Results tagged ‘ Buster Posey ’
By: Noah Frank
As a kid
growing up, I remember watching Patrick Roy, goalie for the Colorado Avalanche,
and reflecting upon his last name. Having learned French at an early age, I
recognized his last name as being close to the French word for “king” (roi),
hence his nickname: King Patrick. The rabid baseball fan that I am, I always
saw the same thing whenever the Rookies of the Year were announced in the
acronym for the award: ROY. So this season, when the Giants’ Twitter fan site
@SF_Giants began their ROYPosey hashtag push, I could think of only one thing:
That was a
far cry from my first impression of the young man carrying the burden of all
the hopes of a long-suffering fan base. I first met Buster Posey at our annual Hot
Stove Dinner, last February 4th. On a brisk Thursday night in
downtown Fresno, he strolled into
the banquet room at the Holiday Inn. Clad in
a modest dress shirt and slacks, no tie, a modest sport coat and a closely cropped haircut,
he might as well have been a member of the military on leave. I have stood next
to some of the most imposing legends of the modern era: Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Jason Giambi. This kid did not have that same striking
presence as legends like those. He was just that-€” a kid.
behind the row of speakers who were seated up on stage that night, I could see
his hands shake under the table as he addressed the crowd. His even, mild tone
was much softer than that of his fellow athletes that night, retired Major
Leaguers Dave Dravecky, Steve Decker and Mark Gardner. One could forgive a
young man in his early 20s for not having the same composure as those twice his
age, much less those with public speaking and minor league managerial
experience. But this was supposed to be the chosen one, not only the offensive
savior but also the overseer of the talented young pitching staff expected to
help push the Giants into contention for a World Championship.
later came the blitz of a highly anticipated media day and an even bigger
Opening Day. Joining Posey on the media rounds was an even younger, even
greener prospect, fireballer Madison Bumgarner. By now Posey seemed more
comfortable, perhaps more at ease and back in his element wearing a jersey and
cleats instead of street clothes. I guided Bumgarner, Decker and him through
the row of television cameras lining the terrace behind the right-field seats.
He handled himself capably, and with a walk-off win in front of nearly 14,000
fans that night, the questions that followed were mostly softballs.
The team’s record-setting start certainly helped as well, as the Grizzlies stormed out to
a 32-16 start with Posey on the team. As anyone who works in baseball knows,
though, the season is long and tiresome, and certainly has its ups and downs.
The Giants were off to a good start as well, but questions about their offense
lingered. Suddenly, they dropped five straight, culminating in a weekend sweep
at the hands of the cross-town rival Oakland Athletics in which they managed just a
single run total, dropping their record to 22-21 on May 23rd. Posey
responded the next day, an off-day for the Giants, by going 4-for-4 against the Memphis Redbirds.
media pressure will begin to grate on anyone as the season progresses, especially
when you have to answer the same question over and over: “Why aren’t you in San
Francisco yet?” Ever the even-keeled diplomat in front of the camera, he gave
all the right answers. But after that Oakland series, the cries could be heard
all the way from San Francisco. The local beat writer asked me what I thought
the chances were of Posey still
being a Grizzly when the team returned from its
next road trip, an eight-game swing
through Salt Lake City and Las Vegas that
would not return them to the Central Valley until June 5th.
percent,” I remember saying. Oops.
night the Grizzlies polished off an 8-0 pasting of the Salt Lake Bees to open
that trip, with Posey going 2-for-3 with a walk, a double and an RBI to back
Madison Bumgarner’s 7.2 innings of four-hit, shutout ball. Life was about as
splendid as it could be for a Grizzlies fan, sitting 10.5 games up in first place. About an hour later I received a
text from the Giants’€™ V.P. of Baseball Operations that Buster was being called
up the next day.
to being sad about losing Buster from our lineup, I was more worried what the
pressure of a media market the size of San Francisco’s, combined with all the
national attention focused on him, would do to his calm, collected demeanor.
What would happen if he didn’€™t get off to a good start? How much patience would
an antsy fan base be willing to show for this 23-year-old with just 172 games
of minor league experience?
you go 3-for-4 with three RBI in your first game, it takes a bit of the
pressure off. Another three-hit game the next day and a record-setting July
later on cemented his place in baseball history as the first Giant to claim
Rookie of the Year honors in 35 years.
expectation was there. Sure, he was named the top prospect in the system, fifth
overall in the minors by Baseball America before the season. But this? All of
this? With a World Series title to boot? I guess that this is what people mean
when they say they have watched someone grow up in front of their very eyes.
sometimes how it feels from Buster’s perspective. It must all seem a bit
surreal, like some winding, lucid dream. Judging by how many orange-clad fans
stormed the streets of San Francisco for the victory parade, there are a lot of
people hoping he never wakes up.
(Photo Credit for first two photos: Don Davis; Credit for final photo: Sports Illustrated)
If you haven’t been living under a rock for the last week, you know that the Giants have survived a bizarre, emotionally draining, back-and-forth National League Division Series against Atlanta and are now preparing to face the monster known as the Philadelphia Phillies in the NLCS. These Phillies have made a late push for Team of the Decade, and could really secure their place in history as a dynasty with another championship in 2010. But first, they will have to get past the Giants’ pitching staff- one comprised mostly of former Grizzlies, including all four in the starting rotation.
Ed. Note: This will be the first of (hopefully) many looks into possible members of the 2011 Grizzlies squad. Even with the graduation of Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner, there is still plenty of talent left in the Giants system. The man in the early running for top talent heading into next year? Brandon Belt.
have to forgive him, but this is all a bit new to Brandon Belt. While the
22-year-old has always been a solid player with a good swing, he is suddenly
being touted as the next great Giants prospect, flying up the ranks of the
minor leagues. In just his first professional season, he arrived in Fresno and was
placed in the middle of the lineup of a team fighting for a postseason spot.
While that might be overwhelming for some players just three years removed from
high school, the even-keeled Belt seems up to the challenge.
second at-bat in a Grizzlies uniform, against division-rival Sacramento, on the
road, Belt torched a searing line drive to one of the deepest parts of the park
for a solo home run. He would go on to walk three times in the game as well,
scoring three of Fresno’s five total runs.
Brandon Belt found himself at Raley Field last week is something of a surprise.
The former Texas Longhorn put up solid, if unspectacular, numbers in his two
seasons of Division I ball after transferring from San Jacinto College in
Houston. He had decided not to sign after being selected by the Boston Red Sox out
of high school in the 11th round in 2006, and again passed on an 11th
round selection– this time by Atlanta– in 2007. After his two years at Texas,
the Giants made him a fifth-round selection last year.
Belt did not
log any game time in 2009 after signing, but he did go to minor league
instructional camp, where Giants coaches made a couple of adjustments to his
swing, raising his hands and opening his stance a bit.
minor, but it takes time to adjust,” he says of the mechanical changes. “I
worked on it all off-season, so I felt like I was ready once this year started.”
certainly showed in his numbers. After batting .383 with a .492 on-base
percentage, 28 doubles, four triples, 10 home runs and 62 RBI in just 77 games
with High-A San Jose, Belt moved up to the pitcher-friendly Eastern League.
There, with Double-A Richmond, he posted a .337 average with 11 doubles, six
triples, nine homers and 40 RBI in just 46 games. That gave him 68 extra-base
hits between the two levels, over which he also stole 20 bases. Belt’s home run
in his first game with Fresno made him just the second player in the minor
leagues this year with 20 doubles, steals and home runs.
Not bad for
a rookie. But perhaps the most impressive part of Belt’s success has been his
ability to hold up all summer. He acknowledges that the hardest part of
adjusting to professional ball has been the length of the season, which
includes more than twice as many games as a college schedule.
took a while to get prepared for,” he explains. “And now the physical fatigue
starts to set in at the end of the season.”
that season will not include a Major League call-up just yet, it will last a
little longer for Belt, who is due to report to the prospect showcase known as
the Arizona Fall League in a few weeks. With what he’s accomplished this year,
his 2011 season will be looked at under a magnifying glass, by everyone from the
front office in San Francisco to the television analysts at ESPN and writers at
Baseball America. But Belt isn’t
about to put too much pressure on himself.
saying I won’t have goals,” he explains. “I just understand how the game is,
that good and bad things happen. I’m just trying to be as consistently good as
I can be throughout the season.”
things have gone, his next season may well start right here in Fresno.
By: Chris Kutz
When the word “Intern” comes to mind, most people think of a
young, naïve college kid all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, full of ambition,
slowly eased into the business world by being assigned mundane duties such as
making copies, distributing mail, getting coffee for the entire office, or
anything else that falls under the last line in most job descriptions: “All
other assigned duties.”
Fortunately, my internship with the Grizzlies has
materialized into more than such a role. Sure, there are going to be times when,
as interns, we will be called to do such things as making copies because we are
stuck at the bottom of the totem pole, but it is safe to say we are allowed to
make the most of our own experiences here at Chukchansi Park.
When I step into the office around 10 in the morning
(without the office’s daily dose of caffeine mind you), I try to jump into a
project that was given to me the day before. It gives me an ease of mind
because I know what I need to do immediately while it also helps those hierarchically
above us who are also just getting into the office after a late game from the
night before (Groggy co-workers + energetic but conniving questions of “Do you
have anything for me to do?” = bad start to an always good day). For example,
right now I have been digging deep for some facts about your Fresno Grizzlies
so that we can share them with you via the spanking new video boards at
(Did you know Brock Bond reached base in 51 consecutive
games last year? That’s longer than some players’ careers! Or that Buster Posey
played all nine positions in one game during his time at Florida State? At the
same time? Ok, that last part was not true but the first one was. Either way, cue
the Chuck Norris-esque websites now, Giants fans, because the legend of Gerald
“Buster” Posey continues to grow.)
Now, I am a baseball junkie, hence interning with a
professional baseball team, so any cool facts/info I dig up about our players are
awesome to me, and I hope the fans find it interesting as well. The research
may become less exciting farther and farther in, but we when I stumble upon
something new, a dose of baseball Red Bull kicks in. Besides, things change on
the fly so often in the office, we all can be working on numerous things at one
time. This can help eliminate potential boredom.
Other daily duties, specifically on game days, include
creating the pre-game scroll that we roll through on the video board with
statistical leaders in the PCL and on the Grizzlies. I usually start this
around 3 in the afternoon to make sure it’s done with plenty of time before
gates open at 5:30. Also, interesting facts and trends about the team we find go
on the scroll as well. As interns, we help set up the press box food so the
ravenous members of the media upstairs appease their growling stomachs (Lesson
#1 I learned during my first internship last season: Never screw up the food!
You can quickly learn the darker side of others when the spread does not meet
the standards of our entry-level foodies.)
During the game, I work in the video room, operating part of
the video board. A group of us throw up the headshots of players, stats, videos,
music, sponsorships, etc; all following the script laid out to us, trying to
provide the fans with information and entertainment to improve their experience
at the game.
After the game, around 10-ish or whenever the Grizzlies
finally claim victory, I edit some highlights from the game and send it out to the local television stations. This is something new from last year, but it is
very important for us and the news. It helps them have footage for their
telecasts, especially with late-game footage after the cameras have gone back
to station and begin prep for the late evening news. For us, it helps us give
those fans that could not make it out to the game some images and video they
can talk about the next day around the water cooler.
While the whole experience is worthwhile, my favorite part
of the internship gig is interacting with the players while trying to set up
interviews with media. Professional athletes and celebrities are often cast as in-human
because they play a character in our lives. We only see them on TV or on the
internet. Obviously, the Grizzlies are just your everyday human beings (with a
slight increase in baseball-playing ability relative to, say your neighbor);
not characters or robots without simple human interests like you and I. Since
baseball players have downtime, movies and music are always good topics of
conversations, as opposed to last night’s extraordinary (or less-than-ordinary)
performance at the plate.
Since I cannot say I have bad experiences with my internship
(and no, that is not being said because my bosses will more than likely read
this), I will provide insight into the one thing most people are baffled by the
most: the amount of hours put in. If you work for a baseball team, you will
probably be working at least 12-hour days during home games. Now, add eight of
those together for the typical homestand, you can find yourself working almost
100 hours in a week (homestands don’t always conveniently begin on Mondays like
most work weeks.).
A uniform “ugh” usually follows when others hear of so many
hours at work, but for all of us, it’s great because we are working jobs we
like. People work in sports because they want to be there; few, if any, settle
for a job in sports. Sports allow people to find something they are passionate
about and can be creative with. Twelve hours may be seem like more than
necessary, but when we walk into our office and see a baseball field outside,
apathy and boredom quickly disappear like a moonshot soaring into Borchard’s Orchard in left-center.
By: Noah Frank
So it’s been
a while since our last post, and since then the Grizzlies have done nothing but
go out and notch the best 50-game stretch to open a season in franchise
history. The team has led by as many as 10.5 games over second place in the Pacific
South Division of the PCL, and had 33 wins against just 18 losses to start
June. Not bad for a team that has seen the post-season only once in its first
12 years as a franchise- the inaugural season, all the way back in 1998.
Just as the
Grizzlies have settled in, so have we over here at Yard Work, getting our
reinforcements on board in the form of our summer interns. With extra hands on
deck on, we will be bringing you regular updates. Look for the first Drag Kings Mailbag, installments of our Day In The Life Of… series and much more. You, the
fan, will even have a chance to get involved, as we encourage you to tell us
why yours is the Best Seat In The House. Starting in June, we will pick the
Yard Work Fan of the Month each month through the end of the season. We will
feature your story and have a full pictorial and interview with you about your
Enter to be
the Fan Of The Month via email to email@example.com,
with Fan Of The Month in the subject line. You can also send the Drag Kings
your questions to the same email, firstname.lastname@example.org,
with Mailbag in the subject line, and Silkee, Jeeves, Patty Melt and The Kid
will answer them in the inaugural edition later this month.
promised you two more interviews, so here is the first one.
When I spoke
to Buster Posey in the home locker room at Scottsdale Stadium in the middle of
Spring Training, no decisions had been made yet as to where anyone would start
the season. Posey was just focused on soaking up as much as he could from being
around the Major League pitching staff every day, appreciating the invaluable
experience he was gaining in the process.
When I asked
him if there were any surprise arms to keep an eye on this season, he dropped
an intriguing name on me- not one that I expected. As it turned out, that
pitcher would start the season with Posey in Fresno and actually beat him to
San Francisco this season. The two have since been reunited, with Posey’s
Memorial Day weekend promotion to the Giants. Listen in to find out which
former Grizzly and current Giant Buster had an eye on all the way back in
By: Noah Frank
I promised I’d deliver it to you, so here it is: our exclusive interview with Jon
Miller from the Scottsdale Stadium press box. Listen in as I try not to
stammer too much and let Jon compose and weave his tapestry of language in
regards to everything San Francisco Giants and Fresno Grizzlies-related.
It’s another beautiful weekend in the Valley of the Sun. Former and future Grizzlies alike are mixed among veterans and the practice fields are full of players as the teams have yet to make their first round of cuts, when they will send players back to minor league camp.