustache and look like a lumberjack. And I had to dress up like a Gamer Babe. I wore baseball pants under the dress but it was still very tight. Of course it showed my big butt. And the front part wasn’t as loose as you’d want it to be. In the commercial I was sitting then standing and it’s not like you have time to adjust yourself. I hope they have a good editor. At least I got to sit with a bunch of fans, who are in the commercials. That was the best part.
You will notice when you see me that I now have facial hair. I started growing it in November with my buddies back home. Mine got really thick and bushy – not like Sergio or Brian Wilson – but I got to the point where it was bothering me. So I trimmed it. And I cut my hair. It doesn’t stick straight up any more. I’m going for the grown-up look.
I worked out hard during the off-season. Right now I’m as strong as I’ve ever been at this point in the year. I always want to do better than I did the previous year in all aspects of my game but also in weight-training. I’m definitely heavier – most of it’s good weight but if you live in Texas, you know some of it’s Mexican food. I got back into the batting cage after New Year’s, working mostly off a tee. You’re basically laying down a base for spring training so you feel ready to dive right in. This off-season seemed really long, and for the past few weeks I’ve really been feeling the itch to get back on the field.
The highlight of the off-season was moving into our house, which my dad has been renovating for us. We’ve been living with Haylee’s parents, who are great, but it’s really nice to have our own place.
I have a room above the garage that I guess you’d call a man cave. It has three televisions to watch all the football games, a pool table, a kitchenette and these really, really comfortable beanbag-type chairs called Lovesacs. I use to go into the Lovesac store and sit on the chairs and wish I had one. Now I have two.
I can’t end this without a few quick movie reviews.
American Hustle: Haylee didn’t like it a whole bunch. Not a lot of action going on. Not a lot to get your blood flowing. But I thought it had a good plot. Two-and-half stars (out of four).
Wolf of Wall Street: You can pretty much watch a porn movie and that’s what you got. There was a good movie underneath it all but it was so over-the-top and explicit that the story was just lost. After a while you’re like, “Move on, we get it.’’ They could have cut out an hour of the movie and it would have been a lot better. One-and-a-half stars.
Anchorman II: I’d heard mixed reviews on it. I know people who did not like it at all and people who said it was OK for a sequel. I absolutely loved it. I laughed the entire time. I love every single one of those characters, especially Will Farrell and Paul Rudd. They’re two of my favorite comedy actors. Three stars.
Captain Phillips: It was kind of long and there were times I got a little bored, but overall I liked it a lot. Two-and-a-half.
Ride Along: Kevin Hart plays the main character. It’s a cop movie where this guy wants to marry the cop’s sister. So the cop says you can ride a long with me and if I think you’re worthy I’ll give you my blessing. It was pretty good. Not the best movie, but you’re entertained enough. Two stars.
Gravity: It was nice and short, maybe 90 minutes, and it keeps you on the edge of your seat the entire time. Three stars.
Twelve Years a Slave: Really, really good. I went to see it late at night by myself because Haylee didn’t want to see it. It was my favorite movie of the off-season. Great story. You’re rooting the whole time for the guy to get out of that situation he was in. It was pretty tough to watch at times, but that’s what made it so good. You felt like you were there. Three-and-a-quarter stars.
Just to let you know, I hardly ever think a movie is four stars. Tombstone is definitely four stars. I’d say The Place Beyond the Pines is almost four stars. Also Macgruber gets almost four stars. I laugh my butt off every time I see it.
OK, off to catch up with the media. Hope you’re coming out to the park for FanFest tomorrow. It’s a really cool event for the players because we get to meet fans face-to-face.
I’ll check in again during spring training. Thanks for reading.
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).