7/2/2014 6:40 P.M. ET
For Belt and growing family, home a quiet getaway
Expecting first child soon, Giants slugger opens doors to contemporary ranch
By Mark Newman / MLB.com
Brandon Belt could be back with the Giants as early as this weekend if the soreness in his previously fractured thumb sufficiently goes away. In the meantime, we know more about that other timetable involving him and a much-anticipated home arrival.
Belt and his wife, Haylee, are a couple of months away from the expected arrival of their first child, a boy (aka Baby Baby Giraffe), and let's just say they are happily nesting. They, along with their omnipresent pooch Lilly, are featured in the latest episode of the MLB.com video series Home Field Advantage presented by Coldwell Banker, giving you a virtual tour of their house about an hour east of AT&T Park.
Previous episodes in the series have showcased homes owned by Colby Rasmus, Adam Dunn, Adam Jones, Steve Garvey, Johnny Damon, LaTroy Hawkins, CC Sabathia and Neil Walker, with more coming throughout the season.
"For me, home means a place where I can relax and not have to worry about the stresses of everyday life," Belt said. "I can come home and just be with my family.
"I want our home to be a place that [Haylee] is going to love, because she is here twice as much as I am. I'm just here to be lazy and lounge around until I get to the baseball field."
That family is expected to grow by one in September, during what could be another big postseason bid by the Giants. They moved after last season into a contemporary ranch across the Bay Bridge (and then some) with a three-car garage and fenced-in yard out back.
"Our lives are gonna change in a huge way in September," Belt said. "My wife's pregnant, so we're having our first kid. That's another reason why we wanted to live out here as well. We just have more space. We're not sharing walls with anybody. We just have our own place to go, where we can be our family."
The couple met in high school in Lufkin (pop. 36,009), a town in East Texas just inside the state line, and they said that "small-town" past is another of several reasons they have chosen a home lifestyle outside of San Francisco.
"Last year, our home was in the city, in San Francisco," Belt said. "It was great, we love the city, it's an awesome place to be. But the city home kind of didn't really do it for us. A home, to me, is a place to get away from it all. So from that standpoint, we wanted to get out away from the city, where it's quiet.
"Obviously, it's real quiet out here. We just have room to breathe. So for us, it's a lot better out here. ... It's more of what we're used to. That's what we liked here."
Haylee cited the climate as well: "It's like 20 degrees warmer out here than in the city. We're not very fond of the cold. We like it out here."
Finally, there is the dog. If you read Brandon and Brandon -- one of the most popular baseball blogs in the MLB.com community, authored by Belt and Brandon Crawford, where Belt announced impending fatherhood -- then you know about Lilly. Haylee guest-blogged that Lilly is a Heinz 57, probably beagle and dachshund mix. In the video, she says the yard is "one of the main reasons why we also chose to live outside of the city ... because she loves to be outside and run around."
"The thing that makes this our home the most to me is the fact that we have our dog around," Brandon said. "I know that sounds kind of crazy, but we hadn't had our dog the past few years. We left her at home, because we lived in apartments, and we learned from the first year that she does not do well in apartments. So once we got out here and were able to bring her and just come sit outside and hang out with our dog and lounge around and do all that stuff, more than I guess any personal possession we could bring, that's what makes it home to me."
"She's like our child right now," Haylee added. "We'll see when September comes if that changes."
As one might expect, giraffes play a role inside the house. Right there on what Belt calls the "sit-stuff-here area" is a stuffed giraffe given to him as a birthday present in April. You most likely know the story. But he explains the giraffe origin in the video as well.
"When I was a rookie with the team, in 2011, I was playing the outfield, which I don't usually play a whole lot," Belt said. "They hit a fly ball to me. In Milwaukee, they have lights that go all the way around the stadium. So the ball got caught up in the lights, and I could not see where the ball was. I'm moving around, I'm trying to just figure out how to get this ball out of the lights. And in doing so, I kind of made myself look like a newborn animal, or a baby giraffe, which is what [Giants announcer Duane] Kuiper called me on TV, so that kind of stuck with me ever since.
"I think the fans like it quite a bit. They love it. Every now and then a fan will give me some stuff."
And now they are making room for a Baby Baby Giraffe. They think this is the perfect home for him, and you can see for yourself.
"I'm hoping we bring the baby home and we just know everything," Haylee said. "That's what I've heard -- it comes to you naturally."
Brandon smiles. "We'll see," he said.