On the Road – Brandon Belt

I’m in Colorado Springs with the Grizzlies, and it’s actually snowing. Not sure we’ll get the game in today.

It’s been about 10 days since the Giants sent me down to Triple A Fresno. It was kind of a blow at first because you dream about getting to the major leagues your whole life and you make the team and in less than a month you’re back in the minors.  The veteran guys – DeRosa, Aubrey, Aaron Rowand, Pat – were really encouraging. They told me that 95 percent of the players in the clubhouse had been sent down at some point.  They reminded me that so much of baseball is about failure and that you just have to see these setbacks as part of the process and make the appropriate adjustments.

“Find your swing and get ready to come back up,’’ they told me before I left.

I took two days off before I joined the Grizzlies. That was the best thing I could have done. I needed to clear my head and figure out how to move forward. I knew there was something wrong at the plate but couldn’t quite pinpoint what it was. I talked to my dad a little bit and talked to Haylee. But mostly I just rolled things around in my head.

I realized I wasn’t comfortable in the batter’s box. I was physically uncomfortable and mentally uncomfortable. It started when I tried to stop yanking my front shoulder. I had been opening the front shoulder too much. To fix it, I overcompensated by over-rotating my upper body backward. As a consequence, I was straining my neck to look forward. My neck was hurting, and body felt out of sorts.

So I decided the key to getting my swing back was, first, to just be comfortable in the box. Keep my body relaxed. Stop thinking about my mechanics. Just feel comfortable.

As soon as I got comfortable in the box, the minor mechanical adjustments I had to make just came to me. When I was over-rotating, I couldn’t really fix the other mechanical problems. My body wouldn’t allow me to. So when I got physically comfortable I was able to make those other tweaks and everything started falling into place.

Since my first game with Fresno on April 23, I’ve hit .458 with 8 RBI and 2 homers. I’m 8-for-14 over the past four games.

When you get back on track, you get that feeling back of, “I’m out here having fun playing ball.’’ You get that confidence back. And you’re able to do things you’re not able to do when you have no confidence at all. It’s just a totally different mindset.

The confidence at the plate has helped in the field, too. I’ve been playing outfield here, a position I’ve never played regularly. I was a pitcher and part-time outfielder in high school. Didn’t play it at all in college. And played a dozen or so games in the outfield in the minors last year. I don’t feel too bad out there, though I’m not where I want to be yet. When you’re playing corner outfield positions, the ball slides away from you a lot and it’s hard for me to remember that sometimes. And I’m learning how to play the ball off the walls a little better. But you learn that stuff the longer you play the position.

While I’m in Colorado Springs, Haylee is in San Francisco picking up the rest of our stuff from the apartment we were renting. We had to scramble for an apartment in Fresno and found one we could share with another player on the Grizzlies. He has an extra bedroom. But a couple days ago someone broke into the car belonging to the wife of another player, who lives a floor below us. Then yesterday someone parked in Haylee’s parking spot at the Fresno apartment building – and that car was broken into, too. So I don’t feel comfortable with Haylee staying there when I’m out of town. Which means we are now looking for another apartment. That’s the part of baseball you don’t hear about much. It’s not a huge deal, and believe me I’m not complaining, but packing up and moving, then packing up and moving again, can be rough on spouses. You might just get settled in somewhere and suddenly you’re on the move again. We know now to whittle our belongings down to whatever fits in the car.

Thanks for reading. Hope it stops snowing so we can get out on the field.

-Brandon

19 Comments

Glad to hear you’re getting your confidence and your swing back. I’m sure the vets are right and you’ll be back up before you know it. Can’t wait to see you play again!

We can’t wait to get you back in SF again- it was a pleasure watching you play!

We’re so happy to hear that you’re feeling more confident. Good luck finding an apartment! We miss you in SF. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us! :)

Glad you’re figuring things out…sorry it took all this hassle to make it happen. Look forward to your return to the bigs. Till then, keep crushing the ball in Fresno.

You’re doing a great job in Fresno. Keep it up and you’ll be back soon

It’s so good to see you doing well and we miss you tons in SF. We’ll see you soon, though, we’re all sure of it!

BB, I live in Fresno and live in a very queit apartment complez on the North end of town. Let me know if you want any info.

So glad to hear the vets took time to reassure you of the process and your talent. Praying for your wife — living in CA myself all my life, I understand it’s quite the adventure. Stay strong, especially in your faith. It’ll be a solid foundation for your marriage and career. As fans we’re spoiled and want wins now — whatever it takes. Thanks for reminding us of the human side to this game. We’re cheering for you whichever level you’re playing as it’s only a matter of time we’ll see you in SF again. Hopefully soon.

With Say-Hey’s B-day in a couple of days, just remember that he was sent back to the minors in his rookie season … turned out pretty well. Good Luck!

Way to persevere Brandon! It’s gotta be tough competing and traveling while you have “life stuff” to deal with. Hang in and best of luck! Glad you’re a Giant!

Brandon, I have always told my 14 yr old son that baseball is more failure than success. Just look at how a “good” hitter gets ONLY 3 hits every 10 at bats! I saw you play in the spring and again when you all went back to Phx. I enjoyed watching you play and don’t doubt that you’ll be called up soon. Your arm during batting practice amazed me and I personally think you can make the Giants stronger by playing RF and leaving Aubrey at 1st. Just keep it between us but he killed us a couple of games early in the season out there! BEST OF LUCK and we’ll see you in the bigs real soon

hi brandon, well hopefully you won’t be living in fresno very long – we miss you and need you back in sf!

BB-you should rent a house in Fresno, its the same price as an apartment and you will have the peace of mind your wife is a lot safer in a neighborhood with decent homes. I know of one available with a pool!

Keep your head up, man! You’re an amazing player with tons of talent and even more potential. Focus on your love of the game, and everything else will fall right into place. I know we’ll see you again on the shores of McCovey Cove. Definitely not a matter of IF…but a matter of WHEN.

See you really soon.

Hey keep your head up and your dreams alive. I am glad you were able to quickly transition for your short stay in AAA. It sure is good to have a good woman by your side to help you along, isn’t it? Especially when she has to go and pack up your apartment in short order. But not to worry. Someday you will laugh over that stuff. Enjoy yourself for the moment and get ready to come back up. You obviously have a ton of passion for the game and it isn’t leaving you anytime soon!

Brandon, I remember the first day I saw you play. My husband pointed your way and told me, “That kid is going to be huge some day.” I believed it then and I believe it now. Be patient and work hard – your journey is just beginning, enjoy every step of the way.
I hope you and your wife can get settled soon, it’s hard when things are out of kilter. But love and patience see you through it, I’m sure :)

We live in a great complex… not far from the stadium. Would love to give you guys some info if you still need a new place!

BEEN A GIANT FAN FOR 55 YEARS SO I HAVE SEEN THE BEST OF THE BEST GIANT ROOKS AND THERE IS NO QUESTION THAT BRANDON WILL GET IT RIGHT AND HAVE A FAB. CAREER!!!

Sounds like me in a different box – a tee box at a golf course. I’m already out of balance at the range – the course exacerbates it. At least I didn’t do a grim march through the course last Friday. Keep working on relaxing in the box – it makes the swing one heck of a lot better. Bend at the hips to adjust for different clubs – maybe that works for baseball, too, to adjust for pitch location?

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