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That one time I thought Brandon Belt had died

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It was Game 1 of the NLDS.

Division Series - Cincinnati Reds v San Francisco Giants - Game One Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

“McDeep Dive” is our new series that spotlights one Giants player every day for a week. We’ll move backwards and forwards through time, look at on the field stuff, off the field stuff, and see if we can learn something new about them. Here’s part 5 of our look at Brandon Belt.

The Giants had no business winning the 2012 NLDS, but it didn’t feel that way immediately. In the first inning of the first game, there was still a great deal of hope and enthusiasm, heightened to an almost religious fervor after Brandon Belt came away from this play alive and well and with the ball still in his glove:

Here it is again in excruciatingly slow motion. So slow that it drains all the drama and interest out of the moment:

This was only the second out of the game!

I was there, and from my vantage point (third deck on the third base side), it honestly looked like Brandon Belt had died. The giraffe had left his feet, flipped upside down and disappeared into that seating well. I watched his entire enormous body vanish. There was no way he could’ve survived the fall.

That 2012 season had been the beginning of the Belt Wars, and I thought our side had lost by way of our cause expiring suddenly and tragically. After everything he’d been through, he’d be out for who knows how long all because he busted his ass for ungrateful fans. Or he’d just be gone and we’d be left to wonder what might have been.

Instead, he was fine. Unscathed, even. The Giants, of course, were not so lucky for the rest of that game and all through the next. But after dropping both at home, they won all three games in Cincinnati, his primary contribution being on defense (he was 0-for-8 with 6 strikeouts over those final 3 games).

After all the injuries he’s sustained in his career — concussions, broken bones, appendicitis — it’s surprising this wasn’t the first of them and the most catastrophic. Maybe Belt just has some sort of energy shield that protects him when he makes plays in the field. An energy shield that disappears in the batter’s box.

In his post-game interview, he remarked:

“I just tried to keep my eye on it as much as possible,” Belt said. “Unfortunately, as I was going to catch it, I just couldn’t keep my momentum from going over the rail.”

“I got a lot of beer on me; that’s about the worst thing that happened. I have a bruise on my butt, but other than that, I’m fine.”

Or maybe a baseball and appendicitis is more dangerous and destructive than concrete.

Phew. We’ve talked about the 2012 NLDS for a long time now and I still haven’t posted this:

latos

There we go.