San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy has informed first baseman Brandon Belt that he would like the young player to start wearing big boy pants. Belt, not so long ago a very highly touted prospect, has struggled this season. He’s hitting .230/.340/.374, numbers that translate roughly to league average (98 wRC+), but which are severely lacking in power, especially if Belt is to man first base where standards of offensive output are much higher. Belt himself claims that the crux of his issues at the plate are mental, saying, “I’ve got to get my mind right. Once I do that, the rest will take care of itself.” Bruce Bochy doesn’t dispute the veracity of this statement, and he has a solution for Belt’s woes. The solution? Big boy pants, of course.
Bochy made this statement recently on a popular sports talk radio program.”This is a humbling game,” he said. “But at the same time, you’ve got to put your big boy pants on and go out there and keep going, keep pushing.” When asked what type of pants would help out the most, Bochy replied, “Something comfortable, something with a bit of room to move around in. Maybe a nice dungaree, or a fleece-lined work trouser of some sort.” When pressed, Bochy grew impatient, saying, “Oh, I don’t know, Brandon can make that decision for himself, that’s part of what being a big boy is all about.” When asked specifically why the pants needed to be of the big boy variety, rather than something more age appropriate for the 24-year-old, Bochy answered, “They need to be big boy. That’s what this is all about. There needs to be an attitude that comes along with them, these pants need to have seen a thing or two in their day. They need to be big boy. That is not negotiable.”
The Giants manager became coy when presented with certain topics during the interview. He declined to comment on Belt’s past demotions to AAA at the first signs of struggle, the many recent trade rumors, or the toll splitting time between first base and the outfield had on his young batsman. Bochy was reminded of his assertion in the media that a teammate of Belt’s was the preferable hitter, this, despite all statistical evidence pointing to the contrary. “I haven’t seen those numbers,” Bochy said, “and that’s as much as I care to elaborate.” When asked about his tendency to pull Belt from the lineup late in games, sometimes in favor of less talented pinch hitters, Bochy bristled and requested that the conversation return to pants, lest the interview come to a premature end.
When asked what size of pants Belt should be expected to wear, Bochy was specific. “He looks to me like he probably wears about a 34 right now. I’d like him to go a little more big boy, maybe ramp that up to a 36 or even a 38. He needs room to grow, and the extra material is only going to help with padding when he’s spending so much time on the bench.” At the mention of veteran Aubrey Huff, currently on the DL with a right knee sprain, the manager was enthusiastic. “Now there’s a guy who knows how to wear a pair of pants, how to put his experience to good use. He’s total big boy. He’s big boy all the way.”
There was no word on whether any jokes involving wordplay between pants and Brandon Belt’s last name were funny or not.