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June 25, 2012
Buster Posey and the Things Vin Scully Says
Some people like to read magazine profiles of top athletes, but I prefer to listen to Vin Scully tell their life stories in small chunks over the course of two decades. Tonight, the Giants will play the Dodgers. Buster Posey behind the plate, Vin Scully behind the microphone, as it has been 21 times before and as it will be forever and ever and ever and ever.
Vin Scully’s factoids might seem, oh, repetitive and occasionally arbitrary, but they are actually a very important part of humanity’s future. There will come a day when all the paper dissolves, and there will come a day when Stuxnet erases all of our digital documentation, but there will never come a day when Vin Scully isn’t talking about baseball players. He is the only indestructible repository of historical information that mankind has ever created, and he is our only hope of remembering that Rich Aurilia once worked as a stagehand at the Metropolitan Opera.
A critic might accuse Scully of repeating factoids too often, but Scully knows that not everybody listens to every game, and not everybody who does remembers every fact; the frequency of a factoid’s appearance certainly corresponds to its importance in the story. A critic might also suggest that the facts skew toward uniqueness, rather than significance. This is true, but this is also important. There are too many baseball players and too many baseball games. Nothing is significant. Each player is merely a single skin cell, easily scraped away and regenerated with no impact. All we have in baseball to keep us alive is the unique.
So Vin. Always, always Vin. What follows is the perfect life story of Buster Posey, comprising almost everything Vin Scully has ever said during Buster Posey's plate appearances over the past four seasons, and arranged by how frequently Scully has returned to the factoid. The life story continues, tonight.
Buster Posey is from Leesburg, GA, and Leesburg, GA is small. April 1, 2011: “To say Posey comes from a small town would be an understatement. According to numbers through July 2009, Leesburg, GA has a population of 2,900. The median income $33,000. The average home, $121,000.”
Buster Posey hits better on the road. April 11, 2011 (second PA): “I don't know whether it's the pressure of being Rookie of the Year or what, but Buster Posey doesn’t hit nearly as much at home as he does on the road. In his career .244 at AT&T Park, .343 on the road.”
Buster Posey’s nickname comes from his dad, Buster. April 1, 2011: “Got that nickname Buster from his dad. His father was known as Buster.”
Buster Posey married young. June 28, 2010: “They say he acts more mature. Well he's 23, and he was married when he was 21.”
Buster Posey’s long hitting streak as a rookie was historic. July 19, 2010: “He has not only been the hottest hitter in the majors, he is a Giant rookie who has two separate double-digit hit streaks this season. He's the third Giant rookie to have two separate double-digit hit streaks. Sounds like an announcer’s audition!”
Buster Posey’s brothers play ball. July 21, 2010: “Buster has two brothers. One is a junior at Florida State, playing first and third and occasionally pitching. His youngest brother is a sophomore in high school, playing on the varsity team.”
Buster Posey’s sister plays ball. July 30, 2010: “He has a sister who plays softball in community college.”
His first hit came against the Dodgers. Sept. 15, 2010: “About a year ago, on Sept. 19, he got his first major-league hit and it was against the Dodgers.”
Buster’s got a hitch. May 19, 2011: “When you look at Posey, his bat goes beyond parallel as the golfers will say. Instead of just holding the bat parallel to the ground it actually dips down, just for a little while. Boy do you have to be quick.”
Buster Posey hits a lot of groundballs. May 7, 2012: “We told you the Giants hit a lot of groundballs, and you would have to say Buster Posey is the leader. He kills a lot of worms. Mathematically, it comes out to he hits about 2.5 groundballs for every ball in the air.”
Buster Posey’s childhood yard was big. July 19, 2010: “Buster grew up on a 50-acre plot of land in Georgia. He says the front yard was so big it was a makeshift ball field. They would use the yard for Little League practice.”
Buster Posey goes the other way a lot. July 30, 2010: “He went the other way a lot in the series at Dodger Stadium.”
Catching takes it out of him. April 11, 2011: “In watching Buster carefully, so far in his career, he hits .327 in the first three innings, .314 in the middle innings, and then maybe catching takes it out of him, he hits .229 from the seventh to the ninth.”
Buster Posey is like other great Giants. Sept. 16, 2010: “I can think of no finer tribute to Buster Posey than the fact they are comparing him already to Will Clark, even though Clark was a left-handed battter. The swings are somewhat similar, kind of hitting the inside of the ball.”
Buster Posey played in the World Junior Championships. April 1, 2011: “Posey pitched in the World Junior Championship on a USA squad that featured, among others, Andrew McCutchen of the Pirates. Another player on that kids team: Justin Upton of Arizona.”
Buster Posey is quite grounded. April 1, 2011: “They say it was a very emotional moment here at AT&T when he received the (ROY) award. There were some great names from the past who had won the award for the Giants, starting with Mays, Cepeda, McCovey. They were all on the field. Posey would be the first to say that was nice but that was last year; he's a very level-headed kid.”
Buster Posey/Johnny Bench. May 19, 2011: “A finalist as a sophomore to win the Johnny Bench Award given annually to the college game's best catcher. As a junior in a game at Florida State, he played all nine positions in the game. He might very well be the best all-around catcher since Johnny Bench.”
Buster Posey World Series Trivia 1. May 18, 2011: “He joined Texas’ Feliz as the third pair of players named Rookie of the Year in their respective leagues after appearing in that year’s World Series.”
Buster Posey World Series Trivia 2. May 9, 2012: “He was the first rookie catcher in major-league history to hit cleanup in a postseason game.”
Zambia could use some help. April 11, 2011: “Zambia is a country of over 12 and a half million people. Average age at death: 45.”
And a head nod in the general direction of Grant Brisbee for providing the idea that I thieved.