Aubrey Huff

Coming to terms with the loss of Buster Posey

Haven’t been around much lately on the blog or Twitter. I went to a bachelor party on Wednesday that lasted until after 3 am, and in a related story my sister got married on Saturday up in Humboldt County. So I’ve spent most of the last week hanging out with family, driving, eating and drinking — just not all at the same time, thankfully.

During the bachelor party, I stole glances at the Giants score throughout the evening, including at Bourbon and Branch (horrible spot for a bachelor party, since each drink took roughly 34 minutes to make) when I saw the Giants lost 7-6 in the 12th inning. It wasn’t until I opened up my laptop at 10:30 the next morning that I saw Buster Posey’s ankle was put through the wood chipper from Fargo the night before.

I still haven’t seen a replay of the collision.

In my woozy state on Thursday morning, I didn’t think I could handle it. Then I drove for five hours and spent every waking moment with family for about 60 straight hours, hearing about the injury from everyone who’d seen it, and I figured I got the gist. Plus, the whole idea of a rule change seems kind of far-fetched. They can fine or suspend guys who smash into catchers unnecessarily (if the catcher isn’t blocking the plate or the guy getting run over isn’t A.J. Pierzynski), but the real issue is how the loss of Posey for presumably the rest of the season will affect a team with a ridiculously good pitching staff and an embarrassingly bad offense, and to a lesser extent a group of fans that’s in the middle of a pretty impressive sellout streak. For everyone mentioned, Posey’s loss is going to hurt. Not as badly as Posey’s ankle did that night, but the pain’s still palpable.

Some Arizona Diamondbacks fans are quite fine with the loss of Posey. A little too fine, unless you’re a crass SB Nation “Manager” named Jim McLennan, who wrote a story for AZ Snakepit called “Buster Posey and Schadenfreude.” Okay, I lied about hanging out with family for 60 hours straight. I had to work remotely on Friday for my day job, and in between answering emails I checked out this guy’s jealous rantings and had to comment. Then we went back and forth for a while, before he turned off the comments on that post and deleted several that painted him in a bad light (no hate speech, no profanity, simply logic that made him look like an illogical, barbaric jerk). Sort of like when that John Steigerwald post about how fans can avoid ending up like Bryan Stow if they’d just stop wearing jerseys to games got taken down by whatever rag newspaper in Pittsburgh that printed it in the first place, it’s tough these days to hold strong to a completely ridiculous, vile argument unless a huge media conglomerate has your back.

Anyway, the Giants’ offense is horrible, and even a near power-free Posey was the best hitter on the team before DeMarcus Scott Cousins became a part of Giants lore for all the wrong reasons. Aubrey Huff has been so bad this year I’m beginning to wonder if my earlier optimism was completely misguided. I’m sure Splashing Pumpkins thinks it was.

It doesn’t make sense to harp on the issue and write obvious statements like, “It’s a real shame we won’t get to watch Posey play.” But he was either saddled with an inordinate amount of bad catcher-luck this season or it’s simply too dangerous a position for the Giants’ best hitter. People worried he’d become Mike Matheny and have his brain turn to mush; now they’re worried he’ll turn into Ray Fosse and never fulfill his potential, leading the Giants to feel guilty and allow him to be a mediocre, bitter color analyst after his playing days are over.

There’s a hole on this team, one felt more in the lineup than behind the plate. Posey’s determined to come back and catch, and that’s honorable. And the Giants will probably let him (at least until his first official concussion), because he’s a great catcher. But the toughest thing about this injury — besides the realization that the Giants have a much better chance of not repeating as they do of staging another parade this November — is that everyone from the front office to the fans has been looking forward to watching Posey play for a decade-plus, and in baseball that isn’t guaranteed. It isn’t guaranteed no matter the position, but Posey’s position puts him in the highest danger possible. Now that it’s proven Posey’s human, the same odd combination of feelings one used to have while watching him (anticipation and relaxation) are gone. That’s what Cousins took away from the Giants, and everyone who cares for the Giants more than some unnamed team with consistently heinous uniforms and a pool for their fans to pee in while the games are being played.

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