There was nothing caught in my throat when Dave Fleming began wailing about Buster Posey 1:55 am local time Wednesday night. “And Posey,” Fleming attached a fermata to the “e” sound in the catcher’s last name. “Posey is down. And this is not good.”
I was distracted. What was not good was that the go-ahead run had just scored. What was not good was when four run ninth inning rallies felt hollow when walk-off wins were not also included. What was not good was that it was early Thursday morning and the broadcasters were hollering “Posey! Posey!”, Twitter was trending Buster, and the catcher’s collision had silenced the sellout crowd but the only truth I knew was that we lost the game.
I had already been irritated that night when MLB had accused me of overusing my email and password combo, forbidding me from hearing Ryan Howard hit the game winning sac-fly in the 19th inning and then I became irate when it realized that the implications of this would also forbid me from cheering Huff as he drove in the tying runs. After whisper-shrieking to my mother through the phone to turn on the game and shove her cell phone adjacent to the radio speakers (I missed the entire rally,) I had tried to calm myself down. Phone on my chest, volume maxed out, the tenth and eleventh innings passed without incident. I masochistically craved a game longer than the Phillies-Reds spectacle, even if it meant a 4 am bedtime.
And then there was a bump in the night. And a run. And my frustration bubbled over and sulking about a Giants loss, I attempted sweet dreams.
Part of the reason why they didn’t come quickly and easily that night was my befuddlement over my non-reaction to Posey. I wasn’t wiping saltwater out of my eyes or kicking the bedframe or pulling World Series posters off my wall. I wasn’t conceding the season or rendering the F-word meaningless through endless repetition. My reaction was seemingly eerily identical to Mike Fontenot and Darren Ford’s injuries of the past 24 hours.
In other words, a jaded “what the hell?!” and then a tired “of course” and then another realization that Krukow’s declaration of Giants baseball’s torturous fabric was still not as much of a description as it was a prophecy. Whatever. It sucked. Welcome back Bengie.
It was still as bizarre the next day, however, when KNBR morning host Murph expressed how the entire San Francisco Bay Area was weeping about this, how there had been Pandoval’s injury, but how that was startling insignificant to rough and tumble and thrash and crash and home plate, how there it’s Buster Posey, and I wasn’t getting it and I couldn’t see why.
I went back to the furthest recesses of Posey and Morgan history. Posey, of course, had gotten called up in 2009, had struck out, and been heralded and relatively unremarkable but he had hype and he had game and all throughout the off-season webbies bitched about Bengie Molina’s lack of speed and plate discipline and clean-up hitter abilities and then it continued into April and May and then all of a sudden Molina was on the Rangers and Posey was catching a reluctant Lincecum.
I went to a measly two games last year. World Series year I saw a routine Giants loss to the Padres and the start against the Phillies that earned Sanchez the number two position in the post-season roster. In my sole venture to AT&T Park I had no recollection of Posey starting (he didn’t) at the game at home. He did have two RBIs in the Phillies game which embarrassingly enough did not emblazon itself in my memory…because, come to think of it, I arrived in the third—two frames after Posey had driven in those two runs. (Thank you Yahoo! Sports for your box score vault.)
In other words, my personal experience with Buster…Well there had been nothing personal and there were few experiences. I doubted that it was necessary to have seen a player in the Technicolor of real life to have affinity or antipathy for him; the fact that many players’ names had become substitute celebratory or curse words seemed to demonstrate otherwise. It did, though, seem tied to the fact that the 2010 season was my first long distance relationship with a team lasting the entire season. I listened to a historically low number of games on the radio, slept before the seventh inning and ignored them for ten days in Barcelona (yes, the ten days that the Padres lost ten in a row.)
Two types of players had an advantage in this odd year of fandom. First, were veterans. Years, rather than months in the Orange and Black. Time counted.
The other category was composed of the oddballs. Like those with bizarre lingerie fetishes or unwanted Marlin castoffs turned NLCS’ MVPs who threw reasons to love them out like a World Series confetti celebration. These were excellent antidotes to their lacking previous seasons spent on the squad.
Poor Posey. Affable. Genial. Thoughtful. Focused. Diligent. Young. Rookie. Ironically, many of the same ingredients of my beloved Matt Cain whose clichéd and bland interview responses, demure walk back to the mound, and his flowerless and flashless face and frame didn’t elicit the applause of peculiarity that Wilson and Lincecum glimmered with effortlessly. And yet I loved Cain more than anyone else.
I scribbled this entry out of curiosity. Why was I not up in arms after I watched the three minute highlight reel of Cousins bouldering into the beloved player? What was wrong about me as a fan that could not mourn a season-ending injury of my team’s best hitter with more than shock and awe? Where was my devastation? Where was my anger? Where was my love?
It is there. It is small. It needs cultivation. It needs at-bats, seasons, memories and DL stints. But it is there.