Madison Bumgarner Is The Hero The Home Run Derby Needs
Nothing, and I mean nothing gets the people going like a pitcher hitting a home run. When a pitcher steps into the batter’s box, it’s often a free out. No one expects a pitcher to rake, and no one bats an eyelash when he goes down on three pitches. Maybe he lays down a sacrifice bunt or bloops a single into the outfield every once in awhile. For most pitchers, however, hitting is just a nuisance.
That is anything but the case for San Francisco Giants ace Madison Bumgarner. Bumgarner recorded a no-decision in the Giants’ loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks but stole the spotlight on offense. MadBum put on a show on MLB’s opening day, going 2 for 2 with two home runs and a walk.
Two homers. A total of 838 feet.
— #Statcast (@statcast) April 3, 2017
It is safe to say he does not hit like the stereotypical pitcher. Bumgarner has a sweet swing and brute strength, a combination not often found in pitchers. Though it’s only opening day, I am officially declaring that Madison Bumgarner needs to participate in this season’s Home Run Derby.
In 2015 the MLB amplified the intensity of the Home Run Derby by introducing a timed round bracket format. In my opinion, this made the derby more exciting than ever (excluding the 2002 Home Run Derby, the GOAT). What brings people to watch the derby, however, is the hitters. Giancarlo Stanton and Todd Frazier brought me in front of the TV and my ass was glued to the sofa until the trophy was handed out. This is why Bumgarner needs to be entered in the 2017 Home Run Derby.
As I said before, nothing pumps up a crowd more than a pitcher than can hit dingers, and what better platform to do it on than in the home run derby? Let’s give the people what they want. Last year Madison Bumgarner was on record saying that he “absolutely” wanted to be a part of the derby, but the idea did not make it past the theoretical stage. This year, that has a chance to change. There’s no doubt in my mind that Bumgarner would not only impress in a derby, but he would compete with anyone. In the words of the late Chubbs Peterson: “He’s gonna play, and by God, he’s gonna win”.
Bumgarner’s hitting prowess is not a fluke. The man has country strength and can put balls into the upper deck consistently in batting practice. Do yourself a favor and check out some more of his home runs.
Those aren’t fly balls that are sneaking into the first row. Those are moon shots. Balls that are flying 10+ rows deep. If I was the MLB, I would be drooling over the opportunity to put a power-hitting pitcher into the greatest All-Star event in professional sports. Sure, there are concerns over whether it is a good move for an organization to put their ace into an event like this, but if the man wants to compete, I say let him. The only person getting hurt from MadBum being in the derby is the (un)lucky fan who gets drilled by a ball in the upper deck.
Yes, I know we’re only one day into the season. That does not prevent me from being excited that a pitcher is leading the league in home runs. Having been deprived of Major League Baseball for the past five months, I’m in overreact and make-bold-predictions mode. In every season there is a limited amount of time where you can be obnoxious and claim your team is going 162-0 or that a pitcher will stay on pace to hit 324 home runs. In a week we will all be rational baseball fans again, living and dying with each win and loss while painting the playoff picture in our heads well before the All-Star break. Allow me to overreact while I can.
P.S. Don’t think your 465 ft. home run went unnoticed, Jake Arrieta.
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