It was Buster Posey Day on Saturday at AT&T Park as the San Francisco Giants honored their best post-Bonds player. It was a day where he was officially given his 2012 Most Valuable Player Award, joined by past Giant MVPs Jeff Kent, Kevin Mitchell, Willie McCovey and the GOAT Willie Mays, the pageantry was on full display. He was also awarded a ring which commemorated his batting championship from the previous year as well. This was his second addition to his jewelry box of the weekend, as he received his most recent World Series ring as well. He was also given a chance to speak over these accomplishments, which was also truly a spotlight for him to show why everything in the Bay has been a bit better in the post-Bonds days as well.
See, Gerald Dempsey “Buster” Posey is not a man of many words. His commercial spot for the newest “MLB: The Show” video game was probably the most speaking you’ll get out of him for the summer. So he wasn’t given to very many words, or speaking for very long. Aside from thanking his coaches and teammates and waving his hat to the crowd, he was right back to his usual business, and business has been good for him.
While the highlights and the accolades have been frequent for him, he’s rode beneath the wave about as far as possible for man that has proven himself to be the most effective player in baseball over the past three seasons. His impact on both the Giants and baseball as a whole is indisputable; his debut season in 2010 say him win Rookie of the Year and pull the Giants up from a run of the mill National League West club to winning their first World Series since the Polo Grounds back in New York was the team’s home. He followed up that season with another big start, that got ended prematurely when a home plate collision broke his leg and put his future as a catcher in doubt.
It was no coincidence that the champs defense ended basically right there. Without Posey, they finished in second place, eight games out for the division title. But Posey worked himself back into the lineup for Opening Day just a year after his gruesome injury, and back into the same position that he left at. And the results were his finest effort yet: becoming an All-Star Game starter, Comeback Player of the Year, hitting .336 and becoming the first catcher to lead the NL in batting in 66 years, the MVP and a second World Series title in three years.
But for all of this to go on, when baseball is brought up even in a non-casual conversation, there’s a lot of names that come up before Posey’s for the elite ballplayers in baseball; a good number of which haven’t accomplished a quarter of what has. He’s as strong of a marriage of intangibles meeting talent as the game has seen since Derek Jeter burst through and made the Yankees his club from day one. He isn’t exactly the most outgoing and congenial guy, but his teammates love him. His toughness radiates off of him and makes his team what it is. If nobody else sees that, the Giants management surely does, when they handed him $167 million over the next nine years.
Anybody that questions the value in giving a guy that plays the most demanding position in the sport that type of money, despite his injury history and potential to wear down quicker because of it misses the entire point of Posey. He brings in batting titles, but he makes 24 other players much better than they ever were, or maybe ever will be, without him. He’s won two World Series in his only two full seasons, and he’s only 26 years old. The highlights will come, as will the quotes, but don’t count on them from Buster. Just count on the best possible baseball coming from his Midas touch on the game.
I’m a firm believer that the closest I’ve gotten to Heaven is Game 6 of the 2011 World Series. In the meantime til we cross paths again, I’ll pass along the gospel of the Field of Dreams here, Cheap.Seats.Please, I70 Baseball, and ‘Live From The Cheap Seats’.