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Murph: Buster is the leadership voice the Giants, City needs

© Kelley L Cox | 2023 Aug 27

Buster Posey, man.

What a Giant.

This Georgia boy, this Florida State kid, this country-music listenin’, church-goin’ good ol’ boy has turned into the ultimate San Francisco Giant, and I’m here for all of it.

And that’s even as he publicly called out the issues of crime and drugs on the streets of San Francisco as one reason why potential free agents — and their wives — aren’t super keen to move to The City.

In fact, those comments are precisely why we’re Jock Blogging about it.

I mean, we can talk Buster on-field exploits all day and get all weepy thinking of him tucking a baseball in his back pocket on Nov. 1, 2010 in Arlington, TX as he ran towards Brian Wilson, or collapsing, exhausted and joyous, into the arms of Madison Bumgarner on the night of Oct. 29, 2014 in Kansas City. And if you’re up for that, I’ll meet you at the nearest tavern and we can reminisce. 

But it’s darn near 2024 and Buster is now launching Buster Posey The Great Giant 2.0, and it’s quite heartening. His remarks to Andy Baggarly of The Athletic about the perception of San Francisco as an unappealing free agent destination brought to the fore a topic that needed to be addressed.

By addressing it, the pendulum can finally begin to move.

This is the kind of important voice that needs to be speaking about Giants culture, and what the fan base can and should expect. Read his comments since he’s joined the Giants ownership group. This is not a guy collecting revenue share checks as he checks his bank account on his phone after 18 leisurely holes. This is a guy who is attacking his executive gig with the same leadership and passion he treated his job behind the dish — built on a foundation of serious purpose, built on a foundation of a desire to win.

Heck, I half-expect him to put on catcher’s gear as he enters board meetings.

His move back to the Bay Area with his family is a huge deal, and speaks to his commitment both to the region and to the franchise. The report that it was he who met in the small group with Shohei Ohtani and pitched Giants lore to Ohtani should encourage you all. This kid who grew up a Braves fan told Baggarly: “I just wanted him to understand my level of love for the San Francisco Giants and the city of San Francisco and for him to understand how much I’ve come to appreciate the history here and wanting him to be part of that history going forward . . . we love this area … this is home for us and we have a deep bond with the Bay Area … I can’t say enough how happy I am to be a part of a group that is truly pushing as hard as they can and want the city of San Francisco to have a great baseball team.”

Yes, Farhan Zaidi is the president of baseball operations and does press conferences. Yes, Greg Johnson is the chairman and signs the checks. Yes, Larry Baer is the longest-tenured voice in the building and is team president.

None of them carries anywhere near the weight of one of the all time great Giants putting his word and his bond out there for the orange and black.

And that’s why Buster calling out the state of San Francisco’s streets — and perhaps more important, the perception of the streets — was so important. It’s the kind of thing that can resonate in City Hall, and in next year’s mayoral election. One mayoral candidate, philanthropist Daniel Lurie, took to Twitter to say he heard us read the remarks on KNBR and used it as a chance to call for leadership change in The City.

To use a dated cultural reference, Buster is now the E.F. Hutton of the Giants. When he talks, everyone listens.

Characteristic of the winning mentality Posey always possessed, he told Baggarly he is optimistic things can change, and perceptions can change. “There’s no reason it can’t happen again,” Posey said of a return to the championship years. “I’m not going to pretend I know more than I do about what the turnaround is going to look like, but things sometimes can happen quicker than we think.”

If anyone is gonna lead the way, it’s this dude. He’s a Giant, all-in. And for a club that needs some good news, that counts as good news.