HOME PLATE HERO
After missing most of the 2011 season following a devastating collision at the plate, the Giants' catcher hit .336 with 24 home runs and 103 RBIs to earn the NL MVP.
DAN PATRICK:How consumed were you with the AL MVP race between Miguel Cabrera [the winner] and Mike Trout?
BUSTER POSEY: Probably not as consumed as everyone else. It was fun for me to watch. As a fan of the game, I found it very intriguing. The years those guys had were historic. I would have hated to have to vote on that one. It could have gone either way.
DP:What's the most important statistic for a hitter?
BP: I still think it's about driving in runs. Of course you have to have people on base. But driving in runs is how you're going to win a game. Especially for a team like we have in San Francisco with a great pitching staff. If you're able to get these guys some runs, you have a good chance of winning.
DP:How important is the backstory attached to an MVP candidate?
BP: It probably does play a factor. What Trout did as a 20-year old rookie ... it's hard to wrap your mind around. Cabrera winning the Triple Crown ... I hear a lot of people acting like the Triple Crown isn't as great an accomplishment as it used to be. For me, it's the opposite. In today's game, with the matchups late in the game and great relievers—each team has a guy throwing mid-to-upper 90s with a nasty slider or split. To win a Triple Crown in a year where there are so many guys who excel in batting average and home runs is a great accomplishment.
DP:Who would you have voted for?
BP: [Laughs.] I really don't know. I think it's great for baseball because there's been a lot of debate.
DP:You've collected a lot of hardware already, and you've been playing only three years.
BP: I've been very fortunate. I've had great opportunities since I've been here in San Francisco. Our ownership and management have put some great players on the field. I wouldn't be able to receive these awards without the help of many others.
DP:If I told you a week after you were injured in 2011 you were going to win the 2012 NL MVP, what would you have done?
BP: I probably would have left [the studio]. To me that was never part of the thought process. After the injury [all I wanted to do] was get back on my feet. And be able to start on Opening Day. That was still in question during spring training because there were a few setbacks along the way.
DP:What did the injury do for your love of the game?
BP: Increased it, no doubt about it. I've always loved baseball. After my injury I saw how quickly this game can be gone. Hopefully [that thought] can be something I carry with me the rest of my career. I just have a better understanding of how privileged I am to play this game.
DP:Do you let your twins play with the trophy?
BP: They're a little too young for that. Right now they'd be slobbering on it and trying to break it apart and eat it.
This week takes on to see who has the better tailgating scene. Go to SI.com/grillseekers to learn who comes out on top.
I don't want people to think that I'm on this pedestal. Collin Klein—he's perfect, he has it all together, or whatever that persona looks like. I don't want people to view me that way because I know that I'm just another guy. I'm so far from perfect. Just ask my wife."
—COLLIN KLEIN, Kansas State QB, on his willingness to talk openly about his personal life
I asked former Lakers G.M. Jerry West if expectations are too high in L.A. "Way too high," West said. "The [Lakers] have names, and names don't win championships. When I look at this team I see flaws." ... Jimmie Johnson explained why NASCAR drivers have to be careful that conflicts on the track don't carry over after the race: "When you get out of your car and see a bunch of mad crew guys ... especially [if you're a] shorter guy ... you want to get back in the car where [you're] as big as anyone else." ... Vikings QB Christian Ponder grew up admiring how John Elway and Peyton Manning barked orders at the line, but he noted something curious about his fellow signal-callers. "It's interesting that when quarterbacks talk normally, they sound one way," Ponder said. "When they get up to the line of scrimmage they have this voice that's completely different." ... Former Steeler Hines Ward told me no one wears purple around the team the week before Ravens games. "When you put on purple gear," Ward said, "whatever you have is probably going to end up in the trash can."
MICHAEL J. LEBRECHT II/1DEUCE3 PHOTOGRAPHY (PATRICK)
MICHAEL J. LEBRECHT II/1DEUCE3 PHOTOGRAPHY (HELMETS)
BRAD MANGIN (POSEY)
GENE J. PUSKAR/AP (WARD)
DAMIAN STROHMEYER (PONDER)
TOM PENNINGTON/GETTY IMAGES (JOHNSON)
JOHN W. MCDONOUGH (WEST)