What do you do when Buster Posey retires and leaves your team bereft, alone and losing more games than they win?
You bring his championship-winning rear end back to the franchise, that’s what you do.
The Giants have come under deserved heavy fire this year for failing to land the big fish that are needed to compete with the Freddie Freemans and the Manny Machados of the world. The result has been a desultory, sub-.500 season.
Fans demanded action to course-correct.
Voila — the first big move of the off-season is in, and it’s not even the off-season yet.
In news that caught almost all of us off guard in the most exciting of ways, Buster Posey is not only returning to the franchise as a part-owner who bought in with his own money — but an owner who gets a seat at the exclusive and powerful Board of Directors.
How much juice does Buster Posey have? Chairman Greg Johnson said they created a new seat for the guy.
It’s like Buster popped over for dinner, and you didn’t have room, so you hurriedly move some plates and mashed potatoes around, tell your little kids to scoot over, and give Buster his darn set-up. And pass him the gravy, too.
Fans of the show ‘Ted Lasso’ are familiar with the phenomenon called the ‘Roy Kent Effect’, when Roy Kent, the spiritual leader of the fictional AFC Richmond football emerges from retirement to coach the club. The team got better immediately. The characters on the show credit the ‘Roy Kent Effect.’
Get ready for the ‘Buster Posey Effect.’
We all know about Buster’s demands for excellence and preparation and consistency from his stellar career, the three parades being the obvious symbol of the Georgia kid’s championship standard.
And it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that this year’s listless team was missing something — probably Buster Posey and all that he entails.
I speak from the perspective of just having finished a book that my dear pal and brilliant photographer Brad Mangin and I did, “28: A Photographic Tribute to Buster Posey.”
Other than gawking at Brad’s gorgeous, story-telling photos, I got to participate in the book by ghost-writing Buster’s 6,000-word introductory essay, and then doing the same for essays by Matt Cain, Barry Zito, Hunter Pence, Sergio Romo, Logan Webb, Bruce Bochy, Gabe Kapler, and Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper. We also used Brandon Crawford’s poignant tribute from The Players Tribune.
And having experienced conversations with all of the above about “28” himself, the overwhelming theme was repeated by all:
Buster’s presence made them all want to be better.
It wasn’t exactly Jack Nicholson to Helen Hunt in “As Good As It Gets”, saying over dinner: “You make me want to be a better man” . . . but it’s not far off.
Webb, representing the new generation of Giants, was particularly effusive, as a youngster would be: “Buster showed me — he shows everybody — what it’s supposed to be like to be a San Francisco Giant . . . he epitomizes what a San Francisco Giant really is.”
Now, let’s be realistic. He ain’t donning the catcher’s gear and getting in the crouch Opening Day 2023. He lives in Georgia, and will only be at Oracle Park occasionally throughout the season.
But . . . but!
His voice is now large in the organization, at the highest level. And whether that means making the right decision in terms of what free agents to pursue — hey, did you know that Aaron Judge’s favorite player was Buster Posey? Did ya? — how to build a team and even help advise a search for a general manager — or dare we even say, organization-altering decisions like head of baseball ops or field manager? — Buster Posey’s voice is now heard.
This is a good thing, sports fans.
We can even get into the things Buster told me for the book about how much he misses the purity of baseball drama vs the blood-draining use of analytics. That perspective is now in the board room, too.
Plus, we all just want the guy around. He’s Mays, McCovey, Will Clark and Barry; he’s Timmy and Marichal and Bumgarner and Cain; he’s Jack Clark, he’s Hunter Pence, he’s Kevin Mitchell. Heck, he’s best pals with Brandon Crawford.
The Giants have brought back many of those legends for ceremonies, and it’s always great to connect with them.
Now they’ve brought back maybe the coolest cat of them all, the ice-veined thinker who loves the game and the team and The City.
Get ready for the Buster Effect.