Madison Bumgarner is back in town, pitching tonight against the Royals for the first time since we saw him rip our hearts out in Game 7 of the 2014 World Series. His performance that fall was nothing short of unbelievable, perhaps the most dominating post-season performance by a pitcher in our lifetimes. In 21 innings against the Royals, he struck out 17 and gave up just nine....HITS. The Royals managed just one run against him - a home run by Salvador Perez in the seventh inning of Game One, ironically, the hitter who would end the series by popping up against Bumgarner.
On the Sunday broadcast of Royals baseball, Rex Hudler implored Royals fans to salute Bumgarner for his historic accomplishment.
“I hope our fans will acknowledge Bumgarner and what he did against us....and clap for him in appreciation of his skill and talent.”
Jeff Montgomery was a bit more realistic.
“Good luck with that one....I think they’ll clap for him when Bruce Bochy takes him out with a crooked number on the board.”
It is perfectly understandable that fans would want to boo Bumgarner. In a lot of ways, booing is a major sign of respect. We should know, since no one was booing the Royals until about 2015 when the team got good. Bumgarner is a villain in this town, just like John Elway - one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. We don’t have them out of any personal animus. We hate them because they beat our teams and put is in sports agony.
So I get booing sports villains. Look, Darth Vader wasn’t the most feared bad guy in movie history because he was a ninny who was easily defeated. The rebel forces never said “yea, he destroyed our entire planet, but you have to tip your hat to Darth Vader.” Sports has its heroes and villains. Sometimes you defeat the villain (hello, Jose Bautista), and other times the villain defeats you.
But on the other hand, it does seem a bit...petty. Bumgarner beat us fair and square. He didn’t whine. He didn’t cheat. He didn’t taunt the Royals. He put his best on the table, we put our best on the table, and he had the winning cards. What more can you do about that?
If I were in attendance, I don’t think I would boo. And I think most fans that end up booing will be doing so only half-seriously. Royals fans don’t seem to harbor any ill will towards Bumgarner, just begrudging respect. Maybe it would be different had we not won it all the very next year. But for me, the Giants, and Bumgarner in particular, don’t get a rise out of me, and in our fan survey, there were six teams less-liked among Royals fans than the team that ripped our hearts out in 2014.
Will you boo? Clap for him in appreciation? Give him a snot-rocket in salute?
Would you boo Madison Bumgarner?
This poll is closed