How Buster saw ‘silver lining’ in devastating 2011 injury originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
Buster Posey was able to find the silver linings after his gruesome 2011 injury.
The former Giants catcher joined former teammate Jeremy Affeldt on the latest episode of the “Built for the Storm” podcast, where he discussed the injury where he collided with then-Florida Marlins outfielder Scott Cousins at home plate on May 25, 2011, and his initial emotions after it had happened.
Despite how devastating the injury was, Posey was able to find some silver linings in the situation.
“As you can imagine, probably like anybody when you’re going through something tough, there’s a wide range of emotions,” Posey told Affeldt. “For me, oddly enough, one of the first ones I felt lucky. I felt lucky that It was my ankle and my leg and wasn’t my neck. It could have been worse than it was.
“The silver lining for me too was my wife was pregnant with our twins, so now selfishly I know I’m going to be there for their birth. A couple of things, oddly I was kind of grateful for. But then that gratitude turned into some anger, some questioning.”
Posey fractured his fibula and tore multiple ligaments, sidelining him for the remainder of the season and having lasting effects for years. As horrific as the injury was, Cousins’ slide was legal at the time, which, in hindsight, is odd for Posey to think about.
“The game was different then, it doesn’t feel like it was that long ago,” Posey explained. “It was 12 years ago now, but it was a completely different game. That was a legal play, a lot of times, that was a play guys would be congratulated for. It was like you did your job, you knocked the ball out and it was almost like a badge of honor to destroy the catcher.
“Now you kind of think about it, man that’s bizarre … I think now that we’re removed from it and it’s not the ‘norm,’ I think we can see it’s a pretty silly play. I kind of had that perspective already and I was pretty bitter about that.”
Posey, to this day, has not spoken to Cousins. And it’s not for a lack of trying. Looking back on the injury, Posey does feel bad about the negative attention Cousins received for a play where he was trying to score a run for his team.
“Cousins, I still haven’t talked to him to this day and my initial reaction was that I didn’t want to talk to him,” Posey added. “That’s definitely changed as years have gone on and at some point, I tried to reach out to him I think a couple years ago. Obviously, it presented challenges for him as well. There was a lot of anger and resentment from the fanbase. I hate that for him too, because again he was making a play that he thought was helping his team and my heart does hurt for him that it’s caused whatever amount of turmoil in his life.”
“So bitter and resentful for being in the situation and then just kind of confusion. Not knowing (if I can play baseball again). I’m 24 years old, I don’t know if I can get behind the plate and squat again .”
Injuries played a big role in the remainder of Posey’s career. Heading into his 2012 NL MVP season, Posey still wasn’t at full strength.
“As 2012 approached, I was having a hard time running,” Posey said. “Even up until the season starting, I had a really hard time running straight, but I couldn’t really turn. I was like, ‘Shoot, I’ve never been fast, but I still need to be able to run a little bit.’ So I think it still helped that I had the mindset of, ‘OK that’s today, tomorrow might be different.’ And if I got down on myself in that moment, I don’t know what it would have looked like. I was fortunate to be around people who kept my mindset going.”
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Posey went on to play nine more seasons after his 2011 injury and the rest was history. The esteemed Giants catcher won two more World Series championships, one NL MVP, five Silver Sluggers, one Gold Glove and made seven All-Star appearances, cementing his legacy as one of the greatest players in franchise history.
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