SAN FRANCISCO — Buster Posey gave it the old college try when he was asked what it felt like to have Prince Fielder's many pounds barreling down the third base line toward him in the early innings of a scoreless World Series game.
But the San Francisco Giants catcher quickly failed in trying to describe the indescribable.
"Umm, you want to try to make sure you're light on your feet," Posey said after the Giants' 2-0 win over Detroit in Thursday's Game 2 of the World Series. "And, umm ... just .. uh … I don't know ... You just have to be there to know what it's like."
Posey's escape route elicited a lot of laughs from the reporters around his locker and probably because it was mostly true. How can you ever know what it's like to address 275 listed pounds as it comes down the line unless you've been in that spot?
While Posey came up short in painting a picture, the truth is that his verbal water colors weren't necessary. His successful swipe tag of Fielder in the second inning killed the Tigers' best chance of scoring a run on Thursday night and featured some great defensive fundamentals that every Little League coach should be teaching his players.
The play, which began with Delmon Young grounding a ball down the left-field line and into the bullpen, also featured a few aspects less worthy of imitation.
After scooping up the ball from a deflection off the wall, Giants left fielder Gregor Blanco sailed his throw over the head of shortstop Brandon Crawford. Such a miss might have meant that Fielder would have completed his trip all the way from first for a 1-0 Tigers lead, but second baseman Marco Scutaro was backing up Crawford. He spied Tigers third base coach Gene Lamont waving Fielder around home and Scutaro thought his responsibilities would end with screaming to Crawford there was a play at the plate to be made. But his need as the play's backup was exercised as the ball came directly to him.
Scutaro caught the ball without incident and wheeled around to fling it home. Posey was standing off to the plate and was preparing for a swipe tag as has been his custom since breaking his leg in a collision with the Marlins' Scott Cousins last season. The Giants catcher made a great play by gathering the ball and swinging around his glove, but he was also aided by a couple of things.
The first was Fielder's decision to take the most direct approach possible.
"You get a feel when the guy's coming down the line," Posey said. "I could feel that he was more directly coming into the plate instead of going for a sweep tag."
The second was a great call by home plate umpire Dan Iassogna. While it'll never be mentioned the next time he blows a call or squeezes a strike zone, it was a difficult call to make as Posey applied his glove to Fielder's rear end at an angle and speed that could not have been easy to see.
Lamont immediately drew criticism for sending Fielder from first with no outs in the inning and he later said he was having second thoughts for being so liberal with his waving arm.
"If I had it to do over I probably would have held him," Lamont said. "I know we haven't been scoring runs and I got overly agressive I guess."
Lamont is right, of course. But if Posey and Scutaro don't execute that play at a very high level, Fielder is safe and maybe the storyline from Game 2 is quite different. The play was more about the things San Francisco did right than what Detroit did not.