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Buster Posey: A New Kind of Superstar in San Francisco

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COMMENTARY | Buster Posey has a different personality than what San Francisco Giants fans are used to. This city has always prided itself on its quirkiness and alternative culture. And that has shown through in the baseball stars the city has embraced, from the fun-loving Will Clark to the laid-back Tim Lincecum.

Posey, on the other hand, carries himself with a quiet confidence. Leaning on his Georgia roots, he embodies American values that he may as well receive pitches with an apple pie instead of a catcher's mitt. But that hasn't stopped San Francisco from falling in love with him, and the reason for that can be summed up in one word: winning.

As Buster Posey prepares for the fast-approaching opening day, he's in a vastly different position than he was a year ago. In the spring of 2012, he was coming off the devastating ankle injury that ended his 2011 season. He was the biggest question mark on the team, as the organization and fan base questioned how much he could catch and whether he could approach the production of his Rookie of the Year 2010 season.

This year, he's the reigning NL MVP and defending his second World Series title in three years. Even if they are his own, he's got some big shoes to fill.

Posey has emerged as the face of the blossoming San Francisco Giants dynasty. A few years ago, nobody would have guessed that an all-American boy would fit so well in such a counter-culture town. Yet, the Giants recently announced a nine-year, $167 million contract extension with Posey, including an option that would keep the clean-shaven catcher in San Francisco through 2022.

With this "mega-deal," Posey has a chance to become not just the face of the Giants but also of baseball itself. One of those guys whom the media adores for sticking with his team, working hard, displaying fundamentals, and exemplifying old-fashioned sportsmanship. Think Derek Jeter or Chipper Jones.

Of course, he'll have to remain scandal-free, and that would break tradition for stars in San Francisco. Yet that has never stopped Giants fans from showing their love. Barry Bonds is still treated like a god when he shows up at the ballpark, and when Tim Lincecum was busted for marijuana possession, it only further endeared him to the community.

Still, it's hard to imagine Buster Posey being anything other than a media darling. And while it may not be what Giants fans are used to, they'll embrace it as long as he keeps putting up the numbers.

The Giants will rely heavily on Posey in 2013, and not just for his production. On a team of party animals and awkward personalities, he'll be the rock that keeps them grounded. He'll need to continue to handle the pitching staff and keep the clubhouse focused. Of course, approaching his MVP numbers wouldn't hurt either. Knowing his work ethic, he'll be up for the challenge, and that's why he's so beloved. He may have an old soul, but around these parts it's a new personality.

Michael Meade lives in San Francisco, and has followed the Giants for 20+ years. He's contributed pieces on the Giants to various sports blogs over the past couple of years.

You can follow Michael on Twitter @mmeade06.

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