Giants

Giants' Buster Posey hasn't ruled out not playing in 2020 MLB season

Giants' Buster Posey hasn't ruled out not playing in 2020 MLB season

For a decade now, Buster Posey has been the face of the Giants, taking the responsibility seriously in tense moments.

When Melky Cabrera was suspended after testing positive for testosterone in the middle of the 2012 season, a young Posey stood in front of reporters and talked about how the outfielder made a bad decision and the rest of the team would move on. When manager Gabe Kapler was hired amid a firestorm in November, Posey was the lone Giant to attend the press conference. Earlier this week, he spoke up on a video conference call that included the entire team, harping on the importance of players not being selfish while the Giants try to play a season during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

In his first public comments since March, Posey spoke passionately Saturday about the virus and said he's not surprised some players have opted out of the season because of all that is going on. He admitted he "definitely" has thought of doing it himself.

"I think there's still some reservation on my end as well," Posey said. "I think I want to see kind of how things progress here over the next couple of weeks. I think it would be a little bit maybe naive or silly not to gauge what's going on around you, not only around you here but paying attention to what's happening in the country and different parts of the country.

"Obviously it's unprecedented times right now. Most definitely I've thought about [opting out] and talked about it with my wife quite a bit."

[GIANTS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Posey said he would spend the three weeks of camp watching what's going on, not just at Oracle Park but around the country. He said he won't take opting out of the season off the table, and would continue to discuss it with his wife. The Poseys have two young children at home and Posey said three grandparents are living on his side and two on his wife's side of the family. Thus far, nobody in Posey's family has contracted COVID-19.

"I'd be surprised if you asked any player if they gave you a hardline 'No way, I'm not going to opt out ever' answer," he said.

Posey missed the first day of camp for personal reasons but was heavily involved Saturday, catching live batting-practice sessions and also taking his own turn at the plate. When he was walking the field between drills, Posey wore a blue medical mask. He could be at particular risk this season, even with MLB putting new rules in place to try and prevent the spread of the virus.

There's no way to keep your distance during a game when you're a catcher. Posey will have an umpire right behind his shoulder and at least nine opposing players digging into the box a few feet away. He said he hopes umpires wear masks under their protective gear, but it's not realistic for batters or catchers to do it.

Posey said he has spent the last three months in the Bay Area, staying "very low key" while spending time with his family. He talked often Saturday about how much research he has done, and all the "unknowns" that are still out there. Posey said his biggest concern "is protecting the people that are going home to those people that are compromised or older."

[RELATED: Giants add two top infield prospects to 60-man player pool]

At least six big leaguers have opted out of the season already, and people around the game expect more to come in the next three weeks. For now, Posey is here, keeping his eyes open and trying to figure out how to make the best decision before the July 23 opener.

"You make the effort, you get here. You take a look around at how things are going. I think we all just have to be somewhat cautiously optimistic right now," he said. "It's such a strange time. I'm looking at you guys wearing masks on a computer screen right now. What are we doing? There's that thought.

"You drive into the city of San Francisco and nearly every person you see has got a mask on, and I know it's not the same in all parts of the country but I think that's a perfect example of the way things have gone. People are not necessarily seeing eye-to-eye on how this disease is going to progress or has progressed. Ultimately, I just still feel like there are unknowns. That's where I'm falling. There's unknowns. Hopefully, we have more solid answers here as medicine makes advances."

Giants plan to add player names to back of home jerseys in 2021 season

Giants plan to add player names to back of home jerseys in 2021 season

The Giants can simultaneously be the most recognizable and the most anonymous team in the National League. 

If he wanted to, manager Gabe Kapler could send out a lineup that would have been normal way back in 2012: Brandon Belt at first, Brandon Crawford at short, Pablo Sandoval at third, and Hunter Pence in the outfield. Back in spring training, those four shared a clubhouse with Buster Posey, too. 

At the same time, the Giants often start groups that look more like the half of a split-squad that's headed out to Glendale for the late game of a spring training doubleheader. They used 64 players last year, a National League record, and a lot of them weren't even in town long enough for fans to learn their first name. 

[BALK TALK: Listen to the latest episode]

In a nod to that latter issue, the organization will make a significant change to the home jerseys next season. Team president and CEO Larry Baer told the San Francisco Chronicle's Bruce Jenkins that the organization decided earlier this summer to put player names on the backs of home jerseys.

"Part of it is the substantial roster turnover we've had, but it's also about the way people consume games now," Baer said. "You'd like to believe everybody's sitting down in front of the TV for three hours of Kruk & Kuip, but between social media, Twitter, highlights availability, a lot of people tune in for 20 minutes and then go do something else. The game's on the screen, but they aren't necessarily paying attention. If they're a casual fan, they don't want to have to figure out if that's Alex Dickerson or Mike Yastrzemski."

[RELATED: Battle of the Bay has extra meaning in shorter MLB season]

Teams are not allowed to change their jerseys during the season, so the new look won't go into effect until 2021. The current one is an homage to the team that arrived from San Francisco in 1958 and was a favorite of former owner Peter Magowan. 

It made more sense earlier this decade, but roster turnover has become a big part of the weekly routine at Oracle Park under new president Farhan Zaidi. There were a lot of misses, but that helped the Giants find Dickerson and Yastrzemski, two players who are key parts of this year's lineup and will have their long last names on their backs by this time next year. 

Giants vs. A's MLB live stream: How to watch Battle of the Bay online, on TV

Giants vs. A's MLB live stream: How to watch Battle of the Bay online, on TV

The Battle of the Bay is here.

The Giants (8-12) welcome their Bay Area rival A's (13-6) to Oracle Park for a three-game weekend series. The Giants are coming off a tough 10-game road trip where they went just 3-7, losing two out of three to the Houston Astros in their last series.

Oakland lost two of their last three to the Los Angeles Angels, but won nine straight before that. However, they will be without Ramón Laureano for the series, as the A's outfielder will start serving his suspension Friday night after it was reduced from six to four games upon appeal.

Here's how you can watch the Giants play the A's online (download the MyTeams app here!) and on TV:

Friday, Aug. 14

Giants broadcast

When: Giants Pregame Live at 6 p.m. PT -- First pitch at 6:45 p.m. PT
TV: NBC Sports Bay Area
Stream: MyTeams app

A's broadcast

When: A's Pregame Live at 6 p.m. PT -- First pitch at 6:45 p.m. PT
TV: NBC Sports California
Stream: MyTeams app

Saturday, Aug. 15

When: First pitch at 4:07 p.m. PT
TV: FOX
Stream: FuboTV - Get a free trial

Sunday, Aug. 16

Giants broadcast

When: Giants Pregame Live at 12:30 p.m. PT -- First pitch at 1:05 p.m. PT
TV: NBC Sports Bay Area
Stream: MyTeams app

A's broadcast

When: A's Pregame Live at 12:30 p.m. PT -- First pitch at 1:05 p.m. PT
TV: NBC Sports California
Stream: MyTeams app

[BALK TALK: Listen to the latest episode]