Barry Bonds won only seven MVPs. That kind of makes the whole award suspect, you know? We probably shouldn't care so much about who wins.
But, yeah, I'd stab a drifter if it would help Buster Posey's candidacy. I haven't felt this strongly about an award since Tim Lincecum's first Cy Young, which was easily the most I've ever cared about the silly things. Well, there was that third-place Ryan Jensen finish that got Giants fans all worked up for a while. Still coming down from that one.
Rooting for a Giants player to win an award usually has to do with being a biased homer. It's true. Jeff Kent was a jackass, but he was our jackass, so I rooted for him in the 2000 MVP race, though I was also rooting for the other jackass just as hard. Kent and Bonds finished 1-2, and the smug balm of rooting for a team with the two best players in the league took a little edge off the postseason burn.
Posey, though. Obviously different. And you know why. It starts with an under-the-radar piece of history: The Giants won the World Series in 2010. Posey was one of the offensive catalysts that helped turn the season around, and his pitcher-whispering was magnificent the entire time. He was a golden god. He was without peer. He was the light and truth of the franchise. He was indestructible. He was … wait, scratch that last one.
Take a gander through what we thought he was going to do in the followup to his Rookie of the Year season:
It was a fanboy's projection, and I don't think I really believed it. But I kind of believed it. I wanted to, at least.
Then it happened. I just watched a bunch of videos on SFGiants.com, looking for something to embed here that didn't actually show the collision. There weren't any. I ended up watching the collision several times, including the collision porn that Showtime foisted on us, with 73 different angles and slow-motion clips. That's a good way to go to a dark place in a hurry. The clawing at the dirt, man. The manic clawing at the dirt.
There was anger and stupidity and fear from all corners for a while, but when that subsided, there was an open question about whether he'd ever catch again.
In essence, Posey had the worst high ankle sprain possible. "Ignore the fractured fibula," said one orthopedic surgeon who works on high profile athletes. "It's the syndesmosis that is going to be very, very tough on him."
I don't even … I think that surgeon made up that word on the spot, and it still scares me over a year-and-a-half later. It was news when Posey took his first steps without a cane. It was big news when Posey caught his first bullpen sessions. There was a pretty good chance that he'd be back next season.
He probably wasn't going to be the same, of course. Not right away, at least. He didn't start running regularly until January. Think about that. That was nine months ago. As such, all of the fanboy required to make the prediction up there needed a little tempering.
That was still wildly optimistic. I set the over/under at games caught at 100, and I thought that was optimistic. I was optimistic because the alternative was too discouraging. Facing harsh truths is never a good option when you can live in a fantasy land. That's what I always say.
Long story short: Buster Posey is having an MVP season. It's not a great season that's getting bonus points for sentimentality and being a good story. He's having a great season, regardless of context, no matter what your stats of choice are. He's not just better than the projections we had at the beginning of the season, he's better than the fanboy projections we made while bathed in the light of the post-Series glow.
He's better than we could have possibly expected. He's also better than just about every player in the National League. The most valuable baseball player in the National League, if you will.
There will be time for arguments about why he should be the MVP, but this is about wanting him to win. I want him to win because it would feel like closure. For Giants fans, sure, but probably for Posey, too. It's the crawl out of the sewers as Morgan Freeman narrates. It's like this:
But I feel like "He missed the entire second season of his career with injury AND THEN…" is just gonna be part of the Legend of Buster Posey in a few decades.
Yeah, that. The MVP would be some sort of external validation, and I'm not sure for what, but I'm kind of obsessed with it now that winning the division is becoming less of a concern. Buster Posey: He's the MVP America needs, and the MVP America deserves. He's also the MVP that I'm rooting for harder than I could have ever imagined.