Calling Madison Bumgarner’s bike accident a “fall from grace,” USA Today’s Jorge L. Ortiz, went on to pose the question, “Are the San Francisco Giants done?” If this reporter for USA Today is serious in his question, something I find somewhat amusing, allow me to assure him that the Giants are not done.
Ortiz points out that whereas championships are not won in April, they can be lost. I don’t even necessarily agree with that, but I will say that just by definition, an injury like MadBum’s, whereas never good, is better in April than in August.
Additionally, I will call bull-stuff to his statement that MadBum has fallen from grace. In my book a guy falls from grace when he knowingly takes some form of performance-enhancing substance, and then gets busted in the middle of August, leaving his teammates in a lurch. And then lies about it.
A guy falls from grace when he starts using his wife as a punching bag or finds breeding dogs for fighting to be as American as playing baseball. That’s how players “fall out of grace” in my world, not by taking an unadvised jaunt on a dirt-bike, something as routine to him, as walking my English bulldog up to the top of the driveway.
As for the Giants being done, I wouldn’t try sticking a fork in them-you could draw back a stump. Writing a team off in April is fine and dandy, as long as it doesn’t rise up and bite you in the backside. Teams can start poorly and end hot; they can start off like gangbusters, and then fall flat on their collective faces.
Just ask last year’s Giants squad.
But to discount the Giants, either because of a slow start or because of the injury to MadBum, is to overlook the eighteen world series rings, worn by ten different players. That’s 40% of the team’s active roster, once MadBum rejoins the team.
To discount the Giants is to forget about Bruce Bochy, one of the most savvy managers in baseball, particularly when it comes to handling the bullpen. Bochy’s ability to keep his teams level-headed and well-prepared, has led to three championship rings, and with the addition of closer Mark Melancon, he is on course to pursue a fourth one.
The loss of any of the five starters for any period of time is always a challenge, but when there is a Ty Blach to fill in the void, not only does the team not suffer, it actually benefits, because it gives the kid the opportunity to display his moxie.
Defeating Clayton Kershaw and the Blue Crew last October was the first step; battling Kershaw Tuesday night at AT&T Park, losing 2-1, was the second. I’m not suggesting that the rook is going to replace the venerable Bumgarner, only that he is going to do his part to keep the Giants in contention, until the master returns.
Noting the fact that this is the first time that the North Carolina native has been on the disabled list, I actually prefer his current injury to that of a baseball-related one, for obvious reasons. Not being tied into a baseball injury, means it is not likely to recur, unlike some sort of shoulder or elbow issue, which can plague a player throughout his career.
I like MadBum not only because he is legendary on the mound, but because he is a genuine home boy, and not a plastic player. He was raised on a farm and spends his off-season working his spread. Country folk are different from city folk. I should know, having lived off the grid for the last 35 years, five miles up a dirt road, on a mountain ridge-top.
I don’t ride a dirt bike but I get it. If you have been off-roading it all your life, taking in a course is no big deal. By his own admission, MadBum got careless and it cost him. Saying “it was not the most responsible thing I ever did,” he went around to each of his mates, and apologized.
Knowing him to be one of the fiercest competitors on the team, who was going to dis on him now? Not this old Giants fan, that’s for sure. As for those who want to compare this to the Jeff Kent fiasco, when he broke his wrist and then lied about falling off of a ladder while washing his truck, I say, “Give. Me. A. Break.”
So enough of this talk about falling from grace and carelessness. I don’t think of MadBum as normally careless, especially when he is out on the mound. Ultimately, when it comes right down to it, I’d rather he were careless on the track than on the mound, especially in a game like that of Game Seven, of the 2014 World Series.
I would say, “Get better, Madison Bumgarner,” but he is already the best.