Nov. 15, 2010RATTO ARCHIVEGIANTS PAGE GIANTS VIDEORay Ratto
It's almost better for your vision of the 2010 San Francisco Giants that Buster Posey didn't get the National League Rookie of the Year award.
It wouldn't have done much for him, we grant you, but for you, it fits neatly into the profile you want for this team. No awards in sight, but one big honkin' piece of finger candy for everyone involved.
But he got it, beating Jason Heyward of Atlanta with 127 points and 20 of the 32 first-place votes; Heyward had nine others, Gaby Sanchez of Florida had two, and Jaime Garcia of St. Louis, one. Remarkably, one ballot didn't have Posey on it at all, and one ballot didn't have Heyward ( if it was the same ballot, someone needs a beating).
Balloting quirks aside, now Posey will stake his claim to a corner of the 2011 media guide cover -- unless general manager Brian Sabean has something to say about it, and we bet he does.
Sabean, you see, adamantly doesn't want Posey as the next FOTF (Face of The Franchise), and it's hard to hide Baseball Writers Association of America trophy winners when it comes time to printing season ticket brochures. Not impossible, mind you -- there is the big trophy with the 30 flagpoles behind which everything else can be hidden -- but difficult.
It also suits Posey's purposes to duck behind the shrubbery, because he (a) doesn't like a lot of media attention, viewing it as an eat-your-vegetables-level chore, and (b) he saw what attention did for Tim Lincecum and Pablo Sandoval. It complicated things, and Posey resists complications the way a brand new car resists dings.
Thus, Posey's victory, which raises an immediate argument with the significantly less prestigious Sporting News Awards, which are voted on by general managers, works slightly in favor of his agent and slightly against what the Giants want to be forever known as -- the team that won it all because it was a seamless whole with no single driving force.
On the other hand, winning it now only slightly accelerates the stardom process that was going to happen anyway. Posey stood out through October as the game's next potentially great catcher (what, no Taylor Teagarden?), and a trophy four months into his service time wasn't going to destroy the illusion of Gerald Dempsey Posey, Stealth Star.
But it won't help. Then again, maybe the Giants' media relations wizards can just put the two trophies and a ring on the cover without mentioning any names. You know, the quiet, understated dignity ploy. And since nobody knows what the Rookie of the Year trophy actually looks like, they can always say it was Mike Murphy's trophy for Equipment Manager of the Half-Century. I mean, who's to know otherwise?
Ray Ratto is a columnist for Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.