“Angry Birds” meets home run derby.
That’s the simplest way to describe “Buster Bash,” the addictive new mobile app that has sports fans swiping at their touch screens to launch line drives as they play through the life of Giants catcher Buster Posey, from smacking wiffle balls in his backyard to smashing long bombs in the Majors.
“I’m really into playing games on my phone,” Posey tells me from Los Angeles, hours before Wednesday’s Giants-Dodgers game. “I’m a fan of ‘Angry Birds,’ and I’ve played that a lot, so we wanted to have something that had the same type of feel, where you could pick it up when you had a free minute but wasn’t too complicated to get through. It’s one of those games that you enjoy playing and is a great way to pass the time.”
Posey is the first Major League Baseball player to boast his own app, something the All-Star especially appreciates because of his own mobile gaming habits.
“One game that I’ve been playing a lot is ‘Super Stick Golf,’” Posey says. “It’s really simple, and it’s similar in a sense to ‘Angry Birds’ because you have to hit the right angle and the right trajectory to complete each hole. That one really hooked me.”
As far as the reaction Posey has received from his teammates, he says it’s a major league clubhouse, so you have to expect some ribbing when one of the boys gets his own app. But at the same time, he’s seen some of his teammates playing his game and having fun.
“It was pretty funny, because the first day the game came out, I’d see guys swiping at their phones, so I had an idea they were trying it out,” Posey says. “I expected to get some grief from the guys, but for the most part, they’ve given me some real positive feedback.
“The game’s addictive ... not that we’re trying to addict people to anything, but when it comes to these games, I think we have a good one.”
ESPN Playbook: Tim Lincecum has been a big “FIFA” gamer for years. Do you ever jump on and play him?
Posey: I don’t play the console games too much. I did a little bit growing up, but what I enjoy about my iPhone and the mobile games is you already have your phone with you, so it’s easy if you’re on a bus ride to just take it out and play. We do have a few guys on the team who are on that Xbox a lot, though.
For someone in only his third season, you’ve had some pretty crazy things already happen to you. As a rookie you helped the Giants win their first World Series since being in San Francisco. The next year, you’re taken out in one of the sickest injuries I remember seeing. And now this season, you’re not only back, but people are talking MVP. What’s the ride been like living through all of this?
Yeah, there’s been a lot of stuff happening over the last few years, and I’m really fortunate to play on some good teams and with a good group of guys. Obviously, the World Series run in 2010, that’s something you can only dream of as a kid, so to have it actually happen is just unbelievable. Then bouncing back from this injury, it’s been a good year and we’re in a good spot now with just over a month to go. There should be some fun games down the stretch.
How’s your leg holding up? Has playing first sporadically this year helped?
I think since the All-Star break I’ve only played first two or three times, so I’ve been primarily behind the plate, and my leg feels great. I couldn’t be happier with how it feels.
You’ve been on fire hitting the ball since the break. Did you make any adjustments that have helped, or are you just on a hot streak?
Not really any big adjustments. I’ve just been going up trying to have a good plan and see the ball. I think that’s the main thing. Sometimes we forget that the most important thing to do is to see the ball first. I’ve been putting my work in before every game, then during game time I’m getting up there and just competing.
You caught Matt Cain’s perfect game earlier this season. How gratifying is it as a catcher to call a perfect game? I think a lot of people overlook the catcher’s role in a game like that.
For me, that’s something I always hoped I’d be able to do, whether it was a no-hitter or a perfect game. You never know when something like that will happen, and it’s a lot like the World Series where you just want to enjoy it as much as possible because you’re never guaranteed to experience something like that again. It’s right up there with the World Series experience for me, because as a fan of the game you realize just how rare it is. I was just honored to be a part of it.
The Giants' rotation features some of the best arms in the league. From a catcher’s perspective, how nasty are these guys to hit against?
I don’t think it’s a starting rotation that anybody looks forward to facing, that’s for sure. They’re all a little different, and I think that makes things even tougher on guys because you’re facing different pitches each day. They’re a blast to catch.
When Cain was throwing his perfect game, was one pitch working better than the rest, or did he just have total command that night?
He had everything going. In, down, up, out... he has four pitches and he could pretty much command them wherever he wanted to the whole game. It was like he was playing a video game.
How big is the addition of Hunter Pence to the Giants' lineup?
It’s really big. Hunter is a guy who is a dynamic player. He hits for power, he’s a big, strong guy with speed, and he plays a good outfield. We were all really excited when we found out he was coming over from Philly.
Is it even bigger now that you guys have lost Melky Cabrera?
I think it definitely helps, plus we got Pablo [Sandoval] back from injury from his two-week stint on the DL, so that helps, too. But having Hunter is big, especially with Melky being out, because Hunter is a guy who can drive in runs. He can get on base and do some different things, so it’s really big for us.
What was your reaction when you heard the news that Melky was getting suspended?
I think it was the same as everybody else. It was a little bit of shock and then just disappointed, too.
You guys are battling the Dodgers for first place in the NL West. Is it more fun to face the team’s oldest rival for the title? Do any of the old Giants legends come back and share the history between the two clubs?
I think it doesn’t get any better than this. It’s great for not just the players, because we enjoy it, but it’s great for Giants fans and Dodgers fans and the game of baseball. It’s been such a storied rivalry, and I think the way this division is coming down to the wire, it’s going to be a lot of fun.
You should’ve added some Dodgers in “Buster Bash” so we could hit some home runs against them? There’s nothing I enjoy more in baseball video games than blasting home runs against virtual Dodgers.
[Laughs.] I don’t know how well that would go over.