If looks could indeed kill, then Brandon Belt of the San Francisco Giants would be long gone. He would have been struck down Saturday night by Buster Posey, in the midst of a ninth inning scoreless tie. Why was the Giants’ catcher unhappy?
Honestly, it doesn’t matter that Posey wanted Belt to hold the runner, Stephen Piscotty, and the first baseman resisted. In any given game there are countless situations that create tension-it’s the nature of the beast. In a game of inches, two feet may as well be two miles.
If you happened to have glanced down at your program, Saturday night, you would have have missed it. The game did not pause so that the moment could be appropriately highlighted and examined. There was so much going on, both on the field and in the stands, who knew?
What we do know from the exercise, is that Buster is captain of the ship. What we also have learned is that the team is better for the disagreement. A good captain runs a tight ship and though Belt is the best since J.T. Snow, he still needs direction.
What was Brandon doing? Who knows? He has to worry about the runner, but he also has to keep track of the batter. What if Belt was simply trying to align himself so as to be in the best defensive position? After all, he is the one who will look bad if a ball gets past him-not Buster.
Again, it goes back to teamwork and individual skills. Every given situation tests each player on so many levels, it defies logic. That’s why these guys get paid big bucks; if they weren’t good, or didn’t care, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.
On Saturday night, when Piscotty managed to steal second, just ahead Posey’s throw, the catcher was livid. He’s a fierce competitor, and though he is low-key on the field, he was having none of it. He had wanted Belt to hold Piscotty closer to first, and the result was a stolen base.
The fact is that the same situation arose Monday night, a runner on first base, but the result was different. Instead of leaving matters to chance, Posey headed out to the mound, where Belt quickly joined him. It was a simple meeting at the mound, but it was also more than that-it was growth.
Giants fans who pay attention might remember a similar situation last May 3rd. The Giants were playing LA, and Belt had failed to score from second, on a Posey single. The camera caught Posey glaring at Belt, and then later, captured an animated discussion between Posey and third base coach, Phil Nevin.
When asked about both of the situations, neither player would elaborate. Both said the same thing, that it was on-field business that would be handled privately. And that is the way it should be handled, by the guy who calls the shots.
Buster Posey is not an apparent leader at first glance. He is not built like a brick outhouse; he is not covered in tats and he does not rock a beard. That being said, he has all the credentials he needs and he wears them on three fingers, when he so chooses.
Brandon Belt has two rings so he’d like a third. Buster can help him to attain that third ring, and Belt knows that. After a hideous start to the season, hitting rock bottom at 12-24, the Giants have rebounded, going 8-3 since then.
During this rough stretch, when San Francisco faces the Cubs, Brewers and Twins, the team has got to stand tall. Standing tall is Buster’s business and Belt knows it. When Buster says, “Play ball with me or I’ll break the bat over your head,” Belt believes him.
That’s why you’ll never hear Belt sniveling about Buster to the media.