If the Giants repeat as World Series champions in 2011, it will have to be without star catcher Buster Posey, who arrived last season as a rookie to spark the offense and quickly endeared himself to fans as a team icon.
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The Giants announced Thursday that Posey is likely out for the season with a fractured bone in his left leg and three torn ligaments in his ankle, following a collision at the plate in the top of the 12th inning during a 7-6 loss to the Florida Marlins late Wednesday night.
“When people were walking out, no one cared about the loss anymore,” said Matt Sylvia, a 21-year-old fan who was at Wednesday’s game. “Everyone was just heads down, whispering to each other.”
The Giants scored four runs in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game, but hopes for another gritty comeback gave way to shock as Scott Cousins rounded third base to make the bang-bang play that would become the winning run for the Marlins.
Although most fans saw the collision as a “clean hit,” Posey’s loss was palpable before Thursday’s game at AT&T Park.
“They were both doing their job. I don’t think it was on purpose, just a sad thing that happened,” Lonnie Peterson said.
Although high school and college baseball rules generally prohibit contact plays at home plate, it is as much a part of the major leagues as hot dogs and the seventh-inning stretch.
But some fans outside the park before Thursday’s game were open to rule changes.
“I think they should have to go feet first,” said Mackenzie Crouse, 21, of Roseville.
Most fans interviewed Thursday agreed that Posey’s loss represents a direct hit to the Giants’ tepid offense. Still, the Giants are not known to be a team that quits, they said.
“This team has a swagger from last year that hasn’t gone away, and this is probably something that will inspire them,” said Andi Gill, 35. “He’s an emotional leader and he’ll still be part of the team.”
Scott Cousins, the Florida Marlins baserunner who collided with Giants catcher Buster Posey Wednesday night, is likely the most hated man in San Francisco this week.
But Cousins was a standout player for the University of San Francisco baseball team from 2003 to 2006.
Nino Giarratano, Cousins’ former USF coach, wants The City to know that Cousins is a good guy. Giarratano said Cousins feels terrible about the injury to Posey.
“We are all fans of Buster Posey and we all wish him well. I know Scott does, too,” Giarratano said. “We hope Scott will be remembered for more than this in his career.” — Dan Schreiber
18 home runs
Source: Major League Baseball
“They need to use the fire for what just happened to go all the way.”
— Lonnie Peterson, 39, San Francisco
“Not until it’s mathematically impossible do I give up.”
— Hector Morales, 32, San Francisco
“Well, that’s what we’re about — moving through this obstacle as a team.”
— Melissa Levin, 18, Mill Valley