Brandon Belt Beats LA
Brandon Belt wasn’t officially a Giant when he was called up from Fresno. No, he became a Giant when he singlehandedly beat LA, which really should be a rite of passage if you want to win over the hometown fans quickly. After homering with two strikes on him in his first at-bat back from purgatory, he topped off his night with a nice clean bases-loaded double off of a tough lefty in Hong Chi Kuo.
If there was ever a time to get excited over a small sample size, tonight would be the night to irrationally extrapolate. Based on Belt’s two hits tonight, I’d say he looks infinitely more relaxed at the plate right now when you compare to his first call-up. I swear there’s a logical corner of my brain that is screaming at me about basing my assessment of Belt’s readiness on just one game and four at-bats, but I’m so starved to see a productive hitter at this point that I’m willing to silence that voice, if not just for a little while.
Putting a damper on the party though is Bruce Bochy, who clearly is not in his right mind (this comes per Andrew Baggarly):
Is Huff, for all his empty at-bats, still Bochy’s everyday first baseman? “Oh yeah,” Bochy said. “That hasn’t changed.”
Come again? The fact that there seems to be a serious argument for Aubrey Huff, he of the .232/.286/.359 line, to be the everyday first baseman over Belt seems ludicrous at the very least. When the front office insisted that Belt wouldn’t be called up until he was guaranteed regular at-bats, this was not what I envisioned. I love Huff just as much as the next Giants fan who remembers his 2010 season, but a team can’t run on nostalgia alone. There comes a point where feelings may need to be hurt in order to field the best possible team that we can have.
All that drama aside, it’s always satisfying to beat the Dodgers, even if they are bankrupt, wallowing in the cellar, and the sad-sacks of Major League baseball. At the same time, the state of their franchise, while cathartic to nth degree, still takes away from what makes this rivalry so great. Part of what makes the atmosphere electric when the Dodgers come to town is the fact that there’s more to lose than just pride.
The idea of hoping for the Dodgers to be successful puts me in a very dark place, don’t get me wrong. But right now, the Dodgers collectively represent the nerdy kid on the playground who gets loses his milk money on a daily basis (and in their case follows this by declaring Chapter 11). Call it a faint glimmer of pity, although this faint glimmer fades after I remember how much I enjoy beating the Dodgers. Then I go back and watch replays of the 2010 postseason and I don’t feel bad about anything anymore.