Madison Bumgarner/Yasiel Puig is arguably baseball’s most famous active rivalry between two individual players. Bumgarner has never quite liked the cut of Puig’s jib since Puig burst onto the scene in 2013, taking it upon himself to dictate how players should act on the field. The Giants’ and Dodgers’ benches have emptied on more than one occasion as a result of Puig and Bumgarner’s distate for one another.
Though the Reds lost to the Giants on Sunday afternoon, Puig got the best of Bumgarner, drilling a solo home run to left-center field leading off the top of the sixth inning.
Puig didn’t even really gawk at his home run, and it would have been completely justified if he had. The ball left the bat at 103 MPH and traveled 388 feet.
Nevertheless, Bumgarner was salty after the game. Per The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly, Bumgarner — dripping with sarcasm — said of Puig, “He’s a quick study. It only took him seven years to learn how to hit that pitch.”
Bumgarner has had the lion’s share of success against Puig during their respective careers. Entering Sunday, Bumgarner limited Puig to a .217/.294/.391 triple-slash line with a pair of home runs and three RBI in 51 plate appearances. Bumgarner hasn’t exactly dominated Puig — certainly not to the point where he can chide Puig for taking “seven years to learn” how to hit him. But that’s just Bumgarner being Bumgarner.
On Sunday, we learned that while the Nationals would continue to pay their minor leaguers throughout the month of June, their weekly stipend would be lowered by 25 percent, from $400 to $300. In an incredible act of solidarity, Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle and his teammates put out a statement, saying they would be covering the missing $100 from the stipends.
After receiving some criticism, the Nationals reversed course, agreeing to pay their minor leaguers their full $400 weekly stipend.
Doolittle and co. have not withdrawn their generosity. On Wednesday, Doolittle released another statement, saying that he and his major league teammates would continue to offer financial assistance to Nationals minor leaguers through the non-profit organization More Than Baseball.
The full statement:
Washington Nationals players were excited to learn that our minor leaguers will continue receiving their full stipends. We are grateful that efforts have been made to restore their pay during these challenging times.
We remain committed to supporting them. Nationals players are partnering with More Than Baseball to contribute funds that will offer further assistance and financial support to any minor leaguers who were in the Nationals organization as of March 1.
We’ll continue to stand with them as we look forward to resuming our 2020 MLB season.
Kudos to Doolittle and the other Nationals continuing to offer a helping hand in a trying time. The players shouldn’t have to subsidize their employers’ labor expenses, but that is the world we live in today.