Results tagged ‘ Brandon Belt ’
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).
With kids going back to school this month, Crawford, Blanco and I – your Giants bloggers –are answering three questions this week:
1. What’s the best advice you ever got?
2. What do you wish you knew back in high school that you know now?
3. If you had never become a pro baseball player, how do you think playing sports as a kid would have helped you in life anyway?
OK, Number 1.
One thing my dad used to tell me all the time, “If you’re going to do something, do it right the first time.’’ Don’t jack around or drag it out, whether it was about cleaning the garage or doing schoolwork or playing baseball. He also drilled into me that if you’re going to make a commitment to something you’re going to finish it. You do it 100 percent. So for instance, when I finally made the decision to make those mechanical adjustments up at the plate, I wasn’t going to do it a couple times and if it didn’t work, just give up on it. I’m going to do it ‘til I get it. That really does help when you get into a competitive world. You just have to stick with stuff.
I’ll answer Number 3 next because it’s related to Number 1.
My Dad was a football coach, so I was getting lessons about sports both at home and on the field. One lesson was: Life’s not fair. It’s not going to go your way all the time. Sports is great because it presents you with a ton of problems that you have to face and have to figure out how to overcome.That can help anyone in any walk of life because everybody is going to have problems. You just have to suck it up and figure out a way to get past it. And along the way you’ll realize you’re stronger than you thought. If every time you’re presented with a problem and you shrivel up and go hide, how are you ever supposed to know what you’re capable of doing? The other thing you learn in sports is you can’t go around blaming everyone else for your own problems. The quicker you can look in the mirror the faster you’re going to improve yourself. I’m still working on this myself, to be honest. I want to find somebody to blame sometimes. But eventually I look at myself and figure it out.
Now Number 2.
I was really nervous about going into college and into the real world. I had it in my mind that there would be so much work and so much stuff I might not be able to do. That scared me to death. I wish I knew that what seems scary now is going to be your normal later on. You’re going to learn how to do what you need to do and it will just become second nature.
If I had known that, I probably would have gone to a four-year university right out of high school instead of going to junior college first. I found out the main thing about college is going to class. If you go to class and just do the work, you’re going to be fine. It’s the uncertainty that scares people.
Now on to baseball.
I had forgotten what it’s like to play in the kind of humidity we had in Florida. That’s what I grew up with, but I got to tell you it’s good to be back home in San Francisco. I’m acclimatized to this weather now. That first game in Miami was four hours, and that takes a toll on your body. Even though the field is indoors, you can’t get away from the humidity. We have one more trip to the East Coast, so I’ll make sure I get more rest and stay off my feet as much as I can. And hydrate. At the end of the season, when your body is tiring out anyway, you really have to be conscious about taking care of yourself so you can finish the season strong.
Now to the movie reviews. I got two for you.
Elysium: It was a good movie as far as the action and visual effects. Matt Damon is pretty good, and the story itself is pretty good. In the future they’ve built this thing that’s a perfect sanctuary. All the rich people live there and there’s no cancer or crime or anything. Everybody else is left on earth to fend for themselves and everybody’s poor and there’s lots of crime. It’s about the haves and have-nots, but it goes a little bit overboard. The rich people have no sympathy, no compassion at all to anybody else. I think it’s trying to be a little too political. Maybe it’s not good to admit this, but I just want to be entertained when I go to the movies. If I want politics I’ll watch the news.
We’re the Millers: It stars Jennifer Anniston and Jason Sudeikis. He’s a small-time pot dealer and his boss wants him to pick up a huge shipment of weed and bring it back to the United States. The story is about his journey down there. He pays this fake family to go with him because he figures nobody’s going to think this All-American family is bringing weed back into the States. So they put on this act the whole time. He has a fake daughter who’s like a runaway street kid. Jennifer is the fake wife. And the fake son is a sweet kid who’s a real goody-goody. It’s funny to watch the stuff they encounter and the trouble they get into.
Three stars. (Haley would give it three, too.)
Thanks for reading and for supporting the Giants!
The good thing about the rainout in Cincinnati is that we got to come back to San Francisco earlier. Nothing like landing at SFO and riding the bus back to the ballpark after a miserable road trip. Haylee was still out of town visiting family back in Texas. And Bumgarner’s wife, Ali, wasn’t back yet either. So me and Bum had a date.
We took scooters down the Embarcadero to the Ferry Building. He hasn’t gotten his scooter yet, so he rode Haylee’s little baby-blue one. He looked cute. He’s huge and the scooter is tiny. He had to hunch way over to reach the handlebars. We went to Gott’s but the line was too long. So we went to a great Mexican place on Howard – and I can’t remember the name! They’re always so nice to us. I’ll pass it along when I remember.
As usual, I saw a few movies on the road. There’s a little movie group now, so I don’t go alone as much. It’s mostly Kontos, Javy, Hunter, Crawfordand me. When you’re on the road, you can go a little stir crazy because it’s just room/baseball field, room/baseball field. So you want to just get out of your room. If we have an off day, we’ll plan what we’re going to see. Otherwise, it’s just whoever’s around when you’re thinking about going.
In Colorado on the off day, I went to see “This Is the End’’ again with Crawford and Kontos. There’s a part in there that might be the funniest movie scene ever, though it might just be funny to guys. I don’t know. I can’t really describe it tastefully. But it’s between Danny McBride and James Franco. They’re yelling back and forth at each other, and you literally start laughing at the beginning and it goes on for at least a minute and you’re laughing so hard for at least a minute straight and it hurts. I laughed so hard I could barely breathe and tears were coming down my face and I almost fell on the floor. I’ll say this: It’s about what guys sometimes do when they’re by themselves and the result of what happens when they do that. I’ll leave it at that. It is just so original. I wish I could find it on YouTube and play it on a loop all day.
That scene is right up there with a scene in “Wanderlust’’ with Paul Rudd and Jennifer Anniston. It’s the one where Paul Rudd is talking to himself in the mirror. I pretty much consider those the funniest scenes of all time.
In Cincinnati I went with Kontos and Hunter to see a film of stand-up comic Kevin Hart. And on Thursday when I got home I saw “The Heat’’ with Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy. I think this is Melissa McCarthy’s best movie. Better than Bridesmaids. Haylee got home Friday before our game, and she wasn’t real happy when I picked her up at the airport and told her that I went to see it without her — even though she had told me it was okay. I think she was just grumpy about leaving her family and so it probably wasn’t the best time to tell her I had seen the movie. She’s fine now.
It was great to see Bum pitch so well yesterday and get us the win. Obviously we really needed it. It’s not like we were in this dungeon of doom and we were never going to get out of it. But it’s not been very fun the last few weeks. There’s no doubt in this clubhouse, though, that we can win the World Series with this team. You realize you’re going to have times when you’re not playing well. Everything usually averages out — as bad as this is, we plan on having a run where we’re just as good on the other side.
When you see a light at the end of the tunnel, like we did with our win yesterday, then things start to click. You don’t know who it’s going to be to get it going. Last year, somebody different stepped up every day. Yesterday it was Bum.
Who’s it going to be today?
Thanks for reading!
It’s great to take two of three from the Padres and make up ground. The Marlins are coming in next, and even though they don’t have a great record, they’re not a team we can take lightly. Since nobody in our division has taken off with the lead, now’s a good time for us to make a move. When we get everybody back in the lineup, that will be a boost right there.
I did my usual movie binge on the road. On our off day in Pittsburgh, I saw two movies back to back. I saw “Purge,’’ which was disappointing. And “Now You See Me,’’ which was really good. I saw “Star Trek’’ on another day. I’m saving the Jonah Hill/Seth Rogan movie for the next road trip.
Other than seeing movies and playing baseball, I basically slept. When we’re back east, I’m awake all night and sleeping during the day. I guess it’s the time change. I don’t adjust well. I can play just fine, but my sleeping is all off. Three nights in a row, I fell asleep around 7 in the morning. I watched TV all night — movies, sitcom reruns like Seinfeld, Everybody Loves Raymond, Frasier. I keep watching and watching and I never get tired of them.
Haylee met up with me in Atlanta after spending time with Ali Bumgarner in North Carolina. She texted me a video of her driving a backhoe. I don’t know if they were building something or planting something. Looked like she was just digging a hole. It was just funny listening to her and watching her try to do it. “I don’t know what this thing does! I forgot how to do it!’’ But actually it looked like she did a good job.
She also rode a horse. I don’t know if she had ever ridden one before, to be honest with you. Other than that, I have no idea what else she and Ali did. All kinds of hillbilly stuff is my guess. But I think they had a good time.
My dad came to Atlanta. He drove up with some of his co-worker buddies. So we hung out with them. We had night games, so we went out afterward. Which was great. Less time to kill later on watching TV.
Tonight I’m attending a dinner with Haylee and a few teammates at the park here for AT&T. I think Crawford, Affeldt and Lopez will be there, too, and Bochy. It’s always better to go to these events after a win. We’re much better company.
We’re flying to Arizona this afternoon for the start of a long road trip. Haylee’s flying out today, too, but she’s going with Ali Bumgarner to Ali’s home in North Carolina while we play in Arizona and Pittsburgh. When we go to Atlanta, Haylee and Ali will drive down and meet us there.
So I’ll probably spend this afternoon at the new Star Trek movie. There’s an unbelievable theater next to our hotel in Phoenix, the AMC Esplanade. They serve food and have these big recliner seats. You could go to sleep if you want to. There’s a movie called The Purge I hope I can see this weekend. It takes place in the future, and for a 12-hour period everything is legal, even murder. So people are pretty much bunkering in their houses trying not to get killed. It sounds pretty interesting because you just don’t see something like that very often. When a movie comes out and it’s just not the norm, I want to see it.
On our day off Monday, I went with Haylee to Great America in Santa Clara. I’m a big roller coaster guy. Haylee’s not nearly as enthused about it as I am, but she goes. Afterward, we had dinner at Benihana with my host mom from when I played in San Jose. I always have a good experience there. It’s fun watching them flip the shrimp and the other food. I want them to flip the egg in my mouth. I didn’t ask but wish they did it. I love edamame, so I get that as an appetizer. I don’t do sushi. My wife and host mom get that all the time. I get the beef, fried rice, no mushrooms, lots of onions.
Afterward we went home and watched The Bachelorette. It’s just the second week, so we’re still sorting out our favorites. There’s a guy called Reality Steve who predicts the winners and gets it right every time. I’m sure he has someone on the show who tells him who wins. I’m waiting for him to come out with his predictions so I don’t have to watch the rest of the show. OK, that’s not true. I always tell myself I’m not going to watch it, then I do and end up liking it then watching it again. So it’s a vicious cycle.
I like The Bachelor more than The Bachelorette because I’d rather watch a bunch of girls going after a guy than a bunch guys going after a girl. But I happen to really like this Bachelorette, Desiree. I liked her when she was on the Bachelor. She was my favorite. She’s sweet as can be. I love sweet girls. I married a sweet girl.
Guess I should get a little baseball stuff in here, too. It was great getting the pinch-hit double in St. Louis. When you come through like that, you’re happy you helped the team out. We needed the win. And it gave a win to the starter, which is an added bonus.
I’ve gotten better at pinch-hitting. The key is to stay in the game mentally while you’re on the bench for two or more hours. What I do is go through at-bats with a teammate. I’m physically in the dugout, of course, but I’m mentally at the plate. I might be looking for a first-pitch fastball. If it’s not, I lay off it. Then I continue to the next pitch: What am I looking for now? Basically have the at-bat with the batter, thinking along with him strategically. I’ll also watch at-bats on TV to see what the pitches look like straight on. It keeps you in the game. Then when I think I’ll be going in, I take some swings and stretch to get my body loose.
All you can do while you’re on the bench is to prepare as much as you can. When I was standing on second base after the double, I thought, “Thank goodness I did something to help the team.’’
Heading off to the ballpark to ride the bus to the airport. I’ll let you know how The Purge is if I get to see it. I have a good feeling about this road trip. For one thing, we don’t face R. A. Dickey.
I rode my new scooter to the park for the first time today. I think now four of us have them – Timmy, Hunter, Sergio and me. Joe, our team cook, customizes them with paint and decals. He brought mine to the park yesterday, and it looks awesome. It’s orange and black with the number 9. (Haylee got a scooter, too. Hers is baby blue and I think it also has my number on it.)
I didn’t ride it home last night because it was really cold, and two of my best buddies from Texas are visiting San Francisco for the first time. So I put the scooter in my truck and drove with them back to the apartment.
So the inaugural ride was this afternoon. The scooter has an electric motor with a Turbo button (which means about 25 mph at top speed). So I was hauling butt down the Embarcadero to the park. Well, hauling butt as much as you can when you’re riding on the sidewalk. I don’t like riding in the street if I don’t have to. To be honest, I don’t know if scooters are even allowed on the sidewalk. I’m just going to keep going until somebody stops me. The only thing I get nervous about on the sidewalk is going over bumps. The scooter has shocks, but I slow down when there’s a bump. I’m afraid I’m going to flip me over the handlebars.
So yesterday was a big day for me overall — got my new scooter and went 4-for-5 with a homer in a decisive win. We needed a lift after that brutal road trip. Before the game, though, everything in the clubhouse was pretty normal. This team doesn’t panic. We put losses behind us. We knew if we just refocused, we could easily get back on track. And that’s what happened.
I felt locked in from the moment I got to the field. It was a weird feeling. Maybe I was pumped up about my scooter. I was completely comfortable in the batter’s box. I don’t know why it happens, but sometimes you just feel like that. Once you feel good in the box, then it’s just about swinging at strikes. I was able to get pitches I wanted and put them in play.
On my homer, I felt like I crushed it. But you can never be sure how far the ball is going to go in this park – at least when you hit it to right-center. If I had hit it to straight right field, I’d know it was gone. But there’s a blanket out there. The wind just blows in and can stop a ball in its tracks. The wind patterns are so weird. The flags in center field can be blowing straight out toward the bay. But when I’m standing at first base, I’ll feel the wind blowing at my back the whole game. So you never know.
I felt really good about my fourth at-bat. I already had three hits, including the home run. So psychologically you might relax a little. You know you’ve already had a good day. But I wanted to make sure I didn’t give in. I stayed as locked in as I had been the previous three at-bats. And I was locked in on the fifth at-bat, too. I hit it solid, but he made a good pitch and the ball died at the warning track.
I was particularly happy to have a good night with my buddies Matt and Justin in the stands. We played ball together in high school. They’re supposed to leave on Saturday, but I told them if I keep hitting, they’re staying the rest of the year.
Vogey stopped by the clubhouse a little while ago and said the surgery on his finger this morning went well, so that was good news. We all felt awful for him last night. He was pitching so great and then breaks his finger. He’ll be back, of course. That guy is so tough and competitive. He works so hard.
OK, enough for now. Thanks for reading. And wave if you see a tall guy on a black-and-orange scooter hauling butt (cautiously) down the Embarcadero.
Just to clarify my blog mate’s last post about me missing dinner with the guys in Chicago. (He seemed skeptical about my claim that I didn’t know about it.) I knew about it, but I didn’t know when and where. I was in my room waiting for someone to text me. When no one did, I went to the movies.
I saw “The Place Beyond the Pines’’ with Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper, which is a great movie if you haven’t seen it yet. It’s a little dark, but I like dark movies. You might not peg me as an independent-film kind of guy, but I’m a fan. Since I can’t get Haylee to see them, I go by myself on the road.
I know she’d like a lot of the movies if she’d just go with me. So it was funny the other night when she dragged me to a restaurant she wanted to try, Epic on the Embarcadero. She knows how I am about new restaurants. I reluctantly agreed to go. And I loved it. Haylee was thrilled.
“See?’’ she said. “You have to try new things. You might find you like them.’’
“That’s how I feel about you going to the movies with me!’’
She laughed and said she’d go to more movies.
Our season itself has been like a Hollywood script. It’s crazy how our games are going. Every one of them seems to be a heart-stopper. Not to the players, though, to be honest. When we were in the dugout after the Dodgers rallied back Friday and Saturday – and again yesterday – there was never a doubt in our minds we would win.
If we give up a bunch of runs, you don’t hear guys in the dugout saying, “OK, we’ve got to get our butts in gear!’’ We just go about our business. We stick to the game plan. We know what we have to do.
We talk about “synergy’’ a lot. We focus our energy on the guy in the spotlight at that moment. We genuinely believe that guy is going to come through – and it usually happens! It’s crazy. I don’t even know if I believe in all that stuff, but it’s amazing how often it works. It’s just that positive attitude that gets us through a lot of games. You don’t know who it’s going to be. But someone usually comes through in the clutch.
When Quiroz was up Saturday, I don’t think anyone was necessarily thinking he was going to get a walk-off home run. We were all focusing our energy on him getting on base and getting the train in motion. Then you hope the next person gets on, and the next. Then all you need is a blooper to win the game. We really try to keep it as simple as that.
When Q hit the home run – only the third homer in his Major League career — it was awesome. Everybody was so happy for him. He’s a real positive guy. Real easy-going. He’s always rooting for everybody else, so it’s easy to root for him. For us to have walk-off home runs two nights in a row was pretty awesome.
I keep thinking back to the Milwaukee game on April 16. We were down 9-3 and battled back to score five runs. We didn’t give up. We don’t care what the score is. We didn’t win, but I remember how relentless we were. That’s what this team is about. We keep on going out there and battling.
The sweep of the Dodgers this weekend had to be one of the most entertaining series in baseball this season. I wish I could have contributed more at the plate, the way I did in Arizona last week. But that’s the way it goes. Sometimes it’s your moment. Sometimes it’s somebody else’s moment.
As long as we keep winning. That’s all that matters.
Haylee made me a great cake for my 25th birthday on Saturday. Chocolate and vanilla. I was so hungry when I got home from the game that night I ate a huge piece while we waited for our pizza to arrive. I love chocolate. I’d have an all-chocolate cake with chocolate ice cream and chocolate sauce. But Haylee’s cake was really, really good. There’s nothing like a homemade cake. I think she spent about two hours making it, so I restrained myself from asking why there wasn’t ice cream.
We had an official birthday dinner Sunday night after the day game. We went to Bobo’s on Lombard and Van Ness. Stopped for a milk shake at a burger joint then went to see the new Tom Cruise movie. Just the two of us. Nice night.
Maybe the cake and milk shake will help put some weight back on me. I only gained back 3 or 4 pounds of the 11 or so that I lost when I was sick at the start of the season. It’s hard to keep weight on during the season, much less gain weight, because you’re playing every day. I’m drinking more protein shakes when I’m at the field, so I’m sure I’ll eventually get back to normal.
Bochy is giving me time off against left-handed pitchers, hoping to help me recapture the good rhythm I had in spring training. I know people make a big deal when you start the season slowly. They look up at the scoreboard and see your average is below .200 and kind of go a little nutty. But as a player you have to ignore the numbers. All you have control over is your current at-bat. You have to approach each one the same way, with the same confidence. You don’t have control over the results. You know that the balls will start to fall and the numbers on the scoreboard will start to creep back up.
This doesn’t mean that you completely ignore your struggles. I’m working with Bam-Bam and Joe in the cage and watching video. But in baseball especially, you have to take the long view. There are still more than five months left in the season. We’ve played only three weeks! So it’s crazy to get all panicky. I’ll be fine.
In the meantime, Crawford is hitting well enough for both of us. He’s seeing the ball really well. He’s so comfortable at the plate. He’s in such a good groove I think he’ll be hitting the ball well for a long time.
It seems to work out that way on this team. When one person’s down, the next guy picks him up. You never know on this team who’s going to be the guy who comes through with the big hit or the big play. Even though I’m scrapping right now, or maybe especially because I’m scrapping, I’m having a great time watching Crawford crush home runs.
Believe me, I’m not excited to be sitting on the bench. Nobody likes sitting. I’d like to play every inning of every game. As long as we’re winning, I’m happy.
I spoke to a group of Little League players before Sunday’s game, and one of them asked if I missed pitching. I grew up as a pitcher. I wanted to be Randy Johnson, another tall lefty. So I said I hoped that someday we’ll be going into the 27th inning and Bochy will be out of pitchers and I’ll get the call. That would be awesome.
Another kid asked what I ate before games. I said, “Anything that’s put in front of me, plus a Red Bull.’’
And someone else wanted to know who was the funniest guy on the team. “Bumgarner,’’ I said, “even though he doesn’t try to be. If you can understand what he’s saying, he’s pretty funny.’’
See you out at the ballpark.
No batting practice today so I have a little time to blog.
I went to bed last night thinking about getting the ring today. I woke up thinking about it. I could hardly sleep, to be honest with you.
When we get that ring, then it’s official: We’re world champions. I know that raising the flag on Friday was kind of the official moment. It was awesome running out from center field and watching the video of the postseason highlights. I could watch that all day. Every time I see it Ithink, “How in the world did we pull that off?’’ I still don’t know. Winning six elimination games still blows my mind.
But the ring is the thing for me, the day I’ve really been waiting for all off-season. It’s something tangible for each one of us. Something we’ll have for the rest of our lives no matter how far from San Francisco or baseball we might get.
I think I’ll wear it two weeks in a row before I put it away. Then I’ll just wear it when I’m wearing nice clothes. I’m afraid I’ll leave it somewhere. I don’t plan on taking it to the ballpark or the gym or any place where I’d have totake it off. (Remember I left my wedding ring in the cup holder of my truck in Lufkin?) I don’t know where I’ll keep it but it will be somewhere very safe.
This season Haylee and I are living in San Francisco about a mile from the park. Probably less than a mile, actually. Madison and Ali were already living there and told us about it. We’re close enough to the park that I’m thinking about getting one of those stand-up electric scooters that Hunter has. Now Timmy and Sergio have them, too. I want to get one for Haylee, too, so we can ridearound the city together.
We loved Walnut Creek but some nights I’d get home so late that by the time I drove from the park, ate and wound down, it would be really late and I felt I wasn’t getting enough sleep. I am not a morning person at all, so I hope being in the city will allow me to have better sleeping habits.
I made it to Olive Garden at the Stonestown Mall the other night. It was awesome. I had the Tour of Italy like always and Alfredo sauce for the breadsticks. James our waiter was second to none. The whole staff knew we were coming because someone at Olive Garden had made the arrangements. So after dinner I took pictures with everyone who worked there and with fans, too. I’ll post them on twitter.
It was good for me to eat a lot because I lost 11 pounds while I was sick. I weighed 229 when I left Scottsdale and weighed 218 yesterday. I hardly ate for four or five days when I had that stomach bug and what I DID eat just came right back out. I feel like I have a lot more energy now.
And even though I don’t have a hit yet, I feel I’m swinging the bat well. Yesterday I hit two balls right on the nose but they didn’t fall in. Last year if this had happened, I wouldn’t have handled it as well. But now I know eventually the balls will drop in. I have a lot of confidencefrom playing a full season last year and having such a strong spring. I have the ability now to just breathe up there and slow the game down when things aren’t going my way.
Last night, Haylee and I walked down to the Embarcadero after dinner in San Bruno. We took a picture in front of the bridge. Then we stopped for a milkshake so I could load up on some more calories. I’m working out really hard, too. Haylee had to wait about an hour and a half after the game for me to finish up my postgame workout before going home. She was the very last person in the family room when I finally got out there. It’s not easy being the wife of a baseball player. But don’t tell her I said that.
I’m going to be miked for the ring ceremony for the Giants’ video crew. I don’t know why. I’m about the most boring person they could pick. I never say anything. And if I do, it’ll probably be something embarrassing.
Next time you hear from me, I’ll be the proud owner of an actual World Series ring. It’ll be awesome.’
Below: In the dugout before the ring ceremony.
Some of you might have seen an unusual tweet from me two days ago.
“I want to compliment you @channingtatum, you got a rockin bod in Magic Mike #winkyface”.
People tweeted back that they hoped I had gotten hacked. Someone told me I was weird. “You’re not wrong,’’ I tweeted back. Someone else wondered if Haylee had taken my phone and written it. She immediately tweeted that she had nothing to do with it. For an hour, I couldn’t explain my tweet. That was part of the bet.
This was the brainchild of my warped locker mate, Gary Brown. He bet he could beat me in miniature golf. No problem. I was the king of the windmills. Then I lost. I figured he’d make me tweet that he was the new king and I bowed to him. Instead he came up with Channing Tatum.
So when the hour was up and I tweeted out the explanation of the bet, not a single person tweeted back. Where was everybody? They only saw the Channing Tatum tweet but not my explanation? Great.
I’m getting this post done in the clubhouse after today’s game. Not a great outcome obviously. But spring is when you really focus on working on improving your game as an individual and as a team. I had my fourth home run and seventh RBI in the last seven games. I feel completely comfortable up at the plate right now. The best I’ve felt in a while. Everything’s clicking.
What’s different? I think a few things. Now that I’ve been in the majors a little while, I’m better at figuring out how the pitchers are trying to set me up. Their job is to mess with your timing. As soon as you think you know what they’re going to throw, they do something else to trip you up. Now I’m thinking more along with them and I’m not fooled as much.
I also think my off-season work is paying off. I worked with my high school on strengthening my forearms and my core. The forearms help you hit for power, and your core helps just about everything.
I didn’t start the spring so well. And the thought crossed my mind that maybe I’d never get a hit again. But what’s different now is that the negativity disappears as quickly as it arrives. Now I know I’ll come out the other side. I went through some dark baseball hell for a while when I first came up to the majors. Those struggles now give me confidence. You learn to believe in yourself no matter what happens because you’ve seen yourself battle through it.
I think that’s why sports is so important for kids. Where else do you get these kinds of lessons about failure and struggle and resilience? I learned that things aren’t always going to go my way, whether it’s on the field or in the rest of my life. You have to be mentally tough. My dad drilled that into me. I didn’t do such a great job of that sometimes when I first got to the majors. Sometimes you have to be dragged to your lowest point before you figure out how to believe in yourself and fight.
A few other good things are happening, too. My truck is supposed to arrive today or tomorrow from Texas. It should have been here a while ago but there was trouble with the shipping company blah blah. Haylee and I have had to share her car, which we drove to Arizona. I take the car to away games, which leaves her stranded in North Scottsdale. So she will be very happy to have her car all to herself again.
And yesterday Haylee gave me a new wedding band. We had seen it in a store here in Scottsdale. I liked it but told her I’d never buy it for myself. The next thing I know she’s giving it to me as an early birthday present. (My birthday is next month.) It’s very cool but not flashy. It has a bunch of tiny greenish garnet stones that refract the light and give off a nice sparkle.
My original wedding ring is in the cup holder of my truck parked at my house in Lufkin. I take it off when I work out and leave it in the cup holder. In the rush of leaving for Arizona, I forgot all about it. Good deal for me. Now I have a better one.
That’s it for now. Thanks, as always, for reading. I’ll keep you posted on a rematch with Gary Brown. Maybe ping-pong this time. Or basketball. I have a few inches on him. I’m open to suggestions.