Remember in the old days when people used to talk about baseball during baseball postgame shows? Those were good times.
In lieu of the April Fool’s joke that is instant replay currently sweeping Giants’ nation, let’s rewind 24 hours to a postgame conversation that was worth having — Buster Posey’s majestic two-run blast Monday to cap an epic opening-day comeback.
Sure, the distance of Posey’s home run that drilled the facing of the second deck at Arizona’s Chase Field was awe-inspiring. But even more impressive was how he hit it. There’s a reason guys win MVP awards in the big leagues. And during that fateful ninth-inning at bat Monday night, Posey showed the combination of pure baseball ability and sensibility that were the foundation of his MVP performance in 2012.
Posey had never before faced Arizona’s new closer Addison Reed. But with the fireballing right-hander just into the game to start the ninth, Posey seized the full benefit of seeing Reed work to Angel Pagan, Brandon Belt and Pablo Sandoval before him. During those three at bats, Reed threw six fastballs, each of them of the four-seem variety, each of them with the same lazy right-to-left cut.
With one on and two outs Posey spit on a slider to open his pivotal at bat. Then when Reed tried to ice down base-runner Brandon Belt by holding too long in the set position, Posey called time out. And with Reed noticeably rattled, Posey checked back into the batter’s box and overtly crowded the plate.
Reed took the bait and attempted to pound the inside corner with 92 mph heat. But Posey was looking for it and went with the natural front-door cut to do what great players do — smelling victory and taking over to seal a win — straight from Pg. 28 of the MVP handbook.
Seeing Posey fresh, raring and ready to go to start the 2014 season is an inspiring sight. As many Giants fans know, when all is right with Posey, he is one of the best — perhaps ever. He may just be the closest thing we’ll ever see to rekindling the talents of Willie Mays in the modern baseball era. So enjoy it, because with Posey being a catcher, the boyish vigor of the fully healthy legend in the making could be altered at any time by any one of a number of future foul tips that will inevitably take their toll on his arms, legs and head over the course of the season.
But while Giants fans scratch their heads in wondering what the heck has happened to the team’s starting pitching dominance over the first two games of the season, consider this: Sure, Madison Bumgarner and Matt Cain each lived high in the strike zone against a dangerous Diamondbacks lineup. In challenging hitters to put the ball in play, however, the Giants may just be winning the battle in that they are preserving the incomparable play of their invaluable catcher.