First let me start off this post by saying HAPPY BIRTHDAY BRANDON! You are now officially in a different decade of your life and I’m happy to be commander-in-chief of the Belt Army into this new chapter in your life.
For those of you who have earned a Croix De Belt Wars pin and have endured the never-ending polarizing battle of how good/bad Brandon Belt is, I’m sure Wednesday night’s game against the Diamondbacks felt pretty good. Belt launched his 100th career home run against Brad Boxberger in Chase Field. IN EXTRA INNINGS. TO WIN THE GAME. And it’s a good thing too because I really needed a new thing to reference for the “Brandon Belt is clutch” narrative.
Listen, I’m sure everyone will still argue about Brandon Belt until he’s an old man eating meatballs at Olive Garden and inspecting the bill with his glasses halfway down the bridge of his nose but you know what? For now I’m going to recount my favorite Brandon Belt home runs from his career.
#5: First Postseason Home Run
I don’t like to play favorites (LOL, yeah I do), but the 2012 postseason will always be one of my all-time favorites. The anxiety of the non-stop elimination games, the clean sweep of the Tigers, and who could forget - the glorious rain showering down on the Giants, specifically Marco Scutaro, is the cherry on top of the sundae.
Because this is one of my favorite games of Giants’ history, I love that Belt got to have a big moment in it. Any home runs that happen in October are big. Home runs that happen in Game 7 in October are even bigger.
With the Giants up 8-0 in the eighth inning, Belt lifted a homer against Cardinals’ Jason Motte for the final run of the game. Although this one technically works against me in the “clutch” argument, I still love it because while all those dorks were jumping up and down on the field celebrating, Belt got to think to himself “I did something! I helped!” Yeah man, that was a good one.
#4: First Career Home Run
There probably aren’t many things more “Giant” than hitting your first home run against that team in Blue from Los Angeles. As one of the most highly touted rookies that year, I swear, I feel like I’ve had anxiety about his ability to live up to his reputation since the minute since he was offered a beer in Bochy’s office (“You need a beer? Grab a beer.”)
Even though he notoriously got sent down to Triple-A on his birthday (c’mon Boch), he gave us some memorable moments before he left. In his first game he had a hit off of Clayton Kershaw (little did we know how rare that would be… ) and the next day, he launched a big-boy dinger off of Chad Billingsley over Matt Kemp’s head in centerfield.
The best part of the home run is watching Belt try to bite the inside of his cheeks and hold back his smile:
No actually, the best part was probably seeing how happy Brandon Belt was before he was mashed into a slumpy-shouldered jaded baseball human after all the haters got to him. Look at this sh*t-eating grin:
#3: First Career Grand Slam
Somehow Belt didn’t hit a grand slam until 2017. The previous salami came in Triple-A in Memphis in 2011. But in true Brandon Belt fashion, not only did he rocket the grand slam off Luis Perdomo in the sixth inning, but he also followed it up with an encore home run in the eighth against lefty Ryan Butcher. Look at those bat drop skills:
Because Statcast became a thing at that time, we know the grand slam went 443 feet in Petco Park with an exit velocity of 106.1 mph. There’s that power that everyone is always longing for. If only he had done this during the Round Table Grand Slam Inning, smh Brandon, you are so selfish.
#2: SPLASH 69! SPLASH 69!
It had to be him. IT HAD TO.
On June 8, 2016, our dreams came true. Splash 69 finally graced the presence of McCovey Cove.
There were so many glorious aspects of Splash 69:
- It tied the game
- Belt’s bat drop
- Belt casually running around the bases blowing a bubble
You get the point.
The only truly terrible part of the whole experience was stupid-dumb-butt-face Denard Span (sorry, I may be projecting) hit Splash 70 just a mere five days later to ruin everything. Splash 69, we hardly knew thee.
Personal anecdote - I happened to have dugout club seats right by the Giants on-deck circle the faithful day of Splash 70. Belt was chilling on-deck when Span launched his worthless home run into the cove and I was close enough to see Brandon’s face. Sheer disappointment and disgust and slight shake of the head. He knew Splash 69 had been squandered and we would never get that back. HERO.
#1: 18th Inning NLDS Game 2 Home Run
We all knew this was coming. I don’t think any this needs any of my commentary. Longest game in MLB postseason history and Brandon Belt comes through with the clutch-iest of clutch hits to end a game that seemed like it would never end.
And the bat drop deserves it’s own museum. Just saying.
Here’s to the next 100 bat drops, Brandon.