Buster Posey opts back into baseball after a diaper-flinging, reflective 2020: ‘It’s great to be back’
MLB 

For Buster Posey the baseball player, 2020 was something of an out-of-body experience. 

For the first time in a decade, he did not spend the summer as a San Francisco Giant — even as he remained under contract to them. 

He watched nearly every inning of every Giants game last year, learning as much as he could about new pitchers — yet knowing he wasn't yet their teammate. And he missed what he called the "best competition in the world," powerless to augment a resume that includes a National League MVP award, six All-Star appearances and three World Series titles. 

Yet Buster Posey the father, husband and occasional diaper-slinger was very much present. 

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After opting out of the 2020 season to help care for his four children — including adopted twins born prematurely — Posey on Wednesday returned in full to the Giants for their first spring training workout for pitchers and catchers. 

San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey shown during last year's spring training. He ended up opting out of the season in July. (Photo: Kyle Terada, USA TODAY Sports)

It may be his last as a Giant — the club holds a $22 million option for 2022, making this the final guaranteed season of his nine-year, $167 million contract. Posey, who turns 34 in March, forfeited some $8 million by opting out of the shortened 2020 season. 

Yet Posey scarcely gave that a thought after the premature arrival of he and wife Kristen's adopted twins, who were hospitalized in a neonatal intensive care unit after birth. 

And so as the Giants posted a 29-31 record and narrowly missed a berth in the expanded playoffs, Posey worked the home front — nurturing connections with the newborns as well as he and Kristen's fraternal twins, now 9.

"I was able to pour more into my children," Posey said Thursday on a video call from the Giants' Scottsdale, Arizona, training facility. Anybody who’s a parent understands you have to be pretty selfless to wake up and take care of kids. I think that’s the main thing — trying to enjoy having that time with them, knowing it was extra time I otherwise wouldn’t have.

"Like everybody else that has gone through (pandemic parenting), you’re on top of each other the whole time. But it gives you a good chance to work on your patience, as well."

And your arm strength. 

His older twins, who turn 10 this year, have been able to help with the babies, though Posey says son Lee is "more of an entertainment piece for them" than daughter Addison.

So, when Posey changed diapers, he found himself tightening the dirtied one and zeroing in on his older son. 

Relying on analytics, he'd then determine whether to fling the soiled diaper at the rascal.

"I'd ball it up real tight and he’ll know I’m about to fire it at him," Posey said. "I keep my arm in shape that way, by firing diapers at him.

"You have to really make sure you have the right weight of the diaper. Depending on how well they’ve been feeding. That plays a lot into my accuracy and whether it’s equivalent to the weight of a baseball. I take all that into account — type of formula they’ve got, whether they’ve been eating baby food or not. I’ve been pretty accurate." 

Fortunately. 

As for the Giants, manager Gabe Kapler said the club will welcome Posey's "solidifying presence" behind the plate after the occasional struggles of rookies Joey Bart and Chadwick Tromp last season. Posey, meanwhile, will get a full training camp and season under COVID-19 protocols after opting out early in summer camp last July. 

He stayed away long enough for his newest twins to regain strength and full health, but not long enough to outlast the pandemic.

"You’re still in masks, so that’s obviously different as well," he says, "but there’s normalcy, too: The normalcy of standing on the foul line, stretching. Playing catch, catching ‘pens. It’s great to be back and hopefully as this vaccine continues to roll out, we’ll all get to experience the game like we used to." 

Even if it means leaving his family behind, for the first time in the case of his youngests.

"It will definitely be an adjustment period," he said. "Something we’ve gone through with the older ones. I think it’ll be good."

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