Results tagged ‘ Bruce Bochy ’

Sticking Together – Brandon Belt

It’s been a week already since I was in Napa with Haley. It was awesome. We went to Black Stallion winery on Silverado Trail. They were Giants fans so they took really good care of us. Then we went to Il Posto Trattoria and I had the best chicken parmigiana. It was such a relaxing time and really great to spend time with Haley. During the season, you never have enough time with your family, so you really appreciate the time you do have.

Neither one of us knows anything about wine, but we have a great time bumbling through and trying not to embarrass ourselves too much. Everyone’s really nice about explaining how the wine is made and what to pay attention to in the different kinds of wine. I don’t know if I’ll ever be a big wine drinker, but Haley and I both love it up there. I think the wine country will be an annual getaway for us.

As you know, it’s been a really uneven start to the season for us. With the injuries and some of us scrapping a bit more than usual, Angel Pagan called a players-only meeting on Friday. He talked about how we’re a good ball team that knows how to win and that if we keep playing hard, things are going to start going our way.

Then other players spoke. Buster, Melky (with Angel translating), Huff. Javy Lopez. A lot of the veterans. (Buster is like a veteran even though he’s so young.) They reassured the younger players that even though you might be struggling now, it’s a long season and you’re going to get on track. Don’t let your struggles affect your confidence.

I think it helped. As a young player, when things are going bad, your mind can start racing. You’re thinking, “Maybe I should be doing this. Maybe I should be doing that. What should I be doing different?’’

So the veterans were telling us to just step back and take a deep breath and get some perspective. There’s still a lot of season left to play. We can still make up ground. They reminded us to just work hard every day. Trust what got you here. Stick together. Be a team.

It was great to have just the players in there because we know it’s up to us. Bochy can have the best strategies in the world but it’s up to us to execute. We have to play the game the way it’s supposed to be played – the way we know we can play it.

We can’t wait to get into Dodger Stadium.

-Brandon B.

Belt

Last year when Bochy called me in his office and told me I made the Opening Day roster, I was so emotional that I had to take a few minutes to collect myself before going back into the clubhouse.

This year was a little different. I still didn’t know if I was going to make the team. So that part was the same. For six weeks in spring training you’re wondering and wondering. You’re thinking, “God, I just want to know.’’ They don’t tell you anything. It’s nerve-wracking. I figured I wouldn’t find out until Wednesday, when the final cuts were to be made and announced.

So Tuesday afternoon in Oakland, I’m at the cage during batting practice before the preseason game against the A’s. Bochy comes up to me and asks how I’m doing.

“I feel pretty good,’’ I say. “Hope to get a couple more hits tonight.’’

“If you get two,’’ he says, “you make the team.’’

I laugh and say, “I’ll do my best.’’

“No,’’ Bochy says. “You made the team. Congratulations.’’

It was awesome to hear that. I was really happy and relieved. But no tears this time. (By the way, I got only one hit that night so good thing Bochy was kidding.)

The biggest difference from last year to this year is my confidence. Last year, I didn’t know what was going on. Even as far as the plane and hotels. You’re always one stupid move from making a complete fool of yourself.

And when I struggled at the plate, I got advice from a bunch of different people and felt obligated to listen to all of them. This year, I’m confident in my approach at the plate, something I worked on in the Dominican winter league and during spring training. If I do go into a slump, I know I’ll come out of it without scrambling around and changing everything. I know myself better and what works for me. So I’ll take the advice that’s useful and leave the rest.

The team feels different this year, too. Not radically. But I feel we gelled right from the start of spring training. It seems like everyone’s kind of on the same level, like there’s no hierarchy.

Of course, it could be just that my perception has changed because I’m no longer a rookie. Last year, I came into a clubhouse with a lot of veterans and I kind of felt I was by myself. This year, not only do I have a year of experience under my belt, but there are more young guys  – Brandon Crawford, Brett Pill, Hector Sanchez.

The other thing is having Buster back. He’s one of the biggest leaders in the clubhouse and one of the biggest bats in the lineup – both of those are huge and have an impact on how the team feels overall. Everyone’s real confident.

I’m sharing the blog this year with Crawford. We’ll be alternating. So look for his entry in the next couple days.

See you back in San Francisco next week. Thanks for reading. Feel free to leave comments. I love reading them and will try to answer your questions in an upcoming entry.

-Brandon Belt

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