With the possible (obvious?) exception of those crazy free spenders from SoCal, the Giants have as much talent, top to bottom, as any team in the National League West. What they do not have, though, is the largesse and depth of talent that would allow for them, without a 2012-ish season from Mr. Posey, to be taken seriously in any logical way as a threat to the Dodgers or any surprise NL West upstart.
Fair? Since when did fair factor into baseball in any way? Ask Armando Galarraga that question ... of Jim Joyce.
Superstardom supersedes pretty much everything, you see. The New York Yankees suck? Blame A-Rod. Cleveland Cavalliers lost in the NBA Finals? LeBron James isn’t clutch. Giants lose the 2002 World Series? Barry Bonds’ PED karma.
You get the idea. That’s how it goes for Posey now. He’s official. He’s a superstar no matter how aw-shucks anonymous he’d like to be. Hey, if those Toyota ads couldn’t slow his superstar roll, it’s all over. He’s there.
(Grown men and women sat in a high-level Toyota meeting, heads nodding, when those ads got the green light, by the way. Makes you just a little sad for all of us, doesn’t it?)
Anyway, Posey’s it. He has it. And as such, another 2013 Posey season, i.e., tremendous by most any other player’s standard, simply won’t do.
Sure, Pablo Sandoval could stay fighting trim and make the All-Star team.
Michael Morse could be that scary righty hitter who regularly provides the fans in left field with souvenirs.
Angel Pagan could turn back the clock and win us all over with his stylishly gracious and classy brand of ball all over again.
Tim Hudson could very possibly be some sort of wise wizard who, whenever called upon, cooks up some freaky magic elixir he picked up from Alabama City and fixes whatever ails any member of the pitching staff.
Hell, Brandon Crawford and Brandon Belt could be the most entertainingly efficient infield combo at AT&T Park since Omar Vizquel was gliding pearls across his body and the diamond to J.T. Snow’s hoover.
But if Buster ain’t Buster? Sorry, folks. Superstars steer, and nobody in San Francisco is remotely capable of steering the good ship — not even Captain Bruce Bochy himself — as can Posey when he’s fully embracing and totally embodying all he’s been given and all that’s been thrust upon him.
The gifts, of course, are the talent, the easily earned clubhouse respect, the sheer purity of a man so clearly put on Earth for a very specific reason.
And all that’s been thrust upon that man is the expectation of being superstar enough to be a human version of that hypothetical Hudson elixir.
Pablo gets huge? Buster’s numbers have to get hefty, too. Morse ends up too much of a defensive liability to be out there for big at-bats in tight games? Buster, grab your gun and scatter those stands instead.
Pagan turns into Andres Torres? Hudson can’t lead a congo line? The Brandons end up lumped-by-alliteration-awful? Buster, you gotta steal some bags, tell Hunter Pence to step up his speech game before you start cracking skulls and, damn it, you played shortstop in college and first base in the bigs. Do some mentoring, will ya?
That’s the life of a Superstar — capital S. And that’s Buster Posey, more than at any time he’ll likely encounter in his career, for the next six to eight months.
Only his very, very best will do. Without it, the Giants are just a good bunch of guys. With it, the Los Angeles Dodgers will get the trouble they deserve.
Mychael Urban, a longtime Bay Area-based sportswriter and broadcaster, is the host of “Inside the Bigs,” which airs every Saturday morning from 9 a.m. to noon on KGMZ “The Game” (95.7 FM).