SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants said all the right things at FanFest. They showed excitement, they talked of their desire to learn from a new and energetic coaching staff, they insisted that they are in this to win, regardless of how difficult the climb might look here in February. But if you're looking at the 2020 season with an honest eye, you know the most dramatic moment probably won't come in October, or even late in the regular season.
At some point over the first couple weeks of the season, likely as early as the first road trip, Buster Posey is going to dig into the box, get into his stance, and look out at one of his best friends. There's no getting around it, Madison Bumgarner vs. Buster Posey is going to be weird, but it's a matchup the remaining Giants star is looking forward to.
"It'll definitely be tough not seeing him in a Giants uniform, but on the flip side, I'm looking forward to facing him just because I've caught him for so long and you know how hard he competes," Posey said. "Those are the most fun guys to face. The Bumgarners, the Kershaws, the Scherzers, the Verlanders -- the guys that you know you're going to get their best every time.
"Who wins the matchup? It remains to be seen."
Posey was drafted a year after Bumgarner and met the lefty when he was just a teenager. They were a battery in the minors and Posey caught 228 of Bumgarner's 289 appearances for the Giants -- plus every postseason inning -- before he left for the Arizona Diamondbacks in December. Posey said he texted Bumgarner right after the deal was signed to congratulate him.
"Obviously I've got a special relationship with him and we'll always have that," Posey said. "He's one of the first people I met when I signed."
While Bumgarner can be notoriously hard to reach in the offseason, several Giants said over the weekend that they had exchanged messages and were looking forward to seeing him in Arizona. The Giants and Diamondbacks square off a few times in Cactus League play, but even if Bumgarner saves the matchup for the regular season, Salt River Fields only is about 15 minutes from Scottsdale Stadium, the home of all previous Bumgarner-Posey matchups.
It was rare, but every once in a while Bruce Bochy would send a jolt through camp by putting Posey in the hitting group for a Bumgarner live batting practice session. The intensity would ratchet up a bit, but it'll be a whole different atmosphere in a game that counts. Posey said he's not sure who has the advantage.
"I know what he's thinking, he knows what I'm thinking," Posey said. "We could both overthink it, or one of us overthinks it more than the other."
Posey smiled and suggested his friend should keep it simple. He said he'll have to have a chat with Bumgarner afterwards if he doesn't throw him fastballs.
"Come on, Bum, you're proud of your fastball," Posey said. "Challenge me a little bit."