Perhaps it is best left to Brian Wilson — who himself falls into the category of “is he fact or fiction?” — to summarize the life and career of the kid who catches his pitches.
Click on the photo at right to see more on Buster Posey.
“It’s like a movie,” said Wilson, the Giants’ closer, “‘The Buster Posey Story,’ or something. But it’s real.”
Indeed, even if there is a bit of Hollywood fantasy in the scenario: grows up on a farm in Georgia at the end of a dirt road; makes the dean’s list at Florida State, where he also is an All-American; marries his high school sweetheart, whom he met in church; is taken fifth overall in the 2008 amateur baseball draft after hitting .467 in college; comes up to the Giants in May 2010 to win the NL Rookie of the Year Award and help the team on its way to its first World Series title since coming West.
Mike Martin, the baseball coach at Florida State, told AOL Fanhouse, “I never heard Buster gripe about anything we did the entire three years he was here.”
Three years in which Martin could be prescient. “Mark my words,” Martin told scouts, according to The New York Times, “he’s Jason Varitek behind the plate and Derek Jeter as a hitter. He gets inside the ball like he’s Jeter, and he runs the show like he’s Varitek. And he cares like both of them do. That’s what you’re getting.”
That’s what the Giants got. What Gerald Dempsey Posey, Buster’s given name — as was his father’s, who also as a kid was called Buster — got was an opportunity. To show his talent. To display his humility.
“Buster might be remembered more for his attitude than his accomplishments,” Florida State assistant athletic trainer Jake Pfeil said.
Posey is a pleasant interview, but not an expansive one. There is a reticence when he’s required to talk about himself, which of course is what everyone wants him to talk about.
In the spring, for lack of something more substantial, reporters even brought up the so-called sophomore jinx, wherein a second-year player stumbles after a brilliant rookie season. Some might have recoiled in anger. Posey was unemotional.
“Yeah,” he said, “I’ve been asked that a lot. I have probably higher expectations for myself than anybody, and that’s usually what I go by. I’ll set some goals for myself. It’s a long season. I’ll just try to take things slow.”
Posey spent part of his offseason in Leesburg, Ga., where he grew up, part in Tallahassee, Fla., where he went to school. He played as much golf as possible.
“It’s one of those sports people really enjoy that they’re not good at,” Posey said, “and I might be one of them.”
He thought about the magical year.
“There were times I woke up in the morning,” Posey said, “and just kind of shook my head and said, ‘We won the World Series.’ It’s great.”
Surely thousands of Giants fans, living vicariously through their team, did the same.
There were moments of reflection. He could go home again, physically and mentally, but he won’t be going back over the same route again professionally.
“What I thought about during the offseason was just how much fun the whole trip was,” Posey said, “and how much it makes you want to grind to get back and be able to do it as much as you can.
“What an experience it was, just getting to the playoffs, winning the division, then winning the whole thing.”
Posey was instilled with a proper work ethic, which was reflected in the classroom — a 3.8 grade-point average in business and finance at Florida State, and No. 5 in his class of 350 at Lee High School — and on the diamond.
“I feel like, if you’re committed to do something,” Posey said previously, “why not do it 100 percent? Let’s say, for example, I’m playing ball, but I decide to slack in school. I feel like that’s going to carry over to baseball, that mentality.
“So I’ve always tried to put my nose down and just give it everything I’ve got whatever it is I’m doing.”
What he’s doing, what’s he’s done, is out of movie script. Right, Brian Wilson?
The San Francisco Examiner will profile a series of Giants players leading up to the season opener against the Dodgers on Thursday.
MARCH 24 - Pitcher Tim Lincecum
MARCH 25 - Outfielder Cody Ross
SUNDAY - First baseman Aubrey Huff
MONDAY - Shortstop Miguel Tejada
TUESDAY - Pitcher Barry Zito
TODAY - Catcher Buster Posey