July 2011

Lessons and More Lessons – Brandon Belt

First I have to tell you how happy I am to be back in San Francisco. I really didn’t think I’d be here until September call-ups. So Haylee and I were just about to give up our lease on our San Francisco apartment when I found out we’d need it immediately.

One thing I’ve learned from both Triple A and the big club: This game yanks you up and down with such frequency and force that you basically live with a perennial case of mental whiplash. One day you’re on top of the world, and the next day you’re sitting in front of your locker with your head in your hands.

That’s where I was today, in front of my locker with my head in my hands.

But before we get to that, this has been my whiplash week so far.

On Monday, I struck out four times in five at-bats for Triple A Fresno. Why did I strike out four times? I couldn’t even begin to explain it to you. I felt fine. My mechanics felt great. I just kept fouling off balls, getting behind in the count then striking out.

After the game, I just wanted to get away from the field as soon as possible. I was angry at myself and wondering, “What just happened?’’

On Tuesday, I was unexpectedly called up to San Francisco, and I wanted to show that Monday’s game was a fluke and that I still had confidence at the plate. And

I hit a home run and a double, helping to beat the Dodgers.

On Wednesday, with the Dodgers up 1-0, I struck out with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.

What’s gnawing at me today is that I let the first two pitches go. They didn’t look like strikes to me. One looked low and one looked outside. The umpire had a different idea of where the strike zone was. He called both strikes. I guess I’m still learning how to adjust to each umpire’s zone. I need to learn how to cover more of the plate so, when you’re fighting for your life in the bottom of the ninth, I can at least put the ball in play.

It’s a frustrating thing, and something that comes with the territory, I guess, in the big leagues. And when a major-league pitcher knows an umpire is calling an outside strike or a low strike, he has the ability to keep hitting that spot. You don’t see that as much in the minors. So I’ll talk to our hitting coach, Bam-Bam Meulens. I have to figure this out as soon as possible or I’ll be left behind.

On a happier note from today, I stretched what should probably have been an infield out into a double. My mindset is to be aggressive. Period. If I see the outfielders not running after the ball as fast as they should because they don’t think I’m going to go, the chances are I’m going to go. The outfielder didn’t look like he was running full speed to the ball, so I just took advantage of it.

I can’t explain baseball sometimes.