Programming note: Padres-Giants coverage gets underway tonight at 6:30 p.m. with Giants Pregame Live, and baseball follows from AT&T Park at 7 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area!
Attention Brandon Beltniks: Your guy is not being abused by the Giants. At least no more than Josh Hamilton, and so far, Brandon Belt is so not Josh Hamilton.
And this isnt about Brandon Belt, so calm yourselves before you start building up lactic acid.RELATED: Bochy on Belt: 'He needs a break'
Let us guide you instead to Nolan Ryan, the former major league pitcher who runs the Texas Rangers and as such gets to say pretty whatever the hell he wants to say. This was his analysis of Hamilton, who many people think might be the best player in the game:I think were all seeing the same thing, he said during an interview with a Dallas-area radio station. Youre right that some of his at bats arent very impressive from the standpoint that he doesnt work deep into the count, hes swinging at a lot of bad pitches, he just doesnt seem to be locked in at all. So what youre hoping is that his approach will change and hell start giving quality at bats because theres a lot of those at bats that he just gives away. One of the things Ive always commented on is I cant ever say that I ever saw Henry Hank Aaron give an at bat away.He later went on to add, and tell us when this starts sounding like Bruce Bochy:I dont go down and hang around when (Rangers hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh) works with him in the cage and on the field as far as batting practice is concerned and what theyre trying to accomplish . . . I just dont know where Josh is. Sometimes hitters just get out of sync and it takes them awhile to get their rhythm back and get their swing back. Right now, you cant say, Well, it looks like something with his swing. Hes just not being selective and dug himself a hole that he needs to get out of.This may not exactly be Belts issue, but thats not the point here. The point, if you must be provided with one, you sniveling weasels, is that everyone gets grilled when they hit a dead spot, and Hamilton has hit his share. And if the best outfielder in the game can have a bad stretch and have the boss take the birch to him, then Belt can consider himself relatively fortunate by comparison.The reason: Youre as good as your last 40 at-bats, tops. It doesnt matter who you are or why you are who you are baseball is about yesterday and today, and maybe tomorrow in some special cases.Belt has struggled mightily throughout his brief career for a number of reasons, which Jeopardy Boy Baggarly has and will continue to enumerate for you in his squalid little corner of our Internet home. And some of you have fulminated mightily about those reasons, blaming Bochy for preferring veterans to production, or not wanting to give the lad his chance, or hating Belt because he has a plush toy for sale at Giants stores, or for having too small a cranial size.And by the way, you neednt start in yelling at me about it. I am an agnostic on this topic, so direct your vitriol where it belongs to Jeopardy Boy.This is just to tell you all that before you complain yet again, understand that these are the conditions that have always prevailed in baseball, and always will. Belt has been treated as all young players have when they struggle, because unless youre Derek Jeter or Mariano Rivera, theyre all going to get it at some time or another.And the first solution is for Belt to stop living inside his own head and overthinking every result as though it were time added onto a jail sentence. He should, if nothing else, consider himself lucky that Nolan Ryan isnt his boss. After all, there are kicks in the butt, and then there are kicks in the butt, and Ryan has never been shy about kicking what needs to be kicked.Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com