When I started thinking of what I wanted to riff on this week, nothing jumped out at me. I thought about the pennant races, or maybe a college football story or two (North Dakota State University, Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson).
Then in the background on television I heard a commercial for Monday’s upcoming presidential debate, and I had my inspiration: competitors who REALLY don’t like each other. While there are a million examples of them across the sports world, just this week, two pretty big ones have bubbled to the surface.
Madison Bumgarner and Yasiel Puig – It is not enough that they play for blood rivals (San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers respectively), these two have a history that dates back to 2014. No pitcher likes to give up tape measure home runs, and “Mad Bum”, as he is known, is certainly no exception to that rule. Well, Puig did not get the memo, and after he took Madison deep, he bat flipped, which made Bumgarner bat sh!% crazy! He screamed at the mercurial Cuban outfielder the entire stretch between third base and home plate. That would be the first time the benches would clear. The next time they faced one another, Bumgarner hit Puig with a pitch which brought them together again. Are you getting the picture here, these two just don’t like each other. Well, fast forward to Monday night when after Bumgarner retired Puig on a slow roller up the first base line, he began screaming at him. Television cameras caught him telling Puig: “don’t look at me, don’t you look at me”. Once again the benches cleared and the players had to be separated. To make light of the situation, the Dodgers had T-shirts made poking fun at the entire incident – as referenced in the photo below.
It seems to me that Bumgarner should be more upset with his team’s play than anything else. The Giants held the best record in Major League Baseball at the All-Star break (57-33), but are an MLB worst (22-38) since! The main reason is that their bullpen is flat out awful. Monday night’s ninth-inning meltdown marked its 29th blown save of the season. Get a grip Mad Bum, you’re too good to keep acting like this.
Odell Beckham Jr. and Josh Norman – Don’t look now, but these two “besties” meet up again on Sunday at Met Life Stadium. Norman is now a member of the Washington Redskins, which means that he and OBJ will now be lining up opposite each other twice per season. Of course, much of the talk leading up to this weekend centers around last season’s Giants/Panthers game in which each player was assessed personal foul penalties (Beckham drew 3) for acting like violent children. Who can forget OBJ sprinting half way across the field and launching himself into a helmet to helmet collision with Norman? He should have been thrown out of the game immediately! For his actions, the NFL suspended him for one game you will remember.
So, what will transpire this weekend? Well, through two games, Beckham has not reached the end zone or had a 100 yard receiving game yet, and Norman has taken some heat for not matching up for an entire game against Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown, or Dallas’s Dez Bryant. Word has gotten out that he will defend OBJ for the full 60 minutes, on both sides of the field this Sunday however. My hope is that nothing stupid happens and that the Giants win. If I could dole out a little advice I’d say: play the game hard fellas, and at the end of the day, shake hands like men.
Never fear folks, Madison Bumgarner is set to face the Dodgers again on September 30th in San Fran, and the Giants play the Redskins in Washington on New Year’s Day. Earlier I referenced the Presidential debate, how about these 4 guys, instead of acting like neanderthals, adopt the campaign slogans from both candidates by playing, “Stronger Together”, to “Make Their Teams Great Again”? Sorry, I couldn’t resist.
And that is My 2 Sense for this week.