If you read me on a regular basis,you know I’m a staunch supporter of National League baseball and the way the game is played in that league. All nine players play the field and all nine players go up to bat, including the pitcher. That’s the way the game was founded and how it should be played. Sure,the pitcher doesn’t hit very well and is an automatic out a lot of the time,but when a pitcher can hit and hit well,I like seeing that.
Enter Madison Bumgarner.
The Giants ace pitcher not only delivers with his arm, but he also helps his own cause in a game with his bat. In 2014 and 2015,Bumgarner hit nine home runs and had a batting average of .258 in 2014 and .247 in 2015 which earned him back-to-back Silver Slugger awards as a pitcher. This season he already has two home runs adding to his career total of 13. In his last 190 plate appearances,he has 11 home runs,which puts him in great company with sluggers like Mike Trout and Bryce Harper.
In addition to being a pitcher who can rake, he also has some amazing batting practice sessions. Like this here:
Bumgarner wants to be in the Home Run Derby this year in San Diego,but there are and have been concerns that he’s going to get hurt while batting.
“Your initial feelings are to keep him out of it because I know how competitive he is and how hard he’ll swing,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said, “but at the same time I think it’ll create interest with fans getting to watch one of the best pitchers in the game swing the bat.”
I don’t see that happening because he takes batting practice every day and the pitches thrown to him are going 60 mph at the most. Plus,this is a man who rode on a horse before a game to deliver the team’s 2014 championship banner to the flagpole in right-center field and rescued a baby jackrabbit from inside a rattlesnake. I don’t think being in the Home Run Derby would be any more dangerous than that,not to mention participating in the All-Star Game presents much more danger.
Another concern would be from regular position players who would participate in the contest being shown up by,of all players,a pitcher. I also disagree with this because while it’s entertaining to see the best hitters with pop taking part in this, Bumgarner has shown time and again that he’s on their level and might have what it takes to not only participate in the contest,but maybe also win it.
While I understand the concerns of the Giants management and field manager as well as other players, it would be a lot of fun to see him in the contest. Though the Home Run Derby doesn’t need any freshening up by any means, Bumgarner’s potential appearance would generate a lot of interest from baseball fans everywhere,not just National League fans like myself and give some life to the event.
I hope the Giants do the right thing and let Bum rake, it’s the right thing to do!