Results tagged ‘ Brandon Belt ’
I started this post yesterday and didn’t get back to it. So I’ll try to finish this morning and see if it can get posted before game time. (I don’t post them myself.) Day games after night games are kind of rushed. Always such a fast turnaround. You sleep and then you’re back on the freeway heading again to the park. BUT . . . it’s great weather today, a sell-out crowd and we’re playing baseball. No complaints.
I’m a huge Warriors fan, and Jalynne and I were lucky enough to go to the game Sunday night. Getting a hold of tickets isn’t the easiest thing, but my agent used to work with Bob Meyers, the Warriors’ GM, so that was my connection. We raced over to Oakland after our game and got there around 5. It was cool to get kind of the VIP treatment. We parked in the special access lot — pulling in right behind Floyd Mayweather. At the security entrance, he was waiting for his whole posse to get together, so he told Jalynne and me to go ahead of him. Pretty cool.
We had great seats — directly across from the Warriors bench, 20 rows up. It was fun just to be a fan — to be one of the watchers instead of a guy being watched. Curry has to be the most fun athlete I’ve ever watched. What impressed me about him is what impresses everyone about Curry — his quick ball handling, his vision on the court and then how quick his shot is — it’s unbelievable. When you don’t think he’s able to get a shot off, he not only gets it off, he makes it.
And then LeBron. I don’t know if people grasp how big he is if you’ve only seen him on TV. He’s so big and he’s so quick. I think that’s why he’s able to make things look so easy. He’s able to back you down, but if give him too much room, he can blow by you, too, because he’s that quick. At one point I looked up at the scoreboard stats and he had something like 8 assists, 20 points and 8 rebounds — he almost had a triple double at halftime! And everyone else on the team had zero assists.
We’ll be on a plane to Seattle tonight during the game. I hope we land in time to watch the second half. We’ll all have our iPads and headsets on while we’re riding the bus to the hotel. Let’s hope they clinch tonight.
OK, should we talk turkey taps? Seems to have attracted a bit of attention after our White House visit and Matt Duffy doubled over. It was from a sneak attack by Cain, who landed the punch as he passed by. Some people who saw it on TV thought it was me because I was standing next to Duffy. I’d have to have really flexible Inspector Gadget arms to reach Duffy. And the evidence is stacked against Cain. When Morse was here, Cain gave him a little reach-around on camera. I put a clip of it on Twitter. He and Belt lead the team in turkey taps. It happens a lot when there’s a big group because you can’t really tell who’s doing it. I do get Belt a lot, but he’s gotten better at blocking it, so it’s not so fun anymore. Why do we do it? I don’t know. We have a lot of characters on this team who like to keep things fun and relaxed.
Turkey tap aside, it was really an honor to go to the White House again. Not many people get to go inside and meet the president. We took a train to Philly after that. I wish we could travel more by train. We had a chartered train to Philly, which means we had a whole train to ourselves. I think it was four or five cars. One car was for players who didn’t have their wives on the trip. Another car for players with their families, then the dining car and the coaches up font.Unlike flying, as soon as everybody boards the train, we leave. On a plane, it seem like it’s an hour before the plan takes off. I’m sure it’s making sure the plane is safe, but it was a nice break to take the train. We took it from Philly to New York, too.
In New York, Jalynne and I decided to see a play on the off day, Monday, but not many theaters are open on Mondays. We went to Phantom of the Opera along with Chad Chop and his wife, and Hunter and his girlfriend. Hunter had made dinner reservations for all of us but when we found out it was a 20 minute drive there and 20 minutes back — and theater was just a five-minute walk from our hotel — the Chops and Jalynne and I decided to play it safe and just grab dinner nearby so we wouldn’t be late for the show. We ended up having pizza across from the theater. We’re not picky, so it was perfect for us. In New York, you’re supposed to get pizza anyway.
We had a hitters’ meeting before the game today. Nobody’s freaking out. It’s baseball. It’s a long season. We’ll get it going. This happened last year in June, too. Everybody wasn’t hitting all at the same time. Last year ended up all right.
Thanks for reading. Next blog: I’ll answer your questions. Keep them coming
Wish we could have kept the win streak going so Willie Mays could have had a happier birthday. But with 10 wins in the last 14 games, we’re climbing out of the hole we dug for ourselves last month.
I didn’t get a hit today, but with my 3-for-3 yesterday my batting average is higher right now than my career average, and somehow I’m leading the team in home runs and RBIs. I’m pretty confident I will not be holding that spot when the season’s over. I know my strength is defense, but I always expect to contribute at the plate, too. I know it’s in me to hit higher than .250.
So, like every hitter in here, I’m always trying to make myself better. So last month, when — despite the home runs — I found myself swinging and missing more than usual, I needed to figure out why. I realized I was getting a lot more off-speed pitches than usual. It started with that first series on the road against the Padres. I had seen mostly fastballs in our season-opening series against Arizona. So when the Padres went with mostly off-speed stuff, I wasn’t really prepared. Then other teams started doing it, too.
Usually, about 60 percent of the pitches I’d see would be fastballs. I knew I wasn’t seeing that many, so I went and looked it up. Sure enough, fewer than 50 percent of the pitches were fastballs.
So I had to adjust. I had to get better at handling off-speed pitches. It’s tough to practice that, though, because in almost every batting practice you’re seeing only fastballs. You can program the pitching machine in the batting cage to throw whatever you want, but I don’t find it really useful. You know the pitch is coming and you can just sit on it. You get into that rhythm, and it’s not realistic. Although . . . having said that, I am sitting on the change-up or curveball more. And if I get a fastball, I can still try to take it.
Chad Chop has helped me get better. He’s one of our batting practice pitchers. He joined the Giants last year, and he’s little younger and stronger than the other ones we have. So I’ve gotten him to mix the pitches up to me. He’ll toss in a change-up or curve among the fastballs. And he’s a lefty. It’s probably why I’m hitting left-handed pitchers better.
Glad to see my fellow Brandon get his rhythm back, as he talked about in his blog post this week. He went 2-for-3 today, crushing a double and triple to the wall, and is 6-for-13 with four doubles and one triple in his last four games. He knows I carried Team Brandon (our hitting group) last month. I told him he had to step up in May. I’m happy I could give him the motivation he needed.
Thanks for coming out to all the games and sticking with us through a rough month. It’s a long season, and I think sometimes people — even in baseball — lose sight of that.
And thanks for reading!
Sorry I haven’t blogged much. When the team’s struggling, and you’re not helping to score any runs, there’s not much to say. You don’t want to sound all cheerful and happy because it wouldn’t be real. But you don’t want to make too much of a dry spell, either, because you know it’s going to pass.
Having said that, few things are worse for a hitter than opening the season and falling almost immediately into a slump. You haven’t built up any numbers yet. There’s no cushion in your batting average to absorb the dip in production. All you see is the dip. So everything just looks brutal. If you slump in the middle of the season, it doesn’t hit your average as hard.
For me, like most players, hitting is all about rhythm. When I get into a good rhythm, I can stay on a good streak for a long while. I was on a great streak coming out of spring training. The groin injury the first week of the season put me on the sidelines for a few days. You never think you’re going to be affected by an interruption like that, but hitting is such a complex thing, physically and mentally. One thing is a little bit off, and suddenly you’re struggling.
But it’s part of baseball. It happens. You know you’ll get out of it. But it’s never as quick as you want. I’m happy to be swinging the bat well again. I’m seeing the ball. I feel good out there. I know if I keep hitting the ball hard enough, good things will happen.
What matters most is that, as a team, we’re turning things around. We’re winning again and climbing up the standings, which all of us knew would happen. It’s in our DNA. And soon we’ll be getting some big guys back — Hunter, Cain, Peavy — and that will be a huge lift.
We have our batting groups again this year, and again we have Team Brandon. There are three groups, and I’m the captain of one of them. So in the draft I’m pretty much obligated to pick Crawford first. I haven’t looked at the standings for April yet, but I know he helped us a lot with his home runs. I’ll keep you posted.
I’m sorry I have no movie reviews. With Greyson, who is now eight months and desperate to start walking already, I’m not going out a lot. I want to spend every minute I can with him. I wanted to go to the movies in Colorado and just never did. I bought I Love You, Man in the hotel. I’ve seen it a hundred times and still think it’s hilarious. But I fell asleep and didn’t finish it. The life of a new Dad, I guess. Haylee and Greyson will go to Houston with me, and Haylee will head to Lufkin for a little while. She will be very happy to get some help from the grandparents.
Thanks for reading. And ask some questions so I have something to write about!
It’s really disappointing to be out of the lineup right when the season gets started. I won’t be out for long, but missing any time at all is so frustrating because all you’re thinking during the off-season and especially spring training is, “How do I get ready for Opening Day and the new season? What can I do to get better?’’ You can’t wait to get back out there.
I still got butterflies on Opening Day down here in Arizona. I imagine I’ll feel them again for the home opener on Monday. Maybe you think at this point in our lives, playing in the Major Leagues, we’d get kind of jaded to it all. But you don’t. It’s still a huge deal. You’ve been waiting four-and-a-half months. You’re so raring to go and so excited that you have to learn how to calm yourself down and clear everything out of your head.
You do that by going back to basics. As a little kid you’re always told to keep your eye on the ball, and that’s basically what it is. When you have a lot of stuff cluttering your mind, that’s when you get yourself in trouble. You need to go out there and be free and easy both mechanically and mentally. It’s something I really worked on this spring.
One thing that really helps: Having a seven-month-old baby. You cannot be in a bad mood around that kid. It’s awesome. He’s just loves being alive every day. He’s a lot like me as a kid. You might not know it now, but I was kind of goofy growing up. You can ask some of the guys I played with in the minors. I was goofy. And Haylee’s just like me. So we expect Greyson to be the same way.
I have faith that this little setback is just that. It’s no fun watching a game from the dugout when all you’ve been thinking about is being on that field. I’m feeling good and know I’ll be back in the lineup very, very soon. No movie reviews until then!
In the clubhouse. The topic: TV binge watching.
Belt: You ever seen Walking Dead?
Crawford: You’ve asked me that, like, a hundred times.
Belt: I ask everybody so I don’t know who I asked.
Crawford: You’ve told me to watch that already. But I probably won’t.
Belt: It’s not really about zombies. Once you get into it, it’s the drama about them staying alive. The zombies are always going to be a part of it but it’s kind of like an outside thing.
Crawford: Is it like Zombieland?
Crawford: Then I’m not watching it.
Belt: I liked Zombieland, too. Everything was about the zombies in Zombieland. You seen Orange is the New Black?
Crawford: I’m on Season 1.
Belt: At first, I was thinking, I don’t get this show. Then I really liked it.
Crawford: The first episode I watched, I thought, Oh, this could be pretty interesting.
Crawford: Gross. I watched a few more episodes and watched all of them. Way better than zombies.
Belt: I’m telling you, I was totally opposed to watching Walking Dead, too. Everybody was telling me about it. They couldn’t shut up about it. So I watched two or three episodes and I couldn’t stop. I love binge-watching. I love it to death. I hate it when it’s over.
Crawford: I know.I want to watch, like, three episodes in a row. But I find that I’m much more tired at night now than I was in the past. Nine o’clock comes around, I’m ready to go to bed. Unfortunately the girls aren’t ready.
Belt: This off season (the first with a baby), we were in bed every night at 8. I didn’t go to sleep but we were in bed watching TV. Just enjoying the entertainment. It’s so great.
Crawford: Jalynne and I will watch Breaking Bad if we’re actually both awake and the girls are asleep. We’re on Season 2. It’s kind of our new “together’’ show because at the end of last year we finished three shows all around the same time: Always Sunny in Philadelphia, How I Met Your Mother and Dexter.
Belt: I started watching Dexter all over again. I think it’s a genius show — about a serial killer who kills serial killers! What can get better than that?
Crawford: I think it’s interesting how many shows nowadays have, like, the main character doing bad things but in a good way. Like you’re rooting for the bad guy, kind of.
Belt: The lesser of two evils.
Crawford: He can’t help himself from killing so he kills bad people.
Belt: Right, without his code he would be a straight-up serial killer. He’s just lucky he got that code when he was young.
Crawford: Breaking Bad, he’s producing meth to make money for his family. Which, I feel like he has a good amount of money already in Season 2, so he could have stopped.
Belt: All I’m watching right now is Walking Dead so I can’t binge.
Crawford: You’re caught up?
Belt: Yeah. It sucks.
Crawford: When I was down in the Dominican (rookie league), they showed Law and Order, CSI and Lost. One episode a week. They had it on repeat. So for week a straight they had one show on reruns. and the next week they’d do another episode.
Belt: Man, that’d really suck.
OK, now that we re-read this, it is totally boring. It was an experiment. Doesn’t work. But thanks for reading it if you got this far! We probably won’t have another blog post until we get to San Francisco. See you there.
Today’s post is an actual combo Brandon & Brandon blog. We decided to turn on the tape recorder and share with you a conversation between the two of us in the clubhouse. (Saves us from writing anything.) We flipped a coin to see who’d transcribe the tape. We won’t say who lost, but the tape was subsequently fobbed off on a Giants’ staffer who volunteered to do it, mostly to stop a particular someone’s whining and pleading for best two-out-of-three.
Belt: It would have been awesome to be in the lineup today with Will Ferrell playing, wouldn’t it? (Neither Brandon was in the lineup and didn’t make the trip to Glendale for the game.)
Crawford: Would it have been cool to see him? Yeah. But it’s a road game. I’m not disappointed not to go.
Belt: I don’t know if we’d get to talk to him that much, anyway.
Crawford: What would you have said?
Belt: I’d give him some tips on how to be funny. How to act little bit. Nothing as far as baseball goes, I don’t think.
Crawford: What’s your favorite Will Ferrell movie?
Belt: Just your normal ones. Old School. Step-Brothers. Talladega Nights. A lot of people like Elf.
Crawford: Anchorman’s a classic.
Belt. Anchorman! Yes! That’s up there at the top. But Stepbrothers is probably my favorite. It’s so stupid, but it’s hilarious.
Crawford: Step Brothers is all right. Not the best.
Belt: Step Brothers is one of those movies I can watch over and over. Like Tombstone. SuperBad.
Crawford: Elf is better than Step Brothers.
Belt. No, it’s not!
Crawford: Stranger than Fiction?
Belt: That’s the one I was trying to think of. It’s terrible!
Crawford: It’s better than Step Brothers.
Belt: No, it isn’t! Step Brothers is hilarious.
Crawford: Are we going to stay catch partners? (They were catch partners Wednesday when Crawford played in the field for the first time this spring. Last year Crawford’s catch partner was Pablo.)
Belt: I can’t remember who mine was last season. Hicks, before he left. I don’t know what I did after that. I had a concussion for a while. I don’t remember a lot.
Crawford: You threw with Joe (Panik).
Belt: That might be right. I can’t remember.
Crawford: I think he’s playing catch with McGehee. Probably so you wouldn’t ask him again.
Belt: You know I’m really tired right now, and I slept late today. Is that weird? I am like extremely dead.
Crawford: Did you have cherry juice?
Belt: I should have.
Crawford: I don’t believe it wakes you up. For me, it makes me more tired.
Belt: It’s got like 64 cherries in it, and it’s gross. But it’s supposed to give you energy. I didn’t drink it today. I need a Red Bull right now. I haven’t had a Red Bull in like six days.
Crawford: There are a bunch of sugar-free ones in the kitchen that are terrible for you.
Belt: it’s the sugar ones that are bad for you.
Crawford: I thought you were on a nutrition kick.
Belt: So I can’t have Red Bull? Why not?
Crawford: It’s bad for you.
Belt: What are the long-term effects of Red Bull?
Crawford: I don’t know.
Belt: Exactly! So you can’t say anything bad about it.
Crawford: You might develop super powers.
Belt: Yeah! I could!
Crawford: You might actually get wings.
Belt: I could get in the hot tub and spill it and go back in time. It’s possible.
Crawford: Where’d you go?
Belt: I like today. I wouldn’t go anywhere.
Crawford: Go to the future.
Belt: Yeah, I’d go to the future. Go a hundred years into the future and see where we are.
Crawford: Where WE are?
Belt: No — well, we might be alive because they might have the technology by then to bring you back to life.
Crawford: Or maybe the Red Bull will keep you living that long.
Belt: Maybe if I drink Red Bull my whole life I’ll be a thousand years old.
Crawford: Good point.
Tomorrow in Part II: Binge TV.
Just like old times. Guest blogging again.
It’s great to be back with all the guys. There’s still sort a Brandon row in the clubhouse — we’re within a couple lockers of each other but not adjoining like in SF. (I am happy to report we have not revived the Brandon handshake. It was not the greatest handshake, as the other Brandons will tell you. In fact, it kind of gives you an uncomfortable feeling when you do it.)
To refresh your memory, I was sent to Triple A in mid-July. I watched the World Series from my home in Galveston, Texas, with my girlfriend and a buddy of mine. We parked ourselves in front of the TV every evening.
I admit it was a little difficult at times. I wished I could have been there and been a part of it. But of course you’re rooting for the guys you battled with earlier in the year. What stood out for me about the team was their fight — their ability to never give up or give in. They had their backs against the wall a lot of times and kept on pushing. That’s just the type of guys that are in there.
I’m really proud to have contributed during the first half of a championship season. There’s a lot of satisfaction in that. Plus, I’ll get a ring, which is every ballplayer’s dream.
When I arrived at camp a couple weeks ago, a few guys did a double take. They didn’t really recognize me. I’ve got longish hair now. I haven’t cut it since last June. Not sure why. I’ve never really had it long, so I thought, “Why not do it now?’’ It kind of got a little curly on me, though.
I’m not comparing myself to Pagan. He’s probably got the best hair on the team. But I might be in Crawford territory. He gave me some of his product the other day to use. It turned out all right. Gave it that wet look he likes before the game.
Here’s our better side . . .
Yes, the blog is back.
This was supposed to be posted on Tuesday, but the posting got screwed up and here it is now:
Today was the first official day of spring training. Everyone is here. We had a great team meeting first thing in the morning. Bochy talked and Hunter talked. It If we weren’t already pumped to go after another World Series title, we are now. I love spring training personally. It’s good to see the green grass again and get back on the field and feel it beneath your feet. As much as we all work out in the off-season, nothing gets you into baseball shape like playing baseball.
One of the things we do in the first few days here is sign baseballs, jerseys and photos that the community relations department uses through the season to try to fill all the requests for charitable donations. They set up a bunch of tables in a hallway near the clubhouse and we sit there before or after practice and just sign. I’m in the midst of signing 27 dozen baseballs. Hunter has to sign 43 dozen. The bigger the star, the more baseballs you’re asked sign. Travis Ishikawa said he used to sign one dozen balls. This year he signed 20-something dozen.
We’re also asked to make a few appearances during spring training.
“There’s a barbecue here at the park,’’ Bobby from community relations said as I signed the baseballs, “or an event at the local zoo, but you have to drive out there so it’ll be more consuming.’’
“And a lot cooler!’’ I said. “I’ll do that one.’’
You know what my favorite zoo is? The one in Omaha, Nebraska. They have all these different sections so when you go to see the water animals, it’s like a swamp area with alligators and beavers. It’s low lighting so you feel like you’re in the swamp at nighttime. They have all these little bridges and the animals swimming underneath you. It’s awesome.
Another thing about spring training is you’re back with all your teammates. We saw a lot of guys at FanFest but now we’re really together. And there are more guys. Brandon Hicks! The third Brandon. I was happy to see him back and happy to be able to use our Brandon handshake. It’s a pretty easy handshake. Kind of feminine actually. We tried to make it as awkward as possible.
For whatever reason, spring training also means — for me — watching a lot of Shark Tank. I’m too busy in the off-season to watch, but here it’s like the best thing to watch after practice. It’s kind of Shark Tank non-stop on X-box video. I like the feel-good stories about people who bring stuff in and make a company out of it. I love the brutal honesty the Sharks have with these people. It’s hilarious sometimes. I like rooting against some people and rooting for other people. Haylee hates that I watch it all the time. But she’s just as bad with HGTV. Every time I come home, HGTV is on. She used a lot of the info when we built our house. But we’re done building our house, so I’m not sure why she still needs to watch it.
I did take a break to watch the Oscars, or at least about half of it. I thought it was boring. It took them like an hour and a half to do six awards, and they’re mostly awards nobody cares about. And I wasn’t as interested as I usually am because I didn’t see most of the films because it turns out when you have a baby, you don’t go out as much. That’s my excuse for getting one pick correct — just Patricia Arquette. Me and the academy do not agree on a lot of things.
I saw two movies when I was in San Francisco for FanFest. Here are my reviews.
The Kingsmen: It’s about this secret, kind of James Bond organization. This kid’s dad was a part of it, so they kind of recruited the kid to be a part of it as well. He goes through all these tests and ends up being a spy. It was a less cheesy version of a spy movie in that they didn’t follow the same storylines that most spy movies follow. A more adult version. The acting was great. Samuel L. Jackson had a lisp, though I’m not sure why he found that necessary for the movie. Otherwise there were a bunch of English people.
Jupiter Ascending: Honestly to this day I still have no idea what I watched. It’s about this girl played by Mila Kunis who is a reincarnated Queen of the Universe. Her kids weren’t dead so they could take control of the universe, I guess. Channing Tatum is protecting her so they can get her back to power, I think. Honestly, it was a weird movie. There’s a lot of detail in it. It was very confusing. They colonize planets. It was a forgettable movie. It really was. Pretty cool special effects, that’s about it. I think it would have been kind of a cool movie if you knew what was going on.
Finally, just want to say how happy we all are that Bochy is fine and back on the field. He’s the leader. He’s the guy who gets the best out of his ballplayers. We’ve got to have him at the reins if we want to go out there and win another championship. He’s the one who sets the tone. That’s why, I think, when new guys like Casey McGehee and Nori Aoki show up, they fit in so quickly. The rookies, too. They figure out real quick we have a pretty special bond in this clubhouse. Everyone fits in, which is why we’ve been so successful.
OK, Hunter is giving me a hard time about getting back to signing baseballs. He’s been flying through his. So I’m diving back in. Then heading home. Shark Tank is cued up and waiting.
I’ve got news. I’ve been sitting on it since January, waiting for the right time, which seems to be now. There will soon be a baby Baby Giraffe. Haylee is six months’ pregnant, so there is no hiding her belly any more. The baby is due in September. We already know it’s a boy.
We’re really excited. We know we’ll be getting lots of advice from teammates and their wives. We might even listen to some.
It’s been two weeks today since my surgery. It’s kind of driving me nuts not to play. Someone asked me on Twitter on a scale of 1 to 10 how much I wanted to get back into the lineup and I said a million. I love watching baseball, and we’re winning, so that part is great. But in the dugout, because I don’t have anything else to do, I’m talking a lot more. I need to shut up. No one’s told me to shut up, but I’m sure it’s just a matter of time. The more I watch, the more I want to play. And the more it drives me nuts.
Morse is doing a great job at first. He’s an athlete. You heard about him tossing the ball in the dugout and hitting my broken thumb? He was throwing it to one of the clubhouse guys, but it bounced, hit the dirt and came toward me. I was on Vicodin at the time, soon after my surgery. So my reflexes were a little slow and my coordination was a little off. I waved my right hand at the ball to bat it away, and I completely missed it. And it happened to go right where my thumb was. That did not feel good. I spent a little time in the clubhouse until the thumb stopped throbbing. When I returned to the dugout, I put a batting helmet over it.
Right after the injury, I watched a couple of games on TV. I thought it would be weird. But, it was weird only in that it wasn’t as weird as I thought it would be. I felt like I had done this before, and I realized why. Sometimes I’d get home from a game and CSN would be showing a replay, and I’d watch some of it. So that’s what it felt like when I watched live games. Of course, the best part of watching any Giants game is listening to Kruk and Kuip. My family back home won’t watch any Giants broadcast if Kruk and Kuip aren’t doing it.
I’m getting a little better at using my ring finger and middle finger as a kind of claw to grip a fork to eat. I tried eating with my right hand and it wasn’t pretty. Haylee has to help me with my socks and tying my shoes. She’s in Mom Mode, taking good care of me.
A couple of movie reviews. (Thanks for saying you missed them!)
Godzilla: It’s a little long and kind of confusing at first. I was like, “I don’t know what’s going on right now.’’ But I liked the story line. Godzilla is kind of a good guy in this movie. You kind of like him at the end. It’s a different perspective.
Two and a half stars.
About Time: It stars Rachel McAdams and some British guy. The men in his family have always been able to travel back in time. They can even travel back to a memory and change it if they want to. They can do whatever they want. It’s kind of a like a normal Rachel McAdams movie like The Notebook and The Time Traveler’s Wife. So I wasn’t expecting much. But I really, really liked it. It hit on a lot of emotions. It was funny. It was sad. It kind of makes you appreciate the people you have in your life. I just really liked it. Of all her movies, it’s the best one. Haylee fell asleep. We started watching it late at night, she just couldn’t stay awake.
Three and a quarter stars. (I’d give it three and a half, except I’m just not crazy about the romance/chick-flick genre of movies.
Neighbors: I’ve been waiting for this movie to come out since December. I think I had built it up too much because I was kind of disappointed. It didn’t meet my expectations. I thought it was funny but not as funny as I thought it was going to be. It was kind of stupid, really.
Thanks for welcoming all the guest bloggers. I’ll jump in now and then. In the meantime, I’m working hard to get back on the field as soon as I can. Thanks for all the encouragement!
With Belt on the DL, we’re taking turns filling in, so here I am. I’m not a social media guy. I don’t do Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or whatever else is out there. But I thought it might be interesting to tell you a little about the bullpen.
Relievers are kind of a family within a family. Like our own band of brothers. We know we’ll be facing some pretty stressful situations later in the game, so in the early innings we keep things really loose and light-hearted. We’ll bring up some topic — maybe current events, something that happened the night before, something in the game at the moment — and we get the banter going.
Let’s say Santiago Casilla made a nice play on a come-backer the night before. He’s normally not a great fielder, so we start making fun of him for that. And he gets playfully defensive about it.
You can imagine the field day we had with Machi after his bunt in Pittsburgh. We all know he’s a good athlete even if he doesn’t look it, but we kidded him about not knowing how to hold the bat and about chugging down the baseline to first. Casilla promptly said he was faster than Machi, and Machi countered that not only was he faster than Casilla, he was the fastest in the bullpen.
I chime in and say I can take either of them. So someone says, “OK, we’ll have a footrace.’’
You’ll be relieved to know cooler heads prevailed. One of us would have gotten hurt, no question. (This is where I could take a cheap shot at Affeldt, but you’re already thinking it so I don’t have to.)
In any event, Machi was upset he didn’t get a hit on the bunt.
“A hit?’’ we said. “The ball beat you to the bag! How is that a hit?’’
You get the idea.
This is a different bullpen than I’ve been a part of. It’s very international with a lot of Venezuelans. There are no cliques. That’s one of the things that makes it pretty special. We spend some time learning English, some time learning Spanish. Casilla is one of my favorites because he genuinely tries to learn English. He’s always learning a couple of new phrases, and he has a few he goes to all the time.
The Venezuelan guys tell a lot of stories about the winter league down there. Machi told me Panda doesn’t talk in the Venezuelan league. He is not vocal at all, contrary to the singing, laughing character we see (and hear) in our locker room. Machi said it’s because there’s a pretty strict hierarchy down there, and Panda’s still considered a young guy. I found this hard to believe, but Gutierrez and Petit said it was true.
It’s kind of the reverse for Machi here: He doesn’t have a lot of time in the big leagues, so he doesn’t talk a lot. He’s talkative around us, but if you were to walk into the locker room he’s a pretty quiet guy.
Another thing I didn’t know that I learned in the bullpen: Even though Machi has been a closer in Venezuela for four years, he didn’t have a save in the big leagues. I had just assumed last year he must have gotten one with us at some point. (Shows you how much I really remember about our games.) He already had five wins but he really, really wanted a save in the big leagues. And he got one during the last road trip in LA. To see him do it, knowing how much it meant to him, was pretty neat.
So all this talking among the relievers is great, but what if there is no bullpen, like here at AT&T Park? The joking and laughing don’t go over real well in the dugout. We have to be kind of careful. At the start of the game, we park ourselves at the far left of the dugout, up by the rail. The coaches are at the opposite end, and the position players are usually on the bench against the wall.
At some point, we usually make our way to a small room at the bottom of the stairs (behind the dugout), where we can watch the game on TV and not bother anyone.
I don’t want you to think we don’t talk about baseball. We talk about situations that might have come up the previous night, and maybe there’s a similar situation today and Bochy has decided to go with a different pitcher. We’ll talk about different strategies and ask each other what we’d do against this hitter or that one. It’s always good to have Plan A but sometimes you need Plan B, C and D. So it’s nice to bounce stuff off each other.
The best thing about our bullpen is that we realize we’re in this together, and we have each other’s backs.
Thanks for reading. Now when you see a shot of us on TV in the early innings, you know we’re enjoying each other’s company and keeping things loose. Until the bullpen phone rings and everything changes.