Spoiled Brat Sports Fan Syndrome is a serious condition. It’s been around for centuries, but it received national attention when the Yankees won the World Series in 2009. An episode of "60 Minutes" aired clinical footage of sufferers complaining that it had been almost ten years since the Yankees had won it all. The nation responded with an outpouring of sympathy and recommendations that ranged from euthanasia to detailed instructions for self-gratification. It was heartbreaking.
San Francisco is definitely one of the hotbeds for the affliction. Two of the, oh, ten best quarterbacks to ever play in the NFL were on the 49ers. From 1979 through 1999, the city enjoyed the best quarterbacking in the history of the sport. Sadly, this led to
a bunch of whiny twits an SBSFS epidemic. After Steve Young retired, the area would have settled for one of the twenty best quarterbacks ever, but only if they had to. Anyone less would be treated like a combination of Pol Pot and Rick Mirer, except for Rick Mirer, who was treated like a combination of Rick Mirer and Rick Mirer. It’s a sad sight.
The Giants fanbase is at risk.First, young pitchers aren’t supposed to come up from the minors and contribute right away without prolonged struggles. Maybe one, sure, but certainly not two or three. Last year, the Giants won the World Series1 on the backs of three first-rounders who were above-average major league pitchers as soon as they arrived. That has to annoy just about every team in the league. Yet it’s become an expectation. Woe be to Zack Wheeler if he doesn’t arrive in the majors fully formed and dominant. That has serious SBSFS potential.
The real risk area is with Buster Posey, though. It’s so, so hard not to take him for granted. He showed up, introduced himself to the clubhouse attendants, carried the offense for a while, commandeered a pitching staff that produced one of the greatest stretches of pitching in the history of the sport, and helped win a championship for a franchise that hadn’t done so since the ‘50s. Good show, Buster. Boffo of a first impression, sport. So, um, what’s next? We’ll wait here patiently while you try to top that.
He didn’t just arrive and win a championship and Rookie of the Year – he did so with a quiet, steely grace that old timers won’t even be able to embellish in fifty years. Whatever uphill-both-ways story they could concoct would pale next to what actually happened. Heck, I’ve already raised $50,000 in donations for Posey’s gubernatorial campaign, and he isn’t even running for everything.
Imagine if Brandon Belt wins the Rookie of the Year award this year and hits .304 for a team that loses in the World Series. Gee, that’d be cute. But it would be what the Romans called Hagarius Prae Quam -- literally, a "Hagar Comparison." Good effort, but go away, look what the last guy did, and try harder.
How can Posey keep us from being spoiled? How can this get better? Is this as good as it gets?
It’s silly to predict an average that high for any non-Ichiro in the game, but then Buster Posey brings out the silly in a lot of us. After decades of watching the Dante Powells and Calvin Murrays crash and burn, and after decades of watching the Giants lose in the postseason in a horrific manner, a guy showed up and broke both curses at the same time. Drove a stake right through the hearts of those curses. Buried them in coffins, but not before he tinkled holy water on them. Also of note: Buster Posey’s kidneys excrete holy water.