It’s like losing your best friend for the summer. Sure, it will still be great and you’ll do lots of cool stuff and have a good time. But it just won’t be the same.
With Buster Posey’s injuries likely putting him out for the remainder of the 2011 season this is what the Giants organization, Posey’s team mates, and the Giants fan base have to deal with: the stunning shock of his loss, that feeling of losing your bearings and free-falling, then finding the grit to suck it up and keep moving ahead.
The rest of baseball, and the rest of the country, can’t begin to understand what Buster Posey means to the San Francisco Giants and to Giant fans. On the field he is a rock, directing the best pitching in the game the past year; at the plate he is a dangerous hitter who, when he finds his groove, can dominate a game, a series, a season. Posey batted 3rd in the order throughout the 2010 World Series– the last catcher to do that was Yogi Berra 54 years ago with the New York Yankees.
Since Posey was brought up mid-season last year there has been an ongoing public discussion about whether he should be moved to an infield position to avoid the inevitable wear and tear, injuries, and shortened career that faces virtually every MLB catcher. Throughout April and May this season, Posey has taken an inordinate number of foul tips off his mask, leaving games early twice after particularly bad hits.
Forget about the obvious injuries, the threat of concussion is there every time a batter hits a foul tip. The Minnesota Twins have agonized over the future of their own All Star catcher Joe Mauer, one of the best pure hitters in the game. When an organization has hitters the caliber of Mauer or Posey, the decision to extend their careers by moving them from behind the plate will always be part of the ongoing conversation. The pressure, the second-guessing, and the concern will never go away.
How is Joe Mauer doing this year? He has played in only 9 games this season and is currently on the disabled list with bilateral leg weakness.