Buster Posey shouldn’t quit his day job, but if he ever did he’d do just fine as a commercial actor.
The three-time World Series champion showed off some surprising comedic chops last year for an Esurance ad and he’s back at it in 2016. Working with the exclusive auto insurance partner of Major League Baseball, the Giants catcher is proving to be a natural not only behind the plate, but also in front of the camera.
Before the Giants swept the Diamondbacks last weekend, we talked to the 2012 NL MVP about some of baseball’s early season hot button issues, teammate Brandon Crawford’s DJing skills, and how he’s becoming the Blake Griffin of baseball commercials.
(This interview has been edited and condensed.)
Should baseball outlaw the defensive shift?
It definitely makes hitting more challenging. I think you’re seeing shifts on guys that aren’t necessarily traditional pull hitters. The scouting reports are so detailed now that you can pull up spray charts on somebody that has 100 at-bats and there’s probably going to be a somewhat of a pattern that you can adjust the defense to have a higher probability of being in the right spot. Having said that, I don’t know, I think I’m on the fence with it. For example, [last Thursday] the Diamondbacks shifted on me, the second baseman was on the other side of second, the shortstop was in his traditional spot, the third baseman as well, and the first baseman was way over. I kind of feel like I should be good enough to hit a ball through the right side. I don’t have an answer for you now. It is an interesting topic.
The Cubs walked Bryce Harper six times on Mother’s Day and hit him with another pitch. Is taking the bat out of one of the game’s best hitters good for baseball?
Everybody’s going to have a different opinion on that. Personally for me, I’m trying to win the game any way possible. So if that’s what it takes then that’s what you have to do.
Harper made a few headlines when he wore a Make Baseball Fun Again hat back in April, basically championing the idea that it’s ok to showboat a little or flip your bat after crushing a home run. So I’m curious where you fall on the whole Make Baseball Fun Again/bat flip debate? Does baseball need to lighten up?
I think baseball’s fun. I understand the premise behind the slogan, but in a way you’re saying baseball’s not fun already and I don’t agree with that. I think millions of people think baseball’s fun regardless. Guy’s can do what they want to do. I think baseball, again, is something I’ve had fun with since I was five years old so Make Baseball Fun Again doesn’t resonate with me.
And the bat flip debate?
I’m not ever going to be a big bat flip guy. I don’t really care. But the guy on the mound might care, so that’s a risk [laughs].
You and Madison Bumgarner have a unique relationship, growing up together in the Giants organization and winning three titles together. But I’ve read how you’re able to push his buttons a little and get under his skin. So are you constantly pranking him until he blows his stack?
[Laughs] I can’t reveal any details. It’s just anything and everything. It’s spur of the moment stuff. It’s more just, not necessarily to try and make him better performance wise. I don’t have to do that. He’s ready to go. It’s more that it’s just a long season and we’ve known each other for a long time. I’m the oldest of four, I have three siblings, and I think I kind of grew up aggravating and picking at them. So I need somebody now to aggravate and pick at.
Who controls the music in the Giants clubhouse?
And what is he playing?
He’s basically playing R&B, rap, hip-hop; that’s his sweet spot.
How did he become the team DJ?
How did he? That’s a good question. Some days I want to oust him. It’s been a couple of years now.
And what would you put on in place of what he’s playing?
Just mix it up. He doesn’t necessarily mix it up. I don’t mind the music all the time. But he’s probably going to get mad at me if he reads this.
You didn’t get off the hottest of starts this season. You got off to a slow start in 2015. As you get older is there something about April that just doesn’t click for you?
I don’t know. I wish I batted .400 with 10 homers in April. You know it’s just part of the ebbs and flows of the season. It’s a long season so you’ve got to try and focus on each day.
What’s the craziest slump busting advice you’ve ever received?
Nothing comes to my mind.
No g-string recommendations?
I leave that for Aubrey Huff.
Who is the toughest pitcher to face in the game today?
If you go on what he’s done against us overt the last five, six years, it’s [Clayton] Kershaw. I think [Jake] Arrieta is in the conversation right now and his stuff—he’s got three really dominant pitches—and Kershaw is right there. I’d say it’s a toss-up between those two.
How closely do you guys follow the Warriors?
We’re watching them as long as we’re not playing. The game that Steph [Curry] scored 17 in overtime, we were playing that night, but when I was walking out—I walk out through the field—and it was pretty cool; the Giants had the game on the Jumbotron in centerfield. And some of the fans had stuck around to watch it.
Have you guys had Steph and the team over for batting practice?
No. We haven’t. A few of them came out last year after they won, but they haven’t been out this year.
Why no BP?
I’m not the right person to ask.
You’re teaming up with Esurance this season, why did you guys collaborate again?
I think the partnership was great last year. I had a great time doing the commercial you mentioned. This one, this year was really fun. The part where I was snoring, I had to go back in my memory and recall some of my early days if I was sleeping in the same room as my dad because he was a bad snorer. I tried to remember how he snored and sounded. Fortunately for my wife, I’m not a snorer so she doesn’t have to put up with that. I’m not sure how my mom has done it all these years.
So that wasn’t dubbed in?
[Laughs] No. That was all me.
Are you the Blake Griffin of baseball? He’s the one guy making consistently original and funny commercials in basketball and you’re kind of following suit in baseball. Are you just a natural? Did you take drama classes back in high school?
I didn’t do anything in high school. I just have fun with it. I think I go into a shoot with a group like Esurance knowing there’s going to be a good director and good scripts and I’m just not trying to take myself too seriously. I think it’s as simple as that. This isn’t really my job so there isn’t really a ton of pressure on me to put together a great performance.
Do your teammates bust your chops when they see these commercials?
Oh, of course. All the time.