I can’t remember a time when I was so excited for the baseball season to start – and that seems to be the case for a lot of Toronto Blue Jays fans across the country. After their run to the playoffs last year, I think the whole country wants to see them do that again, but even more.
Obviously, most of my attention will be paid to the Jays this year, but over on the west coast in the NL, it’s hard not to get excited about the San Francisco Giants. With 3 championships since 2010, they’re arguably the most dominant big league team since the Yankees of the late 90’s. Though they missed the playoffs last year, the previous year they beat out the Kansas City Royals to win the World Series, and anyone who beats the Royals is alright in my books.
At the top of the Giants’ starting rotation is a young man who has distinguished himself as one of the best pitchers in all of baseball: Madison Bumgarner.
— Majr League Baseball (@MLB_RR) April 4, 2016
Now I’ve loved the Jays since I was a kid, but this past summer was the first where I had access to cable TV all summer and could actually watch the majority of their games. With that, and the fact that the Jays and Giants are in different leagues, I wasn’t familiar with Bumgarner before last summer, when I just happened to catch a Giants-Nationals game one Sunday afternoon. That one game was just about all the introduction I needed though (although it wasn’t until later I would perfect the spelling of his name).
Madison Bumgartner is legit. 14 K’s, a home run, a complete game shutout, and some pretty impressive snot rockets before the final pitch. — Ken Elrick II (@DrPatchbeard) August 16, 2015
Yes, on top of his prowess in both pitching AND hitting (we’ll get to the hitting in a minute), he’s known for his habit of blowing snot rockets on the mound.
So much so that there is an entire blog dedicated solely to tracking Bumgarner’s snot rockets. Seriously. You can find it HERE. According to said blog, last year in 32 starts, Bumgarner blew 288 snot rockets. There’s even a breakdown of all the different situations in which he blew them. Kudos to the person or people behind that genius blog!
Like I mentioned, he’s pretty damn good both on the mound AND at the plate. Like I said, in that first game of his I watched, he not only struck out 14 batters, but clobbered a home run to help his cause.
But he’s pretty good at doing that. Check out this Grand Slam he nailed back in 2014:
And of course he blew a snot rocket after completing his round trip.
The San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers have one of the longest and most heated rivalries in baseball, with some considering it the greatest rivalry of all time. So you can imagine the games they play are pretty intense.
Last year, the two had a game in which their two aces – Bumgarner for the Giants, and Clayton Kershaw for the Dodgers – battled against each other.
It was May 21, 2015, and to that point, Kershaw had never surrendered a home run to another pitcher. Bumgarner was about to change that.
A pretty nice piece of hitting to break the scoreless tie in that game.
Then yesterday, history repeated itself. The broadcast had just shown a replay of that dinger above when MadBum got to the plate and launched another one out of the yard.
Kershaw still hasn’t given up a home run to any other pitcher, but now he’s given up two to Bumgarner.
And he can’t f***ing believe it.
As Don Cherry would say, “Kids, don’t read lips!”
The two plays are eerily similar too, if you look at them side by side.
This year in interleague play, the AL East faces the NL West, meaning that we’ll get to see the Jays play the Giants this year! We won’t get to see Bumgarner take the mound at Rogers Centre, but the Jays will be visiting AT&T Park May 9-11!