Here’s a hot take. Madison Bumgarner taking issue with a batter admiring their dinger is entertaining. Max Muncy admiring their very own dinger is also entertaining.
If you’re a pitcher and you don’t take issue with some loser flaunting their work of art in your face on live TV like Madison Bumgarner does, then I’m going to assume that you don’t care. Madison Bumgarner cares. His livelihood was in that baseball which is now at the bottom of the ocean. His kids’ college tuition depends on it. So, when Muncy doesn’t put his head down and run to first base, it’s a sign of disrespect and any man with stones should take issue with it. This isn’t some cute game. This is work. And Madison Bumgarner is paid millions of dollars to make sure that baseball gets by Max Muncy. How dare Max Muncy make light of such hard work on live TV.
On the flipside, if you take a baseball thrown by the greatest World Series pitcher of all time and deposit it into the ocean on live TV, and you don’t flaunt it, I’ll assume that you don’t care. But, you should care. That baseball is your livelihood and you are paid millions of dollars to make sure that baseball doesn’t get by you.
If you’ve been following me on the Twitters over the last few years, you’ll know that Yasiel Puig is one of my favorite ballplayers. As an Atlanta Braves apologist, I wanted my respective baseball team to get Puig for a long time. That’s right, your resident Nick Markakis fanboy wrote an article about how the Braves should get Puig and move on from Markakis.
While far-left baseball Twitter was crying about it, the whole Puig versus Bumgarner feud was beautiful to me. What a fantastic story in a time when advanced metrics are too often heralded more than the story. Puig was out there having fun, as he should. He realized that Bumgarner took things a bit seriously and knew exactly how to get under his skin, and Bumgarner knew exactly what Puig was doing. Puig mocked Bumgarner and made the now famous “Puig your friend” t-shirts which went viral while Bumgarner continued to not give Puig any respect. IT WAS GLORIOUS.
As a baseball fan, I loved both characters equally. My esteemed co-host, Ken Hendrix, recently spoke about this on a Knockahoma Nation podcast. Ken talked about how BOTH characters are great for the story and I couldn’t agree more.
Baseball NEEDS more conflict. Baseball, as a reflection of our culture (for better or worse) has become this soft bully-free safe zone and it makes me want to vomit at times. A pitcher barely grazes a batter and he’s suspended. A guy like Madison Bumgarner feels disrespected when someone shows him up, and folks don’t see the beauty in it and respond with things like, “let the kids play” like soft robots.
Baseball needs Madison Bumgarner AND Max Muncy and Derek Dietrich. Why? Because baseball is a sport and in sports there is competition and in competition there is conflict. A sport without conflict is just a spreadsheet.