By the time Barry William Zito hit the ball through the 40-hole it was clear that a magical night was in store for the San Francisco Giants. Buster Posey enchanted the state of Georgia with a marvelous display of his baseballing skills and somehow that very same Barry William Zito pitched like an ace. In Atlanta. Where the Giants never look like a professional baseball team. Against the Braves. A team that looks like they invented the game of Baseball when the Giants come to town.
According to the history books, the Giants were 2-280 in Atlanta coming into tonight's game. They had scored a total of 4 runs in those games. The Braves amassed upwards of 2,000 runs. Again, it was a clear mismatch on paper. The playoffs are a separate animal, of course. The perception and reality is that the Braves don't do too well upon reaching the postseason, and even the Giants have been able to "prove" such a notion.
But, again, perception versus reality. The Giants are never as bad as they look in Atlanta and the Braves are never as amazingtasticTheAvengersmovie-esque as they look against them. Tonight saw a calibration of perception that made it closer to reality. Jair Jurrjens ain't no beast, and the Giants surely put him down. Then again... holy crap, Barry Zito pitched seven shutout innings against Atlanta IN ATLANTA. He didn't just shut them down, he made them look bad. A team that had won seven in a row coming into the game. A team that -- again, and this can't be stressed enough -- had a 1.2100 winning percentage against the Giants at Turner Field... he flopped 82mph high fastchangeups and curve-like breaking balls past a team that should have and ordinarily would have absolutely crushed them. But not tonight. Tonight there was... there was something in the air...
Like 13 Giants hits, including 3 doubles, 2 of which came off the American flagstaff of Buster Posey. Swoooooon.
The perception is that Buster Posey is the greatest human being to ever don the genome and there's very little evidence to disprove that. Sure, his ankle isn't made of adamantium, but he's the peak. Now, perception-wise, that translates to a sort of "god-like" ability anywhere on the baseball diamond. The reality is that Buster Posey is an adequate first baseman but he is far, far, far, far, far, far, far, far, far, far, far, far, far more valuable as a catcher.
Hector Sanchez is far more valuable as a backup than a starter. That's reality. The perception is that he's 2009 Pablo Sandoval.
Brandon Belt is far more valuable as a starter than an injury replacement. That's reality. The perception is that he's blocking Hector Sanchez.
Make of that what you will. That has already been parsed to death. I think I'll come back to this bit in a moment, because I want to talk about Buster Posey just a bit more.
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On July 7, 2010, Buster Posey drove in 6 runs in Milwaukee. He drove in 5 tonight. He is the cleanup hitter in an average lineup. He is one of the best catchers in all of baseball. He is the 2010 Rookie of the Year. He is a playoff hero. He is a survivor. He's not just America, he's the Giants.
No matter what's going on with the rest of the lineup or the starting pitching, when Buster's star emits a solar flare we are in awe. He blinds us to all the other distractions. It's well worth discussing his demigod status in this forum because we are fanatical supporters of an entertainment product. It is important to note the pillars of that fanaticism. Because Buster Posey's heart beats and his talent burns on baseball, we are captivated. He's the rock, the go-to, the constant, the horizon, the thunder-thighed leader we gladly lemming behind.
That's pretty cool, I think, because it means that no matter how stupid the decisions get or how bad the players perform or how completely down to our low expectations the team overall plays, we have this *one* guy through the storm out there every day giving the Giants -- and us -- hope that it won't get *that* bad. And on nights like this where the Giants roll into a muggy, confederate atmosphere, he's The Guy. As much as Barry Zito was The Stopper tonight, Buster Posey was the hero.
Add another page to The Legend of Buster Posey.
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Now let's circle back to perception before I release you all to pollute the comments with overnight flotsam.
There simply is no point in getting caught up in what beat writers say about anything. There's simply no point in getting caught up in what a manager says or contradicts. Yes, in the same breath that I advocate fanaticism I call for rational behavior. We have between certain reporters and a long-term manager a very strong pattern of behavior that not only suggests future behavior but pretty blatantly asserts that there will be no change ever in that behavior.
I don't say this because I think we're wrong in getting worked up over it, I'm just saying it might be worth the effort to modulate our responses to obvious emotion-bait. Look at the sources, consider the circumstances, shrug and move on. As much power as there is in frothy debate there is in silence and ignoring the noise. The results will do the talking as they always will. Let us instead focus on what really matters: how do we fix Tim Lincecum?