Spander: Giants rookie busting out in a big way 

We’re already down to a first-name only basis: “Buster.” That’s enough. For the Giants, for their fans, that’s plenty.

They’ve been waiting for this, waiting for a player like Buster Posey, a player who’s their own, a player who evokes memories even as he presents possibilities.

Maybe not the next Willie Mays. There’s not going to be a next Willie Mays. Or another Willie McCovey, who 51 years ago burst into the majors even more dramatically than Posey. Maybe not even another Will Clark, who with the first swing he took in the bigs drove a Nolan Ryan fastball into the seats of the Houston Astrodome.

But Gerald Demp Posey, and that’s the last time he’ll be referred to that way, already has established his own identity, already made the front office look as brilliant as Einstein.

They told us this kid was going to be great. And he is going to be great. This kid already is great.

“He’s the guy,” said Giants announcer Mike Krukow. Simple. Direct. All-inclusive.

He’s the guy who is in the midst of a 20-game hitting streak, second-longest for a Giants rookie to McCovey’s 22 in a row back in 1959.

He’s the guy who Monday night had half a dozen TV cameras focusing on him in the dugout at AT&T, the Bay Area media well aware of the unfolding story.

He’s the guy who makes the future as tantalizing as a three-cheese pizza.

“Buster,” said Giants manager Bruce Bochy, “what a job he’s done.”

Pablo Sandoval was the instigator last year, creating an aura with the Panda hats that has gained him a niche. The pitching staff, the Big Five if you will, Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Barry Zito, Jonathan Sanchez and Madison Bumgarner, is the strength of the franchise. But Buster has people believing.

“He’s got discipline at the plate,” said Bochy. “One of those swings that the bat stays in the zone a long time. To have him doing what he’s doing, well, it’s nice to have a catcher hitting cleanup for you.”

What’s significant is to have a player getting attention for you, a player who’s out there every day, a player whose career didn’t begin in Pittsburgh or Florida, but with the San Francisco Giants.

A player who while impressing others acts unimpressed with himself, saying, “The way I look at it, it’s still baseball, and you try to have fun playing the game.”

A player whose exploits, mainly the hitting streak, make every at bat an adventure, the way it was when Barry Bonds was still in uniform and in the headlines.

When the virtually incomparable Mays broke in with the New York Giants in 1951, the team’s publicist at the time, Garry Schumacher was awed.

“We got to take care of this kid,” Schumacher said of Mays. “We got to make sure he gets into no trouble, because, well, I’m not saying he’s going to win pennants by himself, but he’s the guy who’ll have us eating strawberries in the wintertime.”

The Giants won their last World Series in 1954 as the New York Giants with Mays. It’s not absurd to think they might finally win another with Buster Posey.

As Mike Krukow so correctly pointed out, he’s the guy.

Art Spander has been covering Bay Area sports since 1965 and also writes on www.artspander.com and www.realclearsports.com. E-mail him at typoes@aol.com.

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