Summer School – Brandon Belt

Haylee and I have gotten everything packed up and are heading back to Texas. Then I’ll be going to the Dominican for winter ball. It feels a little like getting to the end of the school year and you’re ready to take a break – and then you have to go to summer school. It’s not that I don’t want to go. I know it’s exactly what I need to do to get back on track.

But right now I’m just worn out. The last few weeks, I’ve been sore after games and then sore the next day – which kind of took energy away from the game that day.  My mind was always still in it, but my body just felt like it was dead.

This season, my first in the majors, was not at all what I expected. If I had written out a plan for this season, it would have been the total opposite of what actually happened. It was just a rollercoaster. I was doing well, doing poorly. I was up, I was down. I was healthy, I was hurt. I seemed to go through the entire spectrum.. But I look at it as a learning experience. I know a lot more about what I need to do to play at this level.

One of the things I’ve learned is that I have to be in condition to play whatever position they need from me. I conditioned last year to play first base, which meant trying to bulk up and get stronger. At first base, you’re expected to play with power. You don’t need as much speed and endurance. But if you’re not conditioned to play outfield, you’re not going to last the season. So I’ll be playing mostly outfield in the Dominican. And in December and January, when I’m home, I’ll be doing more running and conditioning than I’ve done in the past so I’m better prepared to play the outfield.

The main thing I’m going to work on in the Dominican, though, is my swing. Over this season, I’ve made adjustment after adjustment after adjustment so that it all kind of clustered together into one big complicated muddle. There’s so much going on during the season that you can’t really step back and press “reset.’’ You’re just hurtling forward. My mechanics have always been the same, and I lost them somewhere along the way. So I need to untangle the mess and get back to my original form because that’s where I’m at my best. The simplicity will take over and I won’t think about the mechanics as much and I can just go up there and hit.

When I head down to Dominican in a week or so, I’ll check out the living situation and then maybe Haylee will come down and join me. Even if she doesn’t spend the whole time down there with me, she’ll come for visits. Then I’ll be back in late November. I’ll have December and January without baseball. Just conditioning. Then spring training in February.

As tired as I am right now, I’m excited about starting next season. I’ll know a lot more about what it takes to be successful and hopefully avoid some of the mistakes I made this year.

Thanks for all the encouraging comments. They lifted my spirits during the tough stretches and reminded me that, even when my belief in myself wavered, you were rooting for me and kept believing. I can’t tell you how much that helped.

I’m not sure I’ll be blogging from the Dominican. I’ll try but if I don’t, I’ll be back in touch when I get to Scottsdale. I hope I’ll see you there.



  1. Michelle


    Congratulations on your season. It was hectic & unpredictable but it definitely strengthened you. I believe that God has blessed you immensely & He has taught you so much this year. I pray that your time in the Dominican will help you become an even better ball player. I’m proud of you for staying focused and being such a great player on the team.

    And I must say, you’re definitely immortalized in SF baby giraffe 🙂 haha. Thank you for being so sweet when I met you at Sports Authority and you signed my stuffed baby giraffe haha. You’re awesome! Safe travels & I can’t wait to see you next season! Have a beautiful offseason!!

    God bless!

  2. Robert M. levy

    Pablo, your fellow animal, undertook last off season to address what he needed to address to be all that he can be and now it is your turn. Everyone learns, sometimes the hard way, that it is harder than they had anticipated to play at the major league level and that mental preparation is as important as is physical endurance. We fans are both excited about you as a Giant, and are confident that you will be as successful as was Panda and look forward to seeing you at first base or in the field next season at the yard.

  3. Stacey

    Thank you for all of the updates this season, I have really enjoyed hearing about the game from you and Mark. I wish you the best for this offseason and look forward to hearing about your experience in the Dominican Republic next spring.

  4. Sierra Wilson

    I hope you do well finding your swinging again in the Dominican Republic! You are right, you need to find the swing you had before because that is what got you drafted, and got you through the minors so quickly. The Giants really did a poor job helping you through your first season, but I think it will only make you stronger for the future. We will always support you, even if you go 0-100, because you CAN do it, you have an incredible talent! You have such a bright future and it all starts with “summer school”! And I hope the living conditions are good for you so Haylee can come stay with you as much as possible, I’m sure her support helps you the most! I’ll definitely be at Spring Training cheering on my favorite player! (That’s you!) I know you will do great, especially with your extended season! Good luck, Baby Giraffe!
    ♥ Sierra Wilson

  5. Darkrose

    Best of luck in “summer school”! I hope Haylee can be there with you, and that everything goes great for you. Watching you and reading the blog has been one of the highlights of the year for me, and I’m looking forward to next season!

  6. Brent G

    Just get back to where you’re comfortable man. I am your biggest fan, pinky swear. I’ll be here cheering in Spring training and following in you in the Dominican as much as humanly possibly from the States. Stay up, keep your eyes on the prize, and eat some chile rellenos 🙂

  7. Mark J. Skuba

    You may have got off track a little, but you were very exciting to watch this season. The bay adopted you as our own not just because you have similarities to a giraffe, but the story that was being told being sent back down, being called back up. Everytime that happened, your mind seemed clear and you would crush the ball, then go through a slump. It was to be expected though and we all knew it. Don’t be too hard on yourself, there is so much time to keep on learning and improve your game and I am sure that is one of your motivations right now. The lasting impression I have on the season is you completely ANNIHILATING the ball for the 60th Splash Hit! You absolutely crushed that thing and showed when you are dialed in, you have some amazing power to showcase. Focus on getting stronger this offseason. We all support you and cannot wait to see you and the boys healthy and ready for another run. Good luck tearing up the Dominican Republic!

  8. Jordan


    Good luck down in the Dominican with baseball! You had an awesome season and I am looking forward to watch you play again next season. Have to say you were by far my favorite on the giants!

  9. ruthie

    Brandon Belt, the lil brother we never had …3rd generation Giants family and we welcome your ambition and commitment! La Dominicana a beautiful island and baseball is King! Have fun …safe travels. We’ll be @ Spring training ’12. Love your SFG familia.

  10. vette58lover

    It was definitely an up & down year for you! I know that I, as a fan, was definitely rooting for you! And look at you now-you made it to the end of the year, & ended in the big leagues! I’m really looking forward to watching you next season! 🙂

  11. Alex Fox

    Dude! Just get simple and try to rely on your abilities! Small adjustments are cool but stay whith in yourself! Trust your Godgiven talents and I think you will work thru all this! Good Luck!


  12. elyselydia

    Even though it wasn’t as often as I would have liked, I thoroughly enjoyed watching you play. I know it was probably really tough to be in the situation that you were put in this season, but know that it was for a reason. God has something big for you and He was using this season to prepare you. You and your wife are in my prayers as you take on this new adventure of going to the Dominican to work on things. Remember when times get hard that God has your back and that everything that is happening is for a reason and that reason, although we may not know now, is for the better. I look forward to seeing a lot more of you next season. 🙂

  13. katskahnne

    You were one of the bright stories during a tough season. Thank you for your efforts and spirit and for sharing your experiences here! You are appreciated greatly! Love to you and Haylee, and in case you’re “offline” til spring training, have a beautiful holiday season – and best of luck and success in the Dominican!! Hope to see you guys at least once in spring training before 2012 gets rolling in earnest!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  14. Kelly H

    Dude! Thanks for sharing this with us fans. You rock. Can’t wait to see you in Scottsdale for spring training. We believe in you.

  15. Andy Bru

    Mr. Belt,

    I remember in 2010 I looked at the Minor League stats, saw your name, and wondered, who the heck is this guy? He keeps raking. While this year wasn’t what any of us expected, I believe that it all happened for a good reason. You’ve already gone through so much that other rookies don’t, and that gives you an edge over them. When I saw your shot into McCovey Cove, man, it reminded me of watching Barry Bonds when I was little. You have all the tools to become an all-star, and I believe you will. Best of luck this offseason, and I look forward to seeing you crush the ball in 2012!

  16. S.K. Nua

    Mr Belt! great job this year. i hope youre ready to play in the world series next year! everyone in the bay area is glad to have you on our team, very eager to see you back in spring hitting more splash hits! tell Timmy i said PUT IT IN THE AIR!

  17. Richard Dutra

    You have tremendous talent and you will realize your potential next year. This year was frustrating for the team and its fans but you were one of its bright spots. I see you as part of the future killer line-up that will put fear into the heart of other teams: Buster, Panda, Freddy, Baby Giraffe, Nate the Great, Timmy, Matty, Vogelstrong, MadBum, Willie, Romo and the rest of our lovable cast of characters, we will soon be hoisting the World Series Champions Flag again. Remember: Never Give Up and Believe in Yourself. Here’s to more Splash Hits!

  18. laughterinbetween

    So I made up some awards on my blog the other day and ~awarded~ one to you for your perseverance. It was amazing to watch you play this season, even if you hit a few slumps. I can’t blame you for getting frustrated though. Anyway, good luck in the DR!! 🙂

  19. Dawn

    All the best in Texas and the Dominican. Hope you get the rest you need, and also the time with your swing. It certainly wasn’t a total mess–when you unloaded, those homers were sweet! You’re right, we have your back and want the very best for you and the team!

  20. Stacey J

    Brandon, you have been a wonder to watch. You are going to have an awesome career and I can’t wait to see it. I met you once in San Jose a couple months ago on an off day (you were watching a SJ Giants game) and it was truly a pleasure. Remember to have fun while you’re playing! That’s when the best of you will shine.

  21. Karen Datangel

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences with us throughout the season, Brandon. Wishing you the best in the Dominican Republic. I know it’ll be a very busy time, but please relax and take good care of yourself. 🙂 And I know your rookie year with the Giants was an up-and-down deal and despite all that has happened, you being a part of this season has truly been one of the brightest spots and for that, I’m thankful. Enjoy the rest of your time in Texas and best wishes and all love to you and your wife. Looking forward to a fresh start in 2012!

  22. gbrionesc

    I’m glad you go to the Dominican League. you will not regret it, is the strongest and best league after MLB. Combination of players from MLB, AAA and AA. most excellent prospects. The best climate and people are sure you will like. Baseball breathes there the whole time. Hopefully you can make the adjustments necessary to your progress in baseball. Good luck!. Ahh, you’re playing on the team also played Juan Marichal.

  23. Clifford Lemkin

    Brandon…I have been a Giants’ fan going back to the Polo Grounds when Willie Mays was making his basket catch in centerfield. In 1954 I was only 5 years old and didnt get to appreciate their World Series tiltle. But 2010 was SPECIAL. This year was going to be a tough one after Buster went down, but you guys hung in there for 162 games. What I like about you is your setup at the plate. Looks very powerful when I watch the Giants on CBS Bay Area in NY. Defensively I like what I saw at first base, and if you spend some time in left field you will adjust. The only thing I saw that I would suggest is to take some of those pitches that are coming into you and dropping down. My own observations while watching in my basement around midnight when you are playing at AT&T. I look forward to another strong effort in 2012 with Posey, Sanchez, you and some of the youngsters who got a lot of playing time this year. Enjoy your winter ball Brandon. By the way, my daughter who recently graduated from UCF is also named Hayley. Regards, Cliff from Long Island.

  24. James Bond

    Mr. Belt, it was great to watch you play this season. I like the on field demeanor you displayed even in hard times. Like the fan above said, get simple and let it fly. Still, if Will Clark comes along with some advice, do what he says. Looking forward to seeing you in orange and black for a long time.

  25. Ed Carrillo

    Congratulations on a good year and look forward to next year. Just remeber to continue to love your family for their support and scarafices, there is nothing like having a good woman next to you.

  26. Kevin

    Brandon, you were one of the at bats not to be missed during the season. Wish they just left you at 1b, but like McCovey, they moved you to left. Good luck in 2012.

  27. prit92

    I’m excited to see you come back in the 2012 season! I see a bright future in you and I hope that you see the same. It’s great to see a young bat like you versatile and being able to play anywhere just to get his name in the line up. I’m eager to hear about your hard work in the offseason, turning into some value for the 2012 San Francisco Giants. Good luck out there!

  28. Liam

    Good luck brandon. Hope to see you have a better time next season and hopefully no trips to the minors like last time. I hated when they sent you down over and over

  29. Eric Jensen

    You are doing good Brandon. I would give my left arm to be in your shoes, I hope you take full advantage of the gifts you are given and not worry about results.

    Winners ask themselves, can I do more? Losers ask themselves, have I done enough? Keep it going buddy, your results will come, but only god knows when that will happen.

  30. Jesse

    I’m happy to hear that you’re putting your nose to the grindstone. The Giants are going to need a solid offensive upgrade, and you have the potential to be that guy. It’s good that they’re not putting all their eggs in one basket with you like they did with Pablo last year. It seems like that hurt him a lot.

    I’m glad you’re posting on a consistent basis. You will gain and keep fans a lot more this way if we kind of know what goes on inside your head. It gives us a reason to root for you.

    I’m very excited to see you play next year. I know it’s kind of hard to wrap your head around how many hundreds of thousands of people out there have a serious passion to watch you succeed, but you can use that fire to turn your potential into reality.

    Good luck in the DR, and lay off that front door slider! It’s not a strike!

  31. Bob Pierce

    Listen to your inner self. Find your sweet swing. Keep your eyes open for young talent on the dirt fields of the D.R. while you are there. The amount of talent, especially at shortstop, that comes from the D.R. is amazing and you just might find the Giants’ next great infielder in your spare time. You are in the show now and will not be going down again, so relax and enjoy the sun, surf, and the greatest sport man has invented.
    A Giants fan since 1951

  32. Rob Lee Thornhill

    Love the candidness! Real, honest and humbling. Someone once told me God laughs at us when we make plans. I had a plan for 2003, did not include catching Bonds HR #625. I also had a plan for October 2010 and it did include flying back n forth from LA to SF to witness history!

    Set goals, work hard and the rest will happen on due time!

    Have a great offseason in th DR and we’ll see you in AZ!

    Rob T

  33. nyg54

    brandon, you and brett pill are going to hit 20-25 HRs apiece next season and
    lead the giants back to the postseason. you’re going to be great, believe in

  34. totalfan62

    Hang in there, Brandon. Knowledgeable Giants fans KNOW that you are a future cornerstone for our team. From what I’ve seen from you this year, I also know that you are a fine young man with a good work ethic and you will do what you need to do in order to be successful. Haylee, be strong and courageous. You are the wind beneath Brandon’s wings. You will both look back on this period and know it was essential to your growth.

  35. Tom Anderson (@myspacetom)

    It’s cool to hear you talk about your mechanics, conditioning, etc. Wish more players would be more open about how they’re working things out. Saw you in spring training this year and am looking forward to enjoying watching you play this year. 🙂 Glad we have you on the team 🙂

  36. rusty knudsen

    Hey Brandon, don;t beat yourself up too much. You had a “more” normal season for your first then most. Conditioning is king and I hope you can relay that message to other guys in the minors on the importance of conditioning not only for the long season but for a long career too. I say more video study is required so you can see what you were doing with certain pitchers and situations. Also if you are tired, and feel this is unusual, then you need to discuss this with your trainer or doctor and see if there is something related to diet, sleep and exercise regimen and what you do during your “downtime”. There are 40 yr olds still playing all year and have gas in the tank for the post season.

  37. Terry

    Sorry that your rookie season got tangled up in the mess that became 2011 for the Giants with all the injuries and such. 2010 was such an amazing year that things had to go different in a lot of ways and they did; but as a fan who never played the game at any level you were always fun to watch bat… I saw your comeback HR game against the dodgers and it was great. Keep up the hard work and remember most fans are going to root for you even when you struggle – you have great natural talent and it will burst thru very soon…stay confident and we’ll see you back @ McCovey cove!

  38. David Welk

    I am 52 years old and can run 5 miles in 35 minutes on the treadmill. Make sure you can do that to.

  39. Darlene Dewar

    I can’t wait to go to Scottsdale in March to see you do your best and to see the Giants get back on track. We’ve gone to Scottsdale for several years now and next year you will be a great part of what we look forward to seeing. You are a big part of the team getting on track next year. Enjoy the Dominican and relax.

  40. Nate Ilaoa (@nateskywalker)

    Hey Belt, it wasn’t your fault that you scuffled a bit. That is possibly the worst handling of a top prospect I have ever seen. I respect Huff and his role in bringing a title to SF, and I respect Bochy. But having you yoyo between Fresno and the Show, made it impossible for you to get in a groove. Especially when you’d get only a handful of ABs each week while Huff was busy going 0 for 4 game after game. I know if they give you a position and an everyday spot in the middle of the order that you will kill the ball. Don’t be too harsh on yourself. You’ve proven that with regular PAs, you can tear the cover off the ball. #Belt4MVPin12

  41. freddie battle

    Long-time Giant fan living in Phoenix. Based on everything i’ve read you have all the tools to excel in the bigs, just keep your head up and hopefully you and the rest of the guys will show the baseball world in 2012 the true champs. GO GIANTS

  42. Sarah Abrams


    I believe in you! And I always will. So if you are ever feeling down-and-out, or in a funk, or whatever, just know that I (and thousands of fans just like me) believe in you. We love you. We love watching you play. And we love having you on the team. See you in the Spring!


    Good luck with winter ball, too! Im more than sure that you will be absolutely fine. 🙂

  43. Hannah

    Brandon –
    Its been a pleasure watching you this season! You have so much potential and talent, and your hot streaks have been phenomenal. I wish they kept you at 1B, but you are great in the outfield too. Don’t sweat the small stuff, your first year isn’t supposed to be easy! Just think about the incredible fan base you have built up this season; you have already established yourself as an Giant, and literally everyone wants to see you back next. We are all really excited to have you back next year, and I believe you will be a major contributor. Have a great summer in the DR; best wishes to you and your wife, and I hope you guys get some downtime! Here’s hoping you stay in SF for a good, long time. Oh, and my dad and I love the way you wear your socks. He says its “classic” and its just about all you had to do to win him over.
    Stay awkward 🙂
    Love, Hannah
    PS – Thanks for that phenomenal splash hit! That was the last game I went to this season, and I was sitting in the arcade. It was awesome, and it really showed how much raw talent you have. But maybe you should thank me… it did happen about 5 minutes after I bought my first giraffe hat.

  44. joannamac


    It’s been awesome reading your blog this season. I love being able to see the game and the team from a player’s perspective, and to find out more about a player’s experience in the bigs . It’s really cool reading what you’ve got to say. I know you’ll be busy, but I really hope you can blog while in the Dominican Republic. It’d be so cool to hear about the league down there (I don’t really know very much about it). I know your first season had lots of highs and lows, but congratulations on making a great impact on the team and the fans. You are a fantastic player, and I can’t wait to watch you play in the future. Love you Baby Giraffe!


    P.S. I love to watch you last homer of the season, the extremely impressive Splash Hit #60, over and over again. It never gets old. 🙂

  45. obsessivegiantscompulsive

    Thank you Brandon for sharing your thoughts with us this past season, and for the good work you did for the team in the majors. Sure, it didn’t go the way you would have liked it, but I think you have your head on straight and it is just a matter of time before your superior talents make its mark in the majors. Not all can come in and hit a homer off Nolan Ryan like Will Clark did, most are like Matt Williams, who struggled early in his Giants career, but who eventually persevered and stayed in the majors. Not to say you will hit like him – please, if you just hit as Brandon Belt, I think all will be fine. Has the Giants told you anything yet about their plans for you in 2012? Thanks again: have fun, stay safe, in winter league, can’t wait to see you in spring training.

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