Giants camp to be all Buster Posey, all the time

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I don’t believe we ever officially welcomed Andrew Baggarly to the fold over here. Already my favorite Giants beat writer, he just made the move from the San Jose Mercury News to CSN Bay Area, where he’ll continue covering the team.

Baggarly today provides a full rundown on the current plans for Buster Posey, who is coming back from last year’s gruesome ankle injury. He’s all ready to play and he’ll catch a couple of pitchers during the first official workouts in Giants camp on Sunday, but he’ll also have a light workload initially in camp and he might spend some time at first base in an effort to keep him strong.

If you want more details than that, go read the full article. Or just do it anyway. We’re all one big happy family here under the Comcast umbrella.

Except, of course, I have to pick on Baggarly now, because he closes his article with this:

Everyone knows it: Posey’s recovery is the most significant storyline for the Giants this spring and it’s integral to their chances to reestablish themselves in the NL West. It’s no surprise that a large number of national media members have requested time with him after Sunday’s workout. The Giants arranged a news conference setting to deal with the requests.

Maybe it won’t be on par with the annual “State of Barry” news events. But Posey is every bit as important to the Giants as Barry Bonds used to be.

No. No way. Not even close. Probably no one since Babe Ruth has ever been as important to his team as Barry Bonds used to be. Forget for a moment about how he got to be the player he was and just amaze at the numbers: Bonds posted an OPS over 1.000 in 13 straight seasons, topping out at 1.422. He won seven NL MVP awards, including four in a row from 2001-04. Those four seasons rank fourth, second, eighth and first all-time on the single-season OPS list.

I’m a big Buster Posey fan, but the odds are against him winning even one NL MVP award. His health is a huge key to the Giants’ chances this season. But the Giants did manage to go 86-76 without him last year. When Bonds missed most of 2005, the Giants slipped from 91 wins to 75.

Replay review over base-keeping needs to go

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The Red Sox are off and running in the first inning of Game 1 of the World Series against the Dodgers. Andrew Benintendi and J.D. Martinez each hit RBI singles off of Clayton Kershaw to give the Red Sox an early 2-0 lead.

Benintendi’s hit to right field ended with a replay review. Rather than throw to the cutoff man, right fielder Yasiel Puig fired home to try nabbing Mookie Betts, but his throw was poor. Catcher Austin Barnes caught the ball a few feet in front of and to the right of home plate, then whipped the ball to second base in an attempt to get Benintendi. Benintendi clearly beat the throw, but shortstop Manny Machado kept the tag applied. After Benintendi was ruled safe, the Dodgers challenged, arguing that Benintendi’s hand may have come off the second base bag for a microsecond while Machado’s glove was on him. The ruling on the field was upheld and the Red Sox continued to rally.

Replay review over base-keeping is not in the spirit of the rule and shouldn’t be permitted. Hopefully Major League Baseball considers changing the rule in the offseason. Besides the oftentimes uncontrollable minute infractions, these kinds of replay reviews slow the game down more than other types of reviews because they tend not to be as obvious as other situations.

Baseball has become so technical and rigid that it seems foolish to leave gray area in this regard. A runner is either off the base or he isn’t. However, the gradual result of enforcing these “runner’s hand came off the base for a fraction of a second” situations is runners running less aggressively and sliding less often so there’s no potential of them losing control of their body around the base. Base running, particularly the aggressive, sliding variety, is quietly one of the most fun aspects of the game. Policing the game to this degree, then, serves to make the game less fun and exciting.

Where does one draw the line then? To quote Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, describing obscenity in Jacobellis v. Ohio, “I know it when I see it.” This is one area where I am comfortable giving the umpires freedom to enforce the rule at their discretion and making these situations impermissible for replay review.