Giants Hero Buster Posey Rules, Giants Hater Mat Latos Drools
Sweeter than chocolate-covered candy corn doused in maple syrup.
Buster Posey's fifth-inning grand slam will be forever etched in Giants lore. The silky swing. The extra-long stare, eyes following the ball to the second deck. The been-there-before bat toss. The stadium's patrons collectively taking their seats.
The sweetest of images, though, was Red's pitcher Mat Latos despondently walking toward the dugout milliseconds after his sinker collided with Posey's bat. He didn't have to look back. The crack from the bat told the story.
It was sweet because Latos is the guy who, in February 2011, signed three baseballs for charity with the words "I hate SF" below his name.
"I did it all in fun," he explained at the time. "No disrespect to them. But it's not going to matter what I say because people are going to take it however they want."
When Yahoo! Sports followed up with him about it a few weeks later, though, he said, "I could care less about people in San Francisco, what they think and what they say."
Latos, to be sure, had reason for the hateration. He was on that 2010 San Diego Padres squad that blew a 7.5 game lead in the NL West, losing to the Giants on the final day of the regular season then sitting at home watching their division rival win the championship.
And Latos took his team's collapse like a chump.
From a CBS Sports article that September:
"Baseball works in funny ways," said Latos, now 0-4 with a 10.13 ERA over his past four starts. "The only way I could honestly put it is, we could be like the Giants and go and change our whole lineup, put guys with 'San Francisco Giants' across their jerseys. We didn't."
It's fun to have Latos around. Sports needs rivalries. Sports needs villains. And Latos is certainly willing to play the part. Giants fans should appreciate that.
Because it makes it all the sweeter when Buster Posey smacks his pitch 400-plus feet, sending Latos to the bench and the Giants to the NLCS.