The Giants won their home opener Monday against the Arizona Diamondbacks 4-1, but not before young starting pitcher Taijuan Walker threw a 94-mph fastball that hit star player Buster Posey square on the helmet and silenced the crowd. As the Chronicle puts it, "The happiness of the Giants’ home opener vanished in the bottom of the first" just after that errant pitch, and the crowds in the stands, mostly made up of diehards who took the afternoon off for this, were angry and unforgiving, booing Walker through the rest of his game and lobbing threats, and continuing to boo him right off the field when he finally got pulled out in the bottom of the sixth.
As KRON 4 reports, coach Bruce Bochy sounded positive after the game, despite the drama of the moment and the potential for a concussion that could put the Giants' undisputed team leader out of commission for weeks, or worse. "It’s a scary moment, dangerous moment,” Bochy said. "It’s one of the worst sounds you can hear in baseball, the ball hitting the helmet. It’s a scary moment. There’s been a lot of damage to hitters hit in the head." But, he said, Posey would be re-evaluated Tuesday and he said, "He’s doing good. He’s doing fine."
Backup catcher Nick Hundley stepped into the game and ran to first base for Posey, and Posey was not hospitalized, but it was an inauspicious beginning to the 2017 season, given injuries that have plagued the team in recent years.
As the Chronicle recalls, Brandon Belt was hit in the face with a throw and put out of commission with concussion symptoms for most of 2014, and Joe Panik missed 23 games last season due to a concussion. Also, Posey's 2011 season was ended after just 45 games when he got run down at home plate by Florida outfielder Scott Cousins, shattering his ankle leading to a terrible, odd-year showing for the Giants.
It's the superstition that surrounds the game of baseball that cast the pall over Monday's game, regardless of the outcome of this one potential injury. It's another odd-numbered year, after all, so fans are already setting expectations low except for SFist's own Joe Kukura, who declared already that we're going all the way (knock on wood).
Let's all say a quiet prayer for Posey, who's come back from much worse in this his eighth season in the Major League. And let's try to let bygones be bygones since Walker's pitch did not look at all intentional. (Also, Giants pitcher Matt Moore hit Arizona’s David Peralta with a pitch in the eighth inning, and that also looked like accident.)
And let's put this odd-number thing to rest, please?
Update: Posey has shown concussion symptoms and is being placed on a seven-day disabled list, as CBS 5 reports.