The story of the 2011 Giants is injuries. No matter what happens this weekend against the Diamondbacks, no matter if there is a great comeback or a complete collapse, when we look back at this season the narrative arch is defined by the disabled list.
As the Giants have fallen from 4 games up to 6 back in the last month there has been a lot of blame assigned and attempts to figure out what went wrong. And there’s room for that, but, face it Giants fans, 2011 is all about the time lost to injuries.
More to the point, 2011 will be remembered as the year the Giants lost Buster Posey for the season. I think in 5 years from now someone will point out that actually a lot of other Giants were hurt in 2011 and we’ll be like “oh year, I forgot about how bad that got,” but the thing we will all remember, forever, is Buster writhing around in pain on the ground after Scott Cousins barreled in to him.
If a miracle happens and the Giants do end up in the playoffs, it will be despite losing Buster for the season. This is the Patriots without Tom Brady, the Niners without Joe Montana, the Giants in 2005 without Bonds. The Patriots are probably the best comparison: good enough to hang in, but not the same team (i.e. no Steve Young).
The Giants began to make the transition from good to great when Buster solidified himself in the middle of our lineup in June last year, and they were severely diminished the moment it became clear his season was over. He is the hinge moment in the story of both seasons.
I’m still hoping against hope the Giants pull this out. They have a pitching staff for the ages that is capable of overcoming a lot. I also still believe, strongly, that the future of this club is bright. But as time goes by history will tell us that 2011 was not about losing Pablo, Brian, Pat, Brandon, Cody, Andres, Nate, Jonathan, Barry, Sergio, Freddy, and several others for stretches of time, it was about losing Buster.