Last time on Groug Writes About The Giants, we looked at the five homers Madison Bumgarner hit in 2015. They were fun! I'm not ashamed to admit that I enjoy it when Madison Bumgarner hits home runs for the Giants. After coming to this realization about myself, I decided that I wouldn't be some I-only-like-the-new-album poser; instead, I would delve into Bumgarner's back catalog of home runs and celebrate the classics.
As before, these will be in the order of Smallest Amount Of Best to Largest Amount Of Best In The Known Universe. I will not be numbering them, however, because then people might argue about the rankings, and I wouldn't want to force anyone on this site to read comments about the article they just read. I'm not a monster.
6/15/14, Against Franklin Morales, Rockies
Of all the homers Bumgarner's hit, this is the only one that wasn't pulled to left field. Instead, this was pulled to left-center field, which is a refreshing change of pace. It's also the only one where Kruk said "Outta here!" He was excited! It was an exciting time. The Giants would sadly go on to lose this game after a Juan Gutierrez outing that reminded everyone that they can't all be Casillas, but hey, this homer sure was fun.
9/11/12, Against Jhoulys Chacin, Rockies
Not only was this a cool home run – three runs are a lot on one swing of the bat, dontcha know – but it was a huge play in the game. In late 2012, Bumgarner's mechanics were out of whack, which is a baseball term that means either "He's throwing the ball in a slightly different manner than he should" or "He's throwing the ball very badly and no one knows why." He ended up giving up five runs in less than five innings in this game, which the Giants went on to win 9-8, so those three runs were the difference. Wins are better than losses, so it is good that Madison Bumgarner helped his team win.
Also, Coors-aided or not, this was a bomb.
6/12/12, Against Bud Norris, Astros
We'd been hearing for years about how Bumgarner always puts on a show in BP, but it had never showed up in the actual game. It started to seem like the promise of another pitcher who could put up livanesque numbers at the plate was a lie. And then, the Astros. This was an absolute no-doubter, made more magnificent by the silent treatment that he got in the dugout. And Bumgarner did the smart thing: he acted like it was no big deal too. "Oh yeah," he seemed to be saying with his nonchalance. "I'll hit at least ten more of these. No need to make a fuss over this one." The bench blinked first. Madison Bumgarner never blinks.
9/23/14, Against Zack Greinke, Dodgers
Bumgarner hit this home run after an attempt to bunt. The home run was a better result! Here are some reasons that it is better to hit a home run than it is to successfully bunt:
1. A bunt makes an out, while a home run does not.
2. A bunt only advances each runner one base, while a home run advances each runner the maximum number of bases.
3. A bunt does not necessarily lead to any runs, while for a home run it is quite the opposite.
4. If you foul off an attempt at a home run with two strikes, you will not be out
5. A successful home run means that a fan in the bleachers gets a souvenir. That fan will remember this game for the rest of their life. It will be a happy memory.
6. It is very difficult for a batter to score in a plate appearance where he bunts, while it is very difficult for a batter to not score in a plate appearance where he hits a home run
7. Pitcher bunts make pro-DH people more set in their beliefs, while home runs make them more uncertain.
8. Home runs are cooler than bunts
7/13/2014, Against Matt Stites, Diamondbacks
This was Bumgarner's second career grand slam, which many observers at the time noted moved him past Derek Jeter on the all-time grand slam list. And since Buster Posey had also hit a grand slam earlier in the game, this grand slam meant that for the first time in major league history, both halves of a battery had hit one. That's a very cool moment. Was it the most memorable thing that Madison Bumgarner did in 2014? We'll leave that question to the historians.
4/11/14, Against Jorge De La Rosa, Rockies
The classic swing, the classic call, the classic pitcher hanging his head, and in the end, the classic snotrocket. The ball hit Bumgarner's bat right on the sweet spot, and he ended up putting it 10 or 15 rows deep in the bleachers. Remember, this was at AT&T Park at night, where it is literally – LITERALLY – easier to teach an octopus to moonwalk than it is to hit a home run. And it was Bumgarner's first grand slam. This one had it all. And also, suck it, Rockies. Just suck it.
In conclusion, AT&T Park is a land of contrasts. Webster's defines "pitcher dinger" as "this is a stale bit and you shouldn't do it." Bryan reviewed Madison Bumgarner yesterday, and his conclusion was uniformly positive, as well it should be. Madison Bumgarner is a treasure. This article just gave you six more reasons why.