Belt best of the Brandons
Published: Saturday, June 23, 2012 at 3:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, June 23, 2012 at 10:02 p.m.
The story of Saturday’s A’s-Giants game was Brandon.
In case you don’t know — and why should you? — five men named Brandon played in the game, two on the Giants and three on the A’s. You might say there was an abundance of Brandons, a surfeit of Brandons, an entire world of Brandons. The Fox broadcast informed viewers that the game set a major-league record for Brandons in a single game.
The most important Brandon, by far, was the Giants’ Brandon Belt, who came into Saturday with a 10-game hitting streak. Considering he hit a single and a two-run, first-pitch-of-the-at-bat homer in the sixth, that streak is now at 11. This is the same Brandon Belt who earlier this season couldn’t hit for power, just plain couldn’t hit and was in danger of watching his major-league career dwindle to nothing.
I had this conversation with him after the game:
“When did things change for you?”
“Probably three weeks ago,” he said. “I started getting in that zone, getting in that mode knowing I could get a hit any time I went up there. It’s one of those things you try and stay in that mode, to get that feeling and I’ve been able to do it so far.”
“Did the feeling overcome you that you are a major-league hitter?”
“It felt like that. It takes a lot of work in the cage. At that time, I wasn’t getting a lot of hits but I was hitting the ball well. You have in your mind, ‘If I keep doing this, they’re eventually going to fall in.’ That’s what’s been happening. I’ve been trying to ride the wave.”
“Before this streak, did you feel vulnerable about your career?”
“That doubt always creeps in. I haven’t had a lot of success up here before right now. So, you question yourself sometimes. ‘Am I good enough to hit up here?’ I always thought I was. I know I can put the bat on the ball, but it just wasn’t happening. So yes, you question yourself at times.”
“Do you no longer question yourself?”
“My confidence is so high, those doubts don’t have any room to creep in. The goal is — I don’t know how long this hitting streak is going to last — if it ends tomorrow, the goal is to keep that confidence and don’t let the doubt creep back in.”
“I imagine it’s a wonderful feeling.”
“It’s a good feeling — you wait your entire life to get here when you can finally perform up here and help the team. Yes, it’s a great feeling. I hope to keep it going.”
Then I changed gears with Belt.
“I’m going to ask a silly question,” I said, “but please bear with me.”
“Are you aware on the field today there were five Brandons?”
“I did not know that. That’s pretty interesting, kind of cool. I don’t know if that’s happened too often.”
“How do you feel about the name Brandon?”
“I love it. It’s a great name. I don’t know why my parents picked it out, but I like the name and it’s done me well my entire life. So, I think I’ll keep it.”
Here are the other Brandons who played: Giants: Brandon Crawford. They also have Brandon Evans, a clubhouse guy. For the A’s: Brandon Inge, third base; Brandon Moss, first base; Brandon Hicks, shortstop. A bonus Brandon — Oakland pitcher Brandon McCarthy — didn’t play.
Brandon Hicks got called up just before the game, prompting A’s manager Bob Melvin to quip, “We were looking for another Brandon and he was the last one left.”
The A’s had created a Brandon gap because they had designated for assignment first baseman Brandon Allen on April 19, and he got claimed by the Rays. Brandon Hicks went hitless his first four at bats in the majors but doubled in the bottom of the ninth when the A’s almost overtook the Giants.
How did the other Brandon’s do?
Brandon Crawford went hitless.
Brandon Inge got three hits, one an RBI single in the scary (from the Giants’ point of view) ninth.
Brandon Moss was a story all by himself. In the sixth inning he made two errors on one play. This you’ll admit is unique. He flubbed a grounder by Pablo Sandoval and, running after the ball, flubbed it again near the mound in the bullpen. Base runners were running all over the place. Later, he dropped a throw from pitcher Tyson Ross on what would have been a simple putout. That means he made three errors in one inning.
He was hitless until the ninth, when he walked to keep the rally going.
At this point, because I am a columnist, I am supposed to put the game into perspective for you. I’m happy to do that. The Giants won because their Brandons — mostly Belt — were better than the A’s Brandons.
Note to major league clubs: You can never have enough Brandons.
For more on the world of sports in general and the Bay Area in particular, go to the Cohn Zohn at cohn.blogs.pressdemocrat.com. You can reach Staff Columnist Lowell Cohn at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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