While podcasting on Dan Kupres’ SportsTimeRadio Show, in the Chicago area yesterday, I was asked an intriguing question by Dan, who wanted to know if I thought the San Francisco Giants’ Buster Posey was the new face of Major League Baseball. The implication was that with the retirement of Derek Jeter, MLB must anoint a new face, and that image belongs to Buster Posey.
Why the Giants’ catcher? Posey is the face of baseball for the simple fact that he is a proven winner, and America loves a winner. He has been the centerpiece of three Giants’ championship teams in five years, even though each of the three squads has featured substantively different lineups, with an assorted cast of characters and heroes. Some of these players are still on board, and some of them are no more than a fading image of a red thong, or a black beard, but Posey is still a Giant and will be so for a long time, having been signed to a nine-year deal for 167 million dollars.
Buster Posey is universally recognized as one of the good guys. If the Giants were a Western film, he would wear a white hat, and twirl a pair of pearl-handled six-shooters. If the Giants were the 49ers, he would be Joe Montana, and if Posey were a rock star, he would be-who else? Steve Perry.
He married his childhood sweetheart, Kristen, and they had twins born in 2011, the year Posey was injured mid-season, in a deadly home-plate collision.
Think about it. Whose face is more synonymous with success, than that of Buster Posey?
Posey has all the credentials for being The Face, starting with his Rookie of the Year Award, after the 2010 season, and his batting title, his Most Valuable Player Award and his Comeback Player of the Year Award following the 2012 season. And yes, there are those three World Series rings in his first five years in the majors.The only catcher who comes close to matching up to him over the first five years of a career, isYogi Berra
Jul 15, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; American League infielder Derek Jeter (2) of the New York Yankees waves to the crowd as he leaves the field in the fourth inning during the 2014 MLB All Star Game at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Jeter has been The Face of MLB since 1996, when he was Rookie of the Year and won a World Series ring with the New York Yankees, the first of five in his career, and he wore his status proudly, with a glamorous-type glommed onto him at all times while in public. He was seen in the correct places, made the perfect comments, and baseball adored him.
That was then; this is now. Posey is the right choice, but for completely different reasons than Jeter. Buster does not seek the spotlight; the spotlight seeks him. He leads by his example on the field, and not by what he does off the field. He is one of a bevy of family men, within the Giants’ organization, and that is the kind of Face America needs to have in place right now.
Posey is a symbol for the downtrodden and the underdog. Time and again, the Giants are not give the respect that is due to them, and all they do is respond by proving once again, that they don’t need any stinking respect. Posey’s strength on the field is his ability to extract the most from his pitchers. The Giants have recorded a 12-4 win/loss record in the World Series, in their three trips to the big stage. Give me one other name in baseball that makes more sense than Posey.
Three rings makes Buster Posey the Ringmaster, so it is his face that should represent Major League Baseball .
October 31, 2012; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey (28) waves to the crowd during the World Series victory parade at Market Street. The Giants defeated the Detroit Tigers in a four-game sweep to win the 2012 World Series. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports