We wrote last night about the ridiculously and stupidly macho baloney from Kirk Gibson and the Diamondabcks. In short: they retaliated for what was almost certainly an accidental beaning — or, maybe, some old hard feelings over past encounters with the Brewers — by intentionally plunking Ryan Braun. The dumbest part was, even if the retaliation was justified, it came at an awful time, because plunking Braun loaded the bases for the Brewers’ hottest hitter, Jonathan Lucroy, who immediately hit a grand slam. In a game that was close and still winnable for the Brewers.
After the game, Brewers starter Kyle Lohse had this to say about the Dbacks’ strategy:
“You know what? They won tough-guy points today. But I don’t know where the stats are for those. You’re going to play tough-guy stuff? Go ahead. We’re winning games.”
That sort of instant karma is pretty damn satisfying. But really, given that the Dbacks’ very own GM is on record talking about how it’s a team value and strategy to hit opposing batters, I would hope that in addition to the instant karma, someone at MLB — all of whom I’m pretty sure have Tony La Russa’s telephone number — do something about it. Because there’s no place for this sort of garbage in the game.
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.”