This really isn’t a slight to Bruce Bochy, so for those that a) love Bochy or b) dislike Brandon Belt, I don’t need the hate mail – that’s what my ex is for. I did however get a kick out of this 2006 article that I found this morning during my pillaging of the interweb’s archives.
Take a gander, snowflakes:
*Retracted* was struggling in early May.
The 23-year-old first baseman hadn’t homered since his second game of the season and his average dipped below .230 thanks to a 1-for-27 run.
Bruce Bochy called *retracted* into the manager’s office. “It’s not where you want to be,” *retracted* said yesterday.
“Bruce told me there were other players who were hot at the time and that I wasn’t. He told me I’d be sitting while I worked on some things . . . but that I wouldn’t be pushed to the back of the dugout.”
*Retracted* had heard the same pitch before. And the result was usually less playing time over an extended period.
So who exactly is “retracted”? Well, since you’re asking, that was newly acquired Padres first baseman, Adrian Gonzalez. AGone, in the midst of his third season (the first two with sporadic playing time in Texas) was struggling to get the job done that so many projected out of the highly ranked prospect. Bruce Bochy was fed up with the eventual slugger just days into his Padres career, a path that oddly resembles that of Brandon Belt.
Gonzalez spending three seasons in AAA, mashing, being called up at 23. Belt spending two seasons in AAA, mashing, being called up at 23. The parallels between the two off the surface are eerie, honestly. Now, that’s not so say Brandon Belt will ever be the player that Gonzalez turned out to be and we certainly know Belt wont finish up the season like the struggling Gonzalez did as he caught fire post All-Star break, but the handling of a struggling, youthful player in a pennant race is a path we’ve seen before with Bochy. Belt’s not the first, hell, Gonzalez wasn’t first (Shane Victorino in San Diego, anybody?) nor will he be the last to get the old school wrath of Boch.
Frustrating as the entire Belt situation is, from his struggles to Bochy’s perceived lack of patience with the youngster, it’s far too early for either side to give up on the other.