The end of the Belt Wars

Jason O. Watson

At long last. This is what peace feels like.

I'm not sure if you know or care, but I generally stay away from the swearing on the front page. In the comments, I let fly, and in real life I'm quite the potty-mouth. But on the front page, I don't like to use the cuss words unless there's a mighty good reason. According to a quick search, there have been 23 f-bombs used in articles here over the last eight seasons. Nine of them were from jponry in overflow gamethreads. One was from Jeff Sullivan's only contribution to the site because he is undisciplined and awful. That leaves 13 from me, and most of those were in overflow threads.

One of them came in this thread about Brandon Belt getting jerked around. Using the f-word in that image was the only thing that made creative, emotional, and editorial sense. Asterisks, grawlixes, or family-safe words wouldn't have worked. It had to be all-in. That's how strongly I felt about Belt getting jerked around.

This was two years ago. Almost to the day. Two years ago, emotions were running that high with the Belt Wars. It's been a long two years

Now we're here. The treaties have been signed. Talks of reconstruction have begun. The Belt Wars are … I think they're … mostly over. Belt has two hits in each of the last four games. No one even has to bring it up, though. It's not even surprising that he's doing this well. He's just a player now. A player whose lineup spot you kind of look forward to throughout the game. No big deal.

On July 28 of this season, Belt went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts against the Cubs. The night before, he was 0-for-3 and made the game-losing error with two outs in the ninth inning. Anti-Belt guerrillas had us surrounded. They were in the trees, in the trenches, lobbing homemade Illogictov cocktails, poisoning our water supply. On July 29, people were openly wondering if Belt was going to be traded for Bud Norris.

The story goes that Belt finally listened to a mechanical adjustment the Giants had been begging him to employ for months, and it worked instantly. That seems a little Cliff Notes for my tastes, but something happened. It should be a while before the guerrillas bother us with their illegible manifestos of slumpy rhetoric again.

Since August 3, when the Giants faced David Price, Belt has started 30 of 32 games. Seven of those starts came against left-handers. Some of them were world-renowned lefties like Gio Gonzalez and Jon Lester. Bochy has stopped the platooning that wasn't a platoon (but was really a platoon). Belt is getting treated like a good player without serious platoon splits, which is what he is.

In the offseason, there's no chance he'l be replaced. If the Giants are truly agog with Jose Abreu's power and potential, maybe there's a slight chance Belt will move to left field. But there aren't going to be discussions about moving Buster Posey to first permanently to get Hector Sanchez's bat in the lineup. There aren't going to be trade rumors.

It's over.

I think it's really over.

In 40 years, Ken Burns will do a documentary on this.

Historian: There was competition, always competition. And Belt had to prove himself over and over again. Which is tricky to do when you're a streaky player.


Historian
: There weren't prospects to replace Belt, per se. But there was always someone threatening to take his job for whatever reason.

I was looking at the Belt post from two years ago because I was out of ideas. I looked back to September of 2011 because I wanted to remember things people following a disappointing team talked about. It turns out that it was Belt. It's Belt all the way down. Except I think we're free. There's no way for a season-ending slump to make this seem like wishful thinking. Nosiree. There's no way that could happen.

Most likely, we've arrived in the Brandon Belt era. He's the unquestioned starter. It took almost three full seasons, in which he's hit .270/.350/.443 with defense in an extreme pitcher's park. But we've finally arrived.

Next year, we exchange gifts.

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