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Torture Redefined: Life Without Buster

| May 26, 2011
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Buster Posey poses with two awards, The 2010 "Rookie Of the Year" and the 2010 "Players Choice Award" for most outstanding rookie. Photo: Thearon W. Henderon/Getty Images

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” has never applied more to the first-place San Francisco Giants.

Last night’s game against the Florida Marlins was an emotional roller-coaster, exactly the sort of contest we Giants fans have come to love. It had everything –a thrilling 9th inning comeback, bench player heroics — even the presence of an Internet phenom.

The finale, however, was nothing short of tragic: In the 12th, Scott Cousins crashed into Buster Posey at home plate to score the winning run. Watching the play from the stands, a series of images reminiscent of a William Carlos Williams poem flashed by:

fly ball

throw to the plate

he’s out!

no, ball’s lose!

safe.

Buster motionless. Not getting up.

Up to then, the blog post I’d been writing in my head had a much happier theme: Bay Area baseball is beautiful. Even in the cheap seats, we were ecstatic, my mom regaling me with tales of Juan Marichal, his 16 inning duel with Warren Spahn, his infamous attack on John Roseboro. When the Giants tied it up in the bottom of the ninth, I was just about beside myself with joy. The boys were performing miraculously, and I was surrounded by a typically raucous and motley Bay Area crowd — guys wearing camoflauge and workboots, hipsters sporting chic glasses, kids with fake beards. It was one of those rare I-love-this-sport, I-love-my-city, life-is-beautiful moments. (All without the benefit of alcohol, too.)

And then it happened: the fly ball, the bullet home, Buster carried off . As minutes passed without Posey getting up, a brooding silence descended in the stands. Only whispered words like “ambulance” and “stretcher” could be heard.

After the Giants surrendered their final out, we fans filed out in a daze. Did we really just lose that game? Did we really just see Buster carried off the field?

As details emerge about the extent of Posey’s injury, questions abound about what it means for the Giants’ season: Who can provide some much-needed offensive punch? Will the Giants call currently out-of-baseball Bengie Molina? How did we end up with so many injuries? Some critics are even calling for baseball to try to prevent collisions at home plate, questioning the placement of offensive stars in such a precarious position.

Baseball gods, if we Giants fans have angered you, all we can say is: message received. I will lead the repentance myself; just tell us what you want. And please, don’t take your wrath out on Buster. He’s too young a man, bright a star, natural a talent and nice a guy to turn his future into a question mark.

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About the Author ()

Amanda Stupi is the Engagement Producer for KQED’s daily public affairs program Forum. In that role she turns the information shared during the hour-long call-in show into web-friendly content. Her writing has been featured throughout KQED.org, including on KQED Arts and News Fix as well as on MLB.com, Hyphen Magazine and the San Francisco Examiner. Her radio work has aired on The California Report and Talk of the Nation. Stupi runs the @KQEDForum Twitter account and Forum Facebook account. Her personal Twitter account is @FiftyCentHotdog. She believes that Hostess products get a bad rap and that cereal can save the world. Reach Amanda Stupi at astupi@kqed.org.

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