Is Madbum really a monster?

Max Muncy hit a home run off of Madison Bumgarner and watched it soar toward the Bay and Madison Bumgarner reacted predictably and started yelling at Max. Max yelled back and we had one of the great retorts in Pitcher / Hitter history.

Shawn Green who was doing the Dodger analyst after the game said the quote was great because most of the time, the player can’t think of a great comeback line while in the moment but Muncy did and most of us at home could only nod as we’ve all been in a situation where we needed a snappy comeback line but could only think of it after the moment had passed.

Anyway, this article isn’t about Max Muncy though it could be because Max has followed up his “fluky” 2018 with a season that might even be better considering his remarkable improvement on the defensive side of the diamond.

This is about Madison Bumgarner. He infuriates Dodger fans when he gets in the face of the hitters who have big moments off of him. Mad commented on it last night and Jon Weisman tweeted about the comment:

And predictably Dodger fans jumped all over Bumgarner including Jon. But I disagree with most of you for several reasons, but mainly for this one. I just had a hunch based on watching Bumgarner pitch against the Dodgers for almost ten years. What stays with most of us is the Bumgarner who confronted Puig and created the memorable “Don’t look at me” meme.  What I remember however is that Bum never threw at Puig to make a point. He yelled at him, he vented, it was done. I couldn’t remember Bumgarner throwing at a Dodger to “get even” for pimping.  To find out if that was true I went to the trusted Baseball Reference and looked up all the Dodgers that Bumgarner has hit since 2010. It isn’t very many. Bumgarner has hit only eight Dodgers and hasn’t hit any since 2016.  If you take the time to look at this link

Dodgers hitters, hit by Madison Bumgarner since 2010

You will find that only once when he hit Hanley Ramirez in 2014 could it have been on purpose without putting the game in jeopardy since all the other games were within one or two runs. Whatever you think of Madison, I would hope that most of us would agree that he cares too much about winning to put a game in jeopardy to make a point. Mad did hit Puig, but it was back in 2014 and the Giants were down 1 – 0 and the count was 1 -2.

So my point here is simple. I would much rather have a pitcher scream and pout at a hitter and get that out of his system instead of being a silent assassin and waiting for a cheap shot to get back at the hitter. No harm is done by vetting, but real damage is done by the hit by pitch. The Dodgers may have lost a chance for a World Series ring in 2014 when Hanley Ramirez was hit “on purpose” by Joe Kelly.  Some people like to compare Mad to Don Drysdale, but Don Drysdale hit over 150 hitters and did it to make a point. Though I do agree that if anyone had pimped a home run off of Big D there wouldn’t have been any yelling, there would have been a major brouhaha

Does Madison Bumgarner look silly when he confronts the hitter? Sure, is it any more silly than all the various things hitters do now when they are successful? I don’t think so.  His confrontations have added excitement to the game. Where would we be without the “Don’t look at me meme”? Shirtless, and some people would have to find a new twitter name.

I’m sure Madison is a jerk, but does he have the right to yell at players who pimp home runs? In my opinion, he does, just as those players have the right to pimp.

I not so secretly think that Dodger fans like to jump on Madison because he did what Clayton Kershaw could never do. He put his team on his back and carried them to a World Series title even though he was never the pitcher in his prime that Clayton was in his and that was unforgivable.



  1. Steve SD

    I think you’re right on just about every point. I still think we should trade for Madbum–preferably before next Monday. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Faith-Free

    Maybe, at the end of the day, BadGums merely screams out of cowardice.


    • I don’t get this at all. I know it helps to think he’s a coward but nothing in his history, especially his achievements suggest this. Frustration with his inability to make a better pitch is all I think it is.


  3. Jon Weisman

    As was the case on Twitter, you are presenting this as a binary choice: yell at the batter or hit him with a pitch. I not only don’t accept that, I am actively against it.

    It’s not a binary choice for Chris Sale, or Lucas Giolito, or Max Scherzer (not that Scherzer in particular isn’t competitive), or for that matter, Clayton Kershaw. Interestingly, it looks like the heir to Bumgarner could be Walker Buehler, but if he ends up following the same path of unbridled anger, I won’t be on board with that either.

    There is too much anger in this world, Phil. Baseball is a game, and I don’t mean that in some idyllic, Field of Dreams fashion. By definition, baseball is a game. It is competitive, yes, and the stakes are certainly heightened in the major leagues, but its importance does not rise to the level of throwing out the rules of civil society.

    Max Muncy hit a ball 426 feet, which against Madison Bumgarner is a major accomplishment. If isn’t entitled to two seconds of simple reaction to it without getting his head chewed off, it’s simply preposterous. The idea that Bumgarner needs to yell at another player for no good reason to be successful, a) I don’t buy it, and b) even if it is true, I don’t accept it. He has to find another way. Yes, it’s his constitutional right to yell, but to suggest that him yelling is a good thing because it’s the only thing that keeps him from inflicting physical harm … that’s going too far. Our world, and this sport, have more than those two choices.

    As for your last paragraph, I disagree with that as well. Dodger fans are not sublimating their frustration with Kershaw into hating Bumgarner. Dodger fans have been incredibly open about their disappointment in Kershaw’s postseason performance. If Bumgarner weren’t acting out in such a silly manner, Dodger fans would be silent about him — essentially, they would treat him as they treated Tim Lincecum, with grudging respect. It has nothing to do with Bumgarner’s postseason success.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the well thought out reply. I do think Walker is headed down this path as he had no reason to show up Garcia but Dodger fans had no issue with it, which is comical given their reactions to Madbum. It certainly isn’t a side of baseball you want your children exposed to, but showmanship has already replaced sportsmanship and while more entertaining it will have future reverberations. As far as the binary choice, I think I was merely postulating that if given a choice I’d rather have a pitcher vent on the mound than vent by hitting a batter. Most pitchers take neither path which is great for them and baseball. And we can simply disagree on my last paragraph.

      Liked by 2 people

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