Swimming with the Fishes (OK, Mammals) – Brandon Belt

I have a few minutes before going out to the field here in Colorado. Really entertaining game last night. Nobody is more fun to watch than Pablo Sandoval. I’m like a fan when I watch him whether he’s at the plate or in the field. He does stuff I’ve never seen anyone do. When he got the triple to complete the Cycle, we were going crazy in the dugout.

And I was happy that I connected on a home run, finally. I’m still trying to get my timing back after missing five weeks in the middle of the season. That’s why I’ll be playing in the Dominican from mid-October to late November. That wasn’t exactly in my plans, but Bochy said it was the best way to get ready for next season. I’ll get another couple hundred at-bats, making up for the ones I missed when I was on the DL.

I’m a little worried because I’ve never been out of the country. I guess I need to talk to someone about getting a passport. I’m sure it will be an interesting experience, but I think you’re always worried when you’re going into a situation where you don’t know what to expect.

What I’m realizing, now that I’m almost finished with my first big-league season, is that nobody has this game completely figured out. It’s not just me. When you’re a rookie, you think you’re supposed to know everything as soon as you step inside the major-league clubhouse. So it was interesting to listen to the discussion with Barry Bonds when he came into the clubhouse last week. There were guys who have been in the big leagues for 10, 15 years trying to learn from him. They were asking questions, picking his brain. That was really cool because it showed me that playing baseball is one long learning process and you’re going to keep learning until your last day on the field.

Bonds talked a lot about how he prepared for the game. It got me thinking about how I prepare myself and what I could do better. For example, in batting practice, Bonds always worked on hitting the ball the other way. His strength, of course, was pulling the ball. He knew he could do that without even thinking. So he always worked on stuff he wasn’t as comfortable with.

During the off day last week, Haylee and I went to see Baby Brandon again at Six Flags in Vallejo. I was taller than him last time, and this time he was taller than me by a little bit. He is so cute. We spent the whole day up there — me, Edlefson, Matt Cain and Cody Ross and our spouses/families. The coolest thing we did was put on wet suits and swim with the dolphins. We rode on the back of one. We got to get up close to an elephant, who raised his leg so we could sit on it. For someone like me who loves animals, those people at Six Flags have the coolest job you could ever have.

Brandon Belt at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, Vallejo, CA

Brandon Belt at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, Vallejo, CA

OK, enough for now. I have to go out and do my own pretty cool job.

-Brandon

34 Comments

Wasn’t around to watch the game last night, but I saw the late late night replay. Pablo’s cycle, your home run, and just the way the entire team played was magical!

Best wishes with your stint at the Dominican Republic. I have lots of faith that you’ll be prepared as a better player come spring. And as always, thanks again for an insightful and uplifting blog!

I really enjoy your blogs, Brandon. It gives us great insight into your life and thoughts as a baseball player and a nice glimpse into your personal life as well. I think it will be a nice adventure for you to spend a few weeks in the Dominican Republic. I was there many years ago and it’s quite beautiful. Be sure to visit Altos de Chavon, a recreated medieval Spanish village that is an artist colony and a main attraction there. I’m glad that Haylee started a Twitter account. Perhaps influenced by Nicole Vogelsong, who is a terrific “Tweeter”? Your fans will be able to connect with you through her. Good luck with the rest of your season and with winter ball. It’s very exciting to follow your success and to cheer you on!

Dude! You are a baseball player! I’m pretty sure that is the coolest job you could ever have! haha

Hi Brandon! I’m really enjoying your posts, as well as your first season in the big leagues. I’m rooting for your success and I know you’ll be big time soon enough :)

Really enjoyed your blogs, always fun to hear from your perspective. You may want to start the passport process soon as it can take several weeks to receive. Good luck & thanks for playing so hard this year, it’s been a real pleasure to watch you.

Brandon,
Unbelievable. Advice from Barry Bonds. Take that seriously! You are going to surpass him on the records board someday, so take notes on what he did. That is so cool you got to spend time with the animals, I bet that was so much fun! They have the coolest jobs ever? I think yours is pretty nifty too!! Nice solo shot yesterday, keep it up!
♥ Sierra Wilson

I enjoy reading your blogs. They remind me that you are a human being just like the rest of us, even if the things you do on the field and at the plate make me think otherwise. Keep it up Baby Giraffe

Great blog. Watch the movie “The Cove”, documentary on the process of capturing dolphins, it will change your perspective on marine mammals in captivity.

Brandon,

The Dominican is beautiful you’ll enjoy it. You can apply for your passport at the post office. I know what you mean about the people at Six Flags and Sea World having some cool jobs! My cousin works at the Marine World there in Vallejo I love going to see her at work! Good luck with the rest of the season and enjoy your off season!

JenniferRose

Brandon good luck to you in the DR. Maybe you can get some pointers on Spanish words & phrases from Panda, Beltran or Andres. My son loves you and thank you for being an influence in my little boy’s life. There aren’t too many heroes out there for kids these days, but to my son The Giants are everything!
Thank you for giving your best we the fans appreciate it !!

I’ve enjoyed watching you plat ball this year Brandon, and want to personally thank you for signing my BELT jerseyat Busch Stadium right before the game started! That was the same night you got hit by a pitch and got injured. Good luck the rest of the Season, and have fun in the Dominican!!

Brandon, I would be happy to talk to you about getting a passport. It’s pretty simple actually–Just need your original or certified copy of your birth certificate, 2 passport photos, and the filled out passport form. You then take that to your nearest passport office (usually a post office) and process it. It normally takes 6-8 weeks to get a passport-but there are ways to get it quicker. You can either have it expedited, for a fee and should receive in 2 weeks, or go down to the passport office in SFO and have it done in a day, but there are some restrictions on that, like I believe you need to be traveling within 2 weeks, and have an itinerary to show proof. A good resource for you to look at is: http://www.travel.state.gov.

I would be very happy to help you in any capacity as you need for your trip, I am a travel agent and have been to DR only once, and loved it. I have a FB page – Dream Vacations by Kristi, if you would like to contact me.

Keep up the good work – My daughter Hannah and I love watching you and want you to stay around!!

Rooting for you man. I hope you have many chances to pick Barry’s brain; the guy can just crush the baseball. Good luck with your trip to the Dominican and come back better than ever.

It’s so nice reading about your experiences and seeing how your interpersonal relationships affect your life and profession. You remind me so much of myself, except the superstar skills, in your posture, poise and attitude – beyond amazing to connect them to this writing you are doing. Although I am a little bit late, welcome to SF and I hope you find your place here for a long time to come. I, like many others, will continue to support you on and off the field – including the small giraffe on top of my hat. (I wonder if you ever saw that one on TV at the Dodgers game & no I don’t build bridges. haha)

Excellent home run yesterday can’t wait to see what you have in store for the future – you will be a star.

I do have a question for you:

What person in your life was the most influential in you choosing baseball as a profession?
Does the baby giraffe thing bother you at all, or are you just riding it out? What other nick names do people give you?

Keep your head up, Brandon. We’re all pulling for you; I know you got a bit roughed up this season but it’s a good experience to have and whether you know it now or not, you’ve already learned so much. You’ll continue to learn until the day you die – no one ever has anything totally figured out. Even the people teaching us. Stay positive.

Also, I’m jealous of your job because you get to go play with animals named after you (and there are some other reasons, too). :)

Brandon, I think you’ll find the DR to be one of your favorite moments in life. You’ll very quickly gain a lot of gratitude and humbleness for having been lucky to be born in and grow up in America. You’ll also love the people there if you take some time now and buy some kind of language app like Rosetta for your iPad or laptop so you can better fit in with your team mates and everyone else there. Plus, just think how you’ll impress Panda and the other guys on the Giants that speak Spanish.

Put as much into learning about the culture and language before you go (guidebooks, talking to team mates, Internet) so you truly get the most from your time there. Being in another country can be intimidating if you don’t speak the language and are not familiar with local customs. On the other hand, it miht just be one of this life altering moments like college freshman year. I’m sure you will give it your best.

Looking forward to hearing about it.

Thanks for the update and thoughts. Just know you have so many people pulling for you for next year. You have such a sweet swing. Many great players have struggled in the bigs. I’m glad you are going to play off season. This is the partial line up i would like to see next year. Get Beltron back if possible. Batting 2nd. Freddy or Kep/ Batting 3rd Carlos B/ Batting 4th Buster P/ Batting 5th Panda/ Batting 6th or Huff. Batting 7th you or Huff. Undecided on 6th or 7th. See how you do this winter.

Have fun!

It’s really awesome to see how you guys are real people. It’s fun to read your writing! Good luck against the Rockies tonight!

Right on Brandon…You are a great addition to the Giants. We needed some New, young blood..GO GIANTS!!

I too really enjoy reading your blogs. I am glad you, your wife, and other guys and their families went out and had what sounds like an amazing day. You all deserve it! I hope you keep your blog going while you play winter ball. Take Care and Have Fun. The Familia Galvan are always pulling for you!

Wow I just discovered this blog after all this time! Thanks so much for sharing your insight on the beautiful game with us. I have been a huge fan since you were called up! We are all so happy for you and your successes this season. You should be really proud of what you have accomplished and what’s still to come. Everyone is pulling for you here in the bay!
PS – Nice solo shot!

Brandon, I have been a fan before you even got called up and knew you were going to be special. You have the urge to learn from the greats and improve your game and your mechanics. Barry Bonds has a lot to teach anybody and would make a great coach someday. I am very glad to hear that he helps the young guys like yourself out. Everyone was so happy for your HR last night and we hope to see many more as you grow as a Giant.

Great blog, thanks…. and life, like baseball, is a learning experience that ain’t over ’til it’s over!

Great reading from your perspective. I’ve been a SF Giants fan for over 30 years but yours is the first rookie journey I’ve been excited to follow from the start since The Thrill and Matt Williams. You’ve been fun to watch and inspiring to root for. Glad you had a chance to revisit with Baby Brandon, adding great memories with your teammates and families. Congrats on your homer on Thursday. One game at a time is all you can tackle so enjoy each one for what it is. Many blessings to you for the rest of the season and in the DR.

Have Fun In the Dominican Republic , You’ll Love it there.
The culture is amazing and I am pretty sure you will like it and the experience will be amazing. Hope you do great for the rest of the season with everything . Most things happen for a reason and hopefully this will help you learn .

Thank you for your insights…. it’s interesting, as a fan, to get to know more about a player than just the stats. I think that’s why last year was so magical for me… living in SF and hearing more of the ‘club house’ antics, pains, joy and sadness. Do keep up the good work… you are a joy to watch. Best luck to you and your family!

First of all great job on the homer tonight, well done! Love your posts. Trust me you will love traveling outside of the country once you get started, the world is amazing!!! BTW Baby Brandon is going to way outgrow you real quick :) I saw Giraffe’s in Kenya and their eyelashes were what amazed me :) Elephants are my favorite animal, but you are my favorite giraffe :)

tomorrow is national passport day!

“On Saturday, September 17 only, apply for your U.S. passport at a Regional Passport Agency without an appointment. You will be able to apply for standard processing (4-6 weeks) or pay an additional $60 for Expedited processing (2-3 weeks, door-to-door). Passport Day in the USA also means passport-themed events for adults and children at Regional Passport Agencies and many passport Acceptance Facilities across the country in communities like yours. If you’ve been waiting to get your passport, this is the time!”

and don’t worry about international travel – it’s a great experience. you will learn a lot, meet interesting people, eat delicious food, see and hear new and wonderful things, overcome challenges and have a whole lotta fun. it will also make you love coming back to your country, because there is no place like home.

thanks for being such a great player!

Brandon – adding my muchas gracias on sharing your rookie year with us. My first trip out of the US was in my early 20s too [many moons ago!] – a little scary, yes but very fun and exciting to be an “ambassador” from the US and in your case the SF Giants as well. Hopefully Mrs. Brandon can go too and can do some research on fun things to do when not playing ball. Plus I’m sure many of your team mates have had DR winter ball experiences – should be a lot of fun + hard work and would love to read a “winter ball” blog from you and spouse. That way you’d still know the orange + black have your back ! Loved the big flys this week – keep it up – we love ya, baby!

Leaving the country for a new place is an amazing experience, and going somewhere that you have work to do and everyday people to hang out with us even more special. You are so lucky to get the chance to immerse yourself in another culture, not as a tourist, but as a member of a killer sports league. Have a blast!

I’m a Big Brandon Belt Fan. I can’t wait for the day when you are batting 3rd, in front of Buster and Pablo and playing 1B EVERY INNING OF EVERY GAME. And with a speedy runner on base, imagine then the pitches you’d likely see.

I look forward to you seeing better pitches, hitting more consistently, walking more, and striking out less. Be aggressive, always go up to the plate looking to drive the ball. Refine your strike zone, make the pitcher come to you. With 2 strikes, choke up a bit, open your stance a hint, expand your strike zone, and put the fat part of the bat on the ball. In pitcher’s counts, sacrifice some power for more consistency.

In my book, the 3rd hitter in the lineup is usually reserved for the BEST overall offensive player on the team. He must do it all. He has to be able to get on base often, run the bases well, and score runs. He has to be able to hit with a high average, but also with some power driving the ball. On this Giants Team, nobody has the potential to be all of that, more than you, Brandon. Glean as much as you can from Willie Mays, Barry Bonds, and Carlos Beltran. Three of the all-time 3-hole hitters in the HISTORY of BASEBALL.

Be confident. You have the potential to be one of the Greats to have ever donned a Giants uniform! We are all rooting for you.

I love reading your insights and experiences in the majors, gives me a whole new perspective on baseball. Good luck in the Dominican, you’ll do great.

P.S. Great job against the Rockies!

Brandon you are so refreshing. Glad you are a Giant. exciting to see all you young ball players pull together for such great games.

Hi Brandon,
Just found this blog! You are a talented athlete AND a talented writer too.
Rooting for you. Liked your description of how you hit the ball in FL: see ball, hit ball (go w/ the pitch). I think every head turned in awe watching those 2 HRs.
Will enjoy watching you play these next couple games.
Live in the moment these next couple days, and enjoy playing one of the greatest games of all time!

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