Madison Bumgarner’s Homer Forces Me To Learn About Baseball

One week prior to Jackie Robinson Day on Saturday, Madison Bumgarner reportedly hit the twelfth home run of his career, in his game with Clayton Kershaw, for a second season in a row.

A large majority of the sources wrote the headlines as “off” Clayton Kershaw without much explanation for the non-baseball fans as to what that means.

SFGate talks about the play between Madison and Clayton and goes into some brief history about how a rival team pair like these two had not been seen in quite some time.

“It’s Madison Bumgarner vs. Clayton Kershaw for the 10th time Friday night. ESPN Stats had an interesting item, saying the last time a Dodger and Giants squared off nine times as Bum and Kershaw have were Doug Rau and Jim Barr way back when.”

How far back exactly? The article refers to the rival pairing Rau (Dodgers) and Barr (Giants) which goes all the way back to 1973-78, taken from a statistics report published by Elisa Sports Bureau.

Dodgers stadium in 2014
SF Giants’ Madison Bumgarner’s homer took place in the Dodger stadium. This is the stadium in 2014, in their game against the Washington Nationals. [image by David Wilson via Flickr | CC BY 2.0]
And still, I’m not quite sure what this means.

Currently, the only thing I can string together is how important this is in a more historical context as the Dodgers and the Giants are one of the most popular teams that have been a part of our nation’s past-time for the entirety of baseball.

And so in this context, it makes sense for the reports to add that legendary baseball player Babe Ruth, who’s left a record of 14 home runs, is the only player in the industry to compare Madison Bumgarner to.

Other than playing against either Giants or Dodgers teams, “The Bambino” never played for either, but about as close as he ever got was only as a coach, with restrictions, for the Dodgers right after he retired.

So there’s no doubt you’d really have to be a baseball fan to even try to understand most of this and not just a casual learner.

Madison Gumgarner pitches in 2013.
Madison Bumgarner a.k.a. ‘Madbum’, pitches against the Padres in September 2013. [Image by SD Dirk via Flickr | CC BY 2.0]
To clarify some confusion, however, Madison Bumgarner is both a hitter and a pitcher for which he’s ranked up some high scoring averages for each role. And when there’s someone like that in the game, it helps to keep baseball relevant to people who aren’t really that into the sport.

But going further, according to an article by 9 NEWS, Madison Bumgarner hit the solo homer in the second inning.

Which means that it took place early in the game as each one has nine innings, but this one had 10.

Likely, given some of the reports, this might have been the most exciting moment in the entire game.

Also, the way ESPN explains it, Madison Bumgarner is the only pitcher to ever hit a home run off of Kershaw.

“Going back to the 2008 season, Bumgarner is now the sixth player to hit home runs off Kershaw in back-to-back seasons.”

A few things to take from those two reports is that they’re written for the baseball fan who knows the rules and while every sport has rules, a newbie would be hard-pressed to figure out just what they’re talking about when they say, “In 2014, Bumgarner hit.258 with four home runs and 15 runs batted in.”

My head is spinning in assuming all of that happened in one game. Did it happen for the full year? I’ve got to look into this some more.

The remainder of what I took in from those reports is that I had to scramble around to find out just what the average should be to compare Bumgarner’s homer to events within the history of the game and to learn that more immediate results were lacking, leaving me wondering if I was even going to learn about the great American past time today or even penetrate the shell of “inside baseball” elitism. I’d have to work hard to earn.

In the process, a more exciting and interesting report by USA Today from last year’s out-dueling by Madison almost goes into a play-by-play of the innings, the trade-offs between the teams on the field, and how this up-and-comer feels about his more recent wins.

The Inquisitr recently published an up-to-date report about how both teams are set to play again, where they explain last week’s headline-making news.

“The pitching rivals last squared off on April 9 at AT&T Park in San Francisco. Kershaw barely got the better of that contest, lasting eight innings while allowing a pair of solo home runs — including one to Bumgarner himself — but only two other hits as he fanned five and walked just one. The Dodgers ended up winning that game 3-2 in 10 innings.”

One thing I am certain about is that Madison Bumgarner might very well become one of those legends of baseball we hear a lot of and for those who don’t follow the game, know little about.

[Image by Arturo Pardavila III via Flickr | CC BY 2.0]

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