“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 1 of our look at Brandon Belt.
We chose this week’s subject, Brandon Belt, because he is going to be the focus of a lot of our energy this week anyway, as he has been named one of the candidates for this year’s All Star Game Final Vote.
This is nothing new for Belt. In fact, two years ago to the day that this was announced (yesterday), Belt won this very same vote and was named an All Star for the first time in his career.
You might remember the intensity of the voting, the sheer amount of votes provided by individuals. There was an option to text in votes and, friends, we did. In large numbers. And on the final day, they allowed tweet votes with the hashtags. I lost many followers that day and I wasn’t even at home. I had scheduled them in advance because I was on my way to the ballpark.
It was on the ferry that I found out the good news, that Belt had won the vote. I, of course, was wearing my Belt shirsey and hat, and received many high fives on the ferry.
Belt, on the other hand, was at a restaurant with his wife:
Belt, wife were dining when they got news. She burst into tears. "I told her, 'We've got to leave. Can't have you crying in a restaurant."— Henry Schulman (@hankschulman) July 8, 2016
All kidding aside, Belt went on to write a thank you letter to the fans and most importantly, his wife. Saying that he wouldn’t be where he is without her.
It’s not easy being a baseball player’s wife. It’s not like she can do whatever she wants. She’s working constantly, getting everything ready when we travel, organizing our moves, renting houses, doing charity stuff, putting up with me when things aren’t going well. Everything. She makes sure I don’t have to worry about anything off the field.
This is a very public job, and I know how tough it was for her to read and see some of the mean things people said about me over the years. It hurts her. I don’t think everybody can put up with that. I really don’t. But she’s strong, mentally strong. She can take a lot of crap and come out on the other side, looking even better than before.
I think that’s one of the things that gets ignored by angry fans on the internet. The players will see it, so will their loved ones. People make jokes about players and their families vanity searching on social media, but we forget sometimes that they are real people with lives that extend beyond the baseball field. With lives that include family members who love them and have sacrificed so much for them to be able to accomplish their goals and make their dreams come true. Of course they’re reading everything.
The night Belt was announced as the winner of the Final Vote in 2016, the energy at the ballpark was electric. The Giants had a video recording of Belt with his thanks for the fans and the Giants won 6-2 against the Diamondbacks — a team they had struggled against at home that season.
One thing people may not remember about that game is that Belt walked four times. He was officially 1-for-1 and got on base in all five plate appearances.
Sure, the dingers are nice and he’s good at those too. That’s likely what keeps getting him what little national recognition that he gets. However, I felt like nothing quite encapsulates what makes Brandon Belt such a valuable player more than what he did that night.
He has a great eye, and he will find a way to get on base. And though home runs are fun and important, getting on base is just as important. You can’t hit a home run in every plate appearance, but you can try to get on base and set the table for the rest of your offense to continue the rally. And that is something Belt is very good at.
The Giants went on to sweep the Diamondbacks that weekend and send their All-Stars to San Diego with a smile on their faces.
Unfortunately, Belt would go on to miss most of the All Star festivities that year due to illness. This is why a lot of people, including Belt himself, really want to get him in again this year so he can have a chance to fully participate.
Belt has had a lot of hard luck in his career, as I’ve detailed before, and that doesn’t even include his concussions. It’s the least we can do for a player who has given so much for us, including his health.
So, naturally, I will close with the link to vote: https://www.mlb.com/all-star/final-vote