One person’s theory on the horrible infield-fly call

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First and most obviously, Andrelton Simmons’ pop to left field was too deep to be calling an infield-fly rule on. That wasn’t a routine play for Pete Kozma. It certainly wasn’t a ball any shortstop would have thought of dropping in an effort to get a double play. It wasn’t an infield fly.

That said, here’s my theory: the only reason that ball dropped was because left-field umpire Sam Holbrook yelled “infield fly!” Kozma didn’t lose the ball in the lights. He peeled off at the last second because someone called him off. It wasn’t left fielder Matt Holliday, who was as shocked as anyone that the ball fell in. Perhaps it was a fan with a particularly strong set of lungs, but I doubt it. The park was plenty noisy at the time, and Kozma wasn’t at all close to the stands.

I think Holbrook yelled before he put his hand up and Kozma thought Holliday was calling him off. That would also be the best explanation for the umpires not reversing the call. If they thought the only reason the ball dropped in was because Kozma heard Holbrook yell, then it certainly wouldn’t have been fair to put Simmons on first.

Anyway, that’s my theory. Hopefully crew chief Jeff Kellogg will be open to discussing it after the game.

Madison Bumgarner has been competing in rodeos under a fake name

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The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly and Zach Buchanan report that Diamondbacks starter Madison Bumgarner has been competing in rodeos under a fake name as recently as December. The fake name is Mason Saunders. Bumgarner explains that “Mason” is shortened from “Madison,” while “Saunders” is his wife’s maiden name.

Bumgarner — err, Saunders — and one of his rodeo partners, Jaxson Tucker, won $26,560 in a team-roping rodeo competition in December. The Rancho Rio Arena posted a picture of the pair on Facebook, highlighting that they roped four steers in 31.36 seconds.

As Baggarly and Buchanan point out, Bumgarner also pointed out in a rodeo competition last March, just a couple days before pitching in a Cactus League game versus the Athletics, back when he was still with the Giants.

Bumgarner suffered bruised ribs and a left shoulder AC sprain in 2017 when he got into a dirt bike accident. Given that, Bumgarner’s latest extracurricular activity does raise a concern for the Diamondbacks, who inked him to a five-year, $85 million contract two months ago. Baggarly and Buchanan asked Bumgarner about such a concern. Bumgarner referred them to the club’s managing partner Ken Kendrick. Kendrick directed them to GM Mike Hazen. Hazen declined speaking about “specific contract language.” For what it’s worth, Bumgarner says he primarily uses his right hand to rope.

The jig is up on Bumgarner’s hobby. He jokingly said to The Athletic’s pair, “I’m nervous about this interview right now.” He added, “I’m upset with both you two.”