Like a Dream – Brandon Belt
I don’t even know where to start. The past week has been unbelievable. I keep using that word over and over. It’s like I’m in a dream. I’ve watched baseball my entire life on television and finally I’m here seeing it in real life. It’s almost as if I’m having an out-of-body experience. I always imagined what it would be like to be up here and play in front of 50,000 but you can’t imagine it until you do it. It’s a lot louder. When you’re at the plate don’t notice people because you have your back to them. But you see them when you’re on the field. And when something happens and everybody starts screaming you realize, man, I’m here.
My wife, Haylee, has been with me since spring training and traveled to the games in Los Angeles and San Diego. My parents and younger brother flew in for the San Francisco home opener. It was the first time my dad has ever been on the plane. He’s afraid of heights – and he likes to be in control. When I was playing in Single A in San Jose last year, he and my mom drove from Texas to watch me. They drove to Arizona this year to visit me during spring training. But my dad couldn’t take the time off work to drive, so he got on the plane on Thursday. He’s not a huge drinker but he got some help on this one.
I appreciated my brother Cameron coming. He’s not a sports fan at all. He likes computers and science. He follows me but not baseball in general, and he doesn’t follow me all that well. My dad is a geometry teacher at Hudson High, where my brother and I went to school, and my mom is a hairdresser.
For the home opener on Friday, when I was standing there on the third-base line and they were introducing the players, my heart was just pounding. I was thinking about my mom and dad up in stands and how they’ve been waiting their whole lives to see me out there. All the games they sat through. That’s what made me the most emotional — just happy they were there and Cameron and Haylee. I was thinking, too, about everybody watching back in my hometown. I feel like I’m doing this for a lot of people.
So I was waiting for my introduction and looking up in the stands to get a wave from my family, but I don’t know this park and didn’t know where they were. When the introductions got to me, the camera was right on me. I really don’t like everyone staring at me, though I know it’s part of baseball. I tried to act real cool, but it was nerve-wracking. I just waved real quick so the camera would move on.
After the game, I went out with my family and we were all saying that was the coolest thing we have ever seen in our entire lives. We just couldn’t stop talking about it. The flyover, the big flag out on centerfield. It was the best thing we ever witnessed in real life. I can’t imagine two better days than Friday and Saturday. The pre-game ceremonies, coupled with 45,000 fans, coupled with just making the big leagues, coupled with my family in the stands – you can’t get much better than that. I keep trying to figure out, is this really happening right now? Is somebody going to come and wake me up soon?
But I’m really aware of taking care of business, of being ready to play ball. It’s been a little more difficult to get all our work in, but I think now I’ll settle in. It was helpful to talk with my dad about my hitting. He was a football coach and doesn’t know baseball as well as he knows football. But he knows me. He knows how to pick me up. We talk things through and he gets me thinking and then I start to figure things out on my own. That’s why I pretty much call him all the time.
After Saturday’s ninth-inning win, my family and I ended up at Denny’s on Mission Street. There were a few Giants fans there and then more kept coming in. People were asking for autographs and photos. I’m not used to that. In my hometown people recognize me, but not in a city of a million people! It was fun, but I can see where it could become a burden on a family to deal with that everywhere. I’m going to have to figure out how to approach that part of being a ballplayer.
Look forward to seeing you at the park and beating the Dodgers!