Through a decade of playing in the big leagues, Buster Posey has every award a kid can dream of in his trophy case. He has the NL MVP. He has the NL Rookie of the Year, along with a Gold Glove, multiple Silver Slugger awards, trips around the country for All-Star Games and three shiny, sparkling World Series rings.
What can't be seen on his mantle is the invisible ingredient that helped bring the Giants their first championship since moving to San Francisco in 1958, creating a dynasty with three titles in five years. It's exactly what Posey showed Friday when he opted out of the 2020 season after adopting two babies who were born prematurely. For how great Posey has been on the field, he has been even better off it. That's what the Giants will miss most this season.
Posey's leadership is immeasurable, and it will be felt throughout the year for players and coaches alike.
When Posey called Logan Webb's first live bullpen of Summer Camp "electric," the Giants' young pitcher said, "When you hear that from one of the best to ever do it, it’s pretty cool.” Mauricio Dubon possibly could play every position for the Giants outside of catcher, yet it's Posey who he couldn't stop asking questions to in spring training and even after baseball was shut down due to the coronavirus. These players want every part of Posey's baseball brain.
“His mindset, it’s unreal so I ask him a lot of questions about this, that, hitting, approaches -- about a bunch of different stuff,” Dubon said.
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Webb and Dubon are 23 and 25 years old respectively. They're two players who are expected to play a big role in the Giants' bright future. Posey being around these types of young players every day was seen as invaluable for the Giants. Now, that's gone.
And that brings us back to Joey Bart.
Ever since the Giants drafted Bart -- a catcher out of Georgia Tech -- No. 2 overall in 2018, questions surfaced when he would take over for Posey. Bart has excelled in big league camp at spring training the last two years while watching and learning from Posey every single day. The top prospect was expected to continue his development and start the season in Triple-A Sacramento this year, but that plan changed with the cancellation of the minor league season. Still, Bart had a great opportunity the moment Giants players returned to Oracle Park on July 1.
Bart, 23, again could observe and digest from Posey. He could see how Posey communicates with pitchers, how he prepares every day and how he makes his teammates better. Bart very well could make his major league debut this season, but Posey won't be there for the ups and downs of the bigs.
What Bart absorbed from Posey the last two springs won't be forgotten, though. That goes for if the hyped prospect finds his way to San Francisco this season or next. Those lessons never will go away. The same goes with the lesson Posey showed every Giant in his latest selfless act.
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"My wife, myself, and our older children are just overwhelmed with joy to welcome them into our family, to love them unconditionally, and just share life with them," Posey said when announcing his decision.
Those words should never slip our minds. Posey has shared a baseball field with friends and teammates since he was a young child. His talent and hard work made his love for the game his everyday job, one that supports a family with his wife, Kristen, and their now four children. For how much he must love sharing a ballpark with so many every day, there is no greater joy than sharing life with a family.
Posey was coming into this season his healthiest in years. He very well could have been due for a resurgence, cementing himself again as one of the best catchers in baseball. Instead, he once again reminded us he's one of the best people in baseball and beyond.
The Giants will miss Posey's leadership more than anything this season. His latest lesson, however, will be felt throughout the clubhouse and only furthers his legacy.