If you saw the final out of the Mets’ 4-3 win over the Nationals last night at Citi Field, you might have noticed that Jenrry Mejia added a new wrinkle to his usual post-save “stomp” celebration. Check it out here. Yes, Mejia gestured in the general direction of the batter, Ian Desmond, before “reeling him in” like a fish. A little silly, but ultimately pretty harmless and fun.
According to James Wagner of the Washington Times, Nationals outfielder Denard Span wasn’t fond of the celebration while others didn’t take issue publicly. Mets manager Terry Collins initially defended Mejia’s post-save celebration, but apparently something has changed overnight.
Collins is right. We like our athletes to be joyless robots devoid of any personality. Was Mejia’s post-save celebration a little over the top? Yes, it was. Of course it was. But professional sports are supposed to be about entertainment. And it surely was that. Ultimately, it comes down to the following question. What is more stupid: Mejia’s post-save celebration or intentionally throwing at someone because it makes you mad? That’s a pretty easy answer for me. This is why the Mets — and very often, baseball in general — can’t have fun things.
We welcomed “Mason Saunders” into our lives on Sunday, thanks to The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly and Zach Buchanan. Mason Saunders is the alias of Diamondbacks starter Madison Bumgarner when he competes in rodeos, something he’s done as recently as December (when he was still a free agent).
Given that one of Bumgarner’s other extracurricular activities, riding dirt bikes, resulted in a serious injury, many have been wondering how the Diamondbacks would react to the news that the lefty they inked to a five-year contract two months ago is roping steers in his spare time. It seems like the Diamondbacks just accept that that’s who Bumgarner is.
On Tuesday, Baggarly and Buchanan answered some frequently asked questions about the whole Bumgarner-rodeo thing. They mentioned that former Giants manager Bruce Bochy, in a radio interview on KNBR, slipped in that Bumgarner also hunts bears in his off-time. Bochy said, “You think, ‘Madison, you’re looking at signing your biggest contract ever to set yourself up for life and you’re going to risk it on the rodeo?’ But he’s got confidence. I mean there’s some stories I do know that he probably wouldn’t want me to share, with him bear hunting, and the tight situations he’s gotten himself into.”
As Baggarly and Buchanan explained, when Bumgarner — I mean, Saunders — is roping steers, he’s not taking much of a risk. They wrote, “The header and heeler don’t chase the steer around the ring. Each trial is more or less a one-shot deal and it’s over in less than 10 seconds. If the header or heeler misses on the first attempt, then no time is recorded.” Bumgarner has also said he ropes with his non-pitching hand. Hunting bears is an entirely different level of risk, one would imagine. That being said, no one seemed to be surprised that Bumgarner moonlights as a serious rodeo competitor. That’s likely also the case that he, as Bochy puts it, goes “mano a mano” against bears.