Clearing Up Some Misperceptions – Brandon Belt
I’m going to get right to the point.
One, I have not lost my confidence.
Two, I have no trouble with Bruce Bochy sitting me while I’m struggling.
The manager’s job is to put his best possible lineup on the field every night. Of course he should sit me right now. That’s what’s best for the team. That’s why there are 25 guys on a roster. When one guy is hitting the skids, there’s someone else to pick up the slack.
My dad is a football coach, and I know what he goes through to make the decisions he does. I’ve heard the unfair criticism he has had to weather. So believe me, I’m the last guy in the world who would second-guess my manager. I was really frustrated that some of the stories in the paper suggested that’s what I was doing.
As for confidence: I have zero doubt I will back in the lineup. Zero. Every player in this clubhouse has gone through droughts like I am now, when you can’t do anything right at the plate. It’s part of the game. If you can’t fight through it and come out on the other side, you don’t belong in the big leagues. It’s part of the game.
The media talks about my body language – that it “is pitiful to the point of pathetic,’’ as someone put it. Look at me when I’m going well. I look the same. It goes back to the whole awkward thing. I’m awkward. I slump my shoulders. I walk with my head down. That’s how I’ve always been. But now that I’m going bad, people are reading all kinds of things into it.
Also, if my “lack of confidence is appalling,’’ wouldn’t it be affecting my defense? Wouldn’t I be carrying my failures at the plate onto the field if they were so devastating to me? But my fielding percentage is .996 – the best among all first basemen in the National League.
I’m learning a lot this season, and one lesson is that I shouldn’t talk to the media right after a bad game when I’m feeling really lousy about letting the team down. We lost that game in Philadelphia because of me. I left so many guys on base. I didn’t come through when my team needed me. There is no worse feeling. So when the reporters came up to me right after the game, I said what I was feeling in that moment – and it came out sounding like I didn’t believe in myself.
It was a hard lesson. I now know I should take a few minutes to gather myself before talking. I have to think about the impact of my words. I was so angry with myself when I read the stories in the paper on Monday. I don’t blame the reporters – they printed what I said. But the stories left a completely false impression.
Listen, I’ll get out of this slump. I’ve had slumps in the past. I’ve come out of them every single time. I don’t expect this one to be any different.
I know I have a lot of support from so many people. I appreciate all of it. I’m feeling really good in the cage. I’m working on my timing. When my timing’s messed up, I start guessing at pitches and start missing.
I don’t know when Boch will put me back in the lineup. But when he does, I’ll be ready to help the team.