White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson hit a prodigious two-run home run off of Royals starter Brad Keller in the fourth inning of Wednesday afternoon’s game in Chicago. Anderson celebrated by throwing his bat back towards his dugout.
MLB celebrated Anderson’s achievement as such:
Predictably, the next time Anderson stepped to the plate, leading off the bottom of the sixth inning, Keller threw a fastball at him. The benches emptied. Keller and Anderson were ejected, as was White Sox manager Rick Renteria.
10 days ago, Pirates pitcher Chris Archer intentionally threw at Reds infielder Derek Dietrich. I predicted, correctly, that Archer would get a mere five-game suspension, which didn’t even result in a missed start. Archer essentially had his start pushed back one day; he started on April 7 and 13, his team’s eighth and 13th games of the season. Archer was also fined, but hardly enough to outweigh the social incentives for retaliation.
Just as MLB needed to suspend Archer for a much longer period of time, the league needs to make Keller’s fine and suspension count. MLB can’t, at both times, promote “let the kids play,” then do nothing when the “kids” who “play” have baseballs intentionally whipped at their bodies. Based on precedent, however, Keller will receive a five-game suspension and an undisclosed fine, and pitchers will continue to hurl baseballs at batters whenever their feelings get hurt.
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.”