Voters charged with selecting the National League’s 2012 Most Valuable Player had to submit their votes before the start of the playoffs, so what Buster Posey did Thursday was, for those who’d already tabbed him as their top choice, merely validation of rather emphatic proportions.
For those who did not name Posey their MVP, well … it likely served as a not-so-subtle, non-verbal admonition along the lines of, “What the hell were you thinking?!?”
The symbolism and symmetry of Posey’s master stroke were as immediately obvious as a swimsuit model in a press box.
Certain things fail to escape notice, and Posey — the rock of this Giants team just a season removed from suffering a career-threatening injury — belting a grand slam off the Giants killer that is/was Mat Latos, to help cap a historic comeback from an 0-and-2-at-home hole in the best-of-five NL Division Series finale at Cincinnati certainly qualifies as such.
Latos, of course, had ridiculously good numbers against San Francisco heading into Game 5, and he’d padded them with a brilliant “relief” stint in Game 1.
You might remember, however, that Latos had surrendered a homer to Posey in that strange Game 1 last weekend, as well as a first-inning homer to Posey during a pivotal September 2010 series in San Diego.
Posey clearly remembered. His third career homer off Latos came on an offering that Posey appeared to be certain was on its way, and as is often the case with truly sublime hitters, Posey demolished what he saw coming a mile away.
That’s not all Posey did in his command performance in Game 5. It included a clutch throw to nail a knucklehead would-be base thief at third base to complete the Giants’ biggest double play of the season. Then came the hairy-as-Sasquatch situation in the ninth, through which Posey coaxed Sergio Romo with multiple mound trips before calling for the pitch that ended the series with a strikeout.
Take charge? Posey did so much more than that. He took complete control in virtually every possible way.
Perhaps now anyone who voted for Andrew McCutchen of Pittsburgh or Ryan Braun of Milwaukee as the NL MVP can see the glaring error of his or her ways.
That’s not to say votes for McCutchen or Braun were half-cocked.
The former is an electric five-tool talent who carried a long-moribund franchise to the brink of relevance with a monster first five months before buckling under the weight.
With numbers similar to those he posted on the way to last year’s MVP, the latter proved, at the very least, that he’s nothing if not consistent.
(Or still really, really good at beating drug tests; your call.)
But let’s get real. The Pirates gagged their shot at snapping a disgustingly long streak of losing seasons in large part because their best player faded down the stretch. Braun killed it down the stretch, but the Brewers missed the playoffs.
All Posey did was, in the wake of the potentially devastating loss of potential NL batting champion Melky Cabrera to a drug suspension, raise his game to the highest level at which we’ve seen it during his short time in the big leagues, claiming that batting title for himself while leading the Giants on a remarkable roll into October and the postseason.
All this, a little more than a year after folks wondered not just if he’d ever be the same, but if he’d ever play again, period.
That’s not just MVP stuff. That’s the stuff of legend.
And as the NLCS wears on, it’ll surely just grow and grow.
Mychael Urban, host of Inside The Bigs (9 a.m.-12 p.m. Saturdays) on 95.7 FM The Game, can be followed on Twitter @BigUrbSports. His website is UrbsUnchained.com.