The 426-foot bomb into McCovey Cove may not have been the most embarrassing moment of Madison Bumgarner’s first inning.
Max Muncy sent a message with his bat and then mouth Sunday in the Giants’ 1-0 loss to the Dodgers at Oracle Park, in which the second batter of the game slammed the offering, took a couple steps, flipped his bat downward and trotted to first. He wasn’t alone.
Bumgarner hounded him, shouting at a star he felt was showing him up. He continued yelling even after Muncy, who jawed back, rounded the base.
“He said, ‘You don’t watch the ball, you run,'” Muncy relayed to reporters in the Dodgers clubhouse. “… I told him, ‘You don’t want me to watch the ball, you go in the ocean and get it.'”
Bumgarner didn’t follow his advice, though he did settle down and allowed just that run in seven innings. He did not remember the exchange as vividly as Muncy appeared to, but he also wasn’t about to apologize.
“He struck a pose and walked further than I liked,” Bumgarner said. “… You want to do that, do it. I’m going to do what I want to do.”
Bumgarner was asked about his exchange with Muncy after the game. He was adamant that he's not changing:
— KNBR (@KNBR) June 10, 2019
With a bit of a smile, the old-fashioned gunslinger looked at a game that’s evolving without him.
“I can’t even say it with a straight face,” said Bumgarner, who has gotten in many of these feuds, most notably with Yasiel Puig. “I was going to say, the more I think about it, I should just let the kids play. That’s what everyone’s saying. But I can’t.”
What Bumgarner wants to do is be Bumgarner. He was mostly light-hearted after the game, but asked if his stance was softening at all, the Giants ace quickly said no.
“If they want to let everyone be themselves, let me be myself,” the 29-year-old said. “That’s me.”
What Bumgarner saw as disrespect Muncy saw as typical. He was surprised his 13th homer of the season became this controversial.
“Honestly, I thought it was one of the tamer bat-flips that I’ve ever done,” he said. “I didn’t think it was anything outrageous. Kind of took one or two steps, started jogging and that was all it was.”
Dave Roberts said he did not foresee this one-on-one rivalry having a sequel. After praising Bumgarner, he agreed with Muncy, offering a theory why the trot got so much attention.
“There was a little preemptive kind of motivation,” the Dodgers manager said. “… [Muncy] didn’t showboat, didn’t pimp it. I think there was a little bit of trying to fire the troops up. We got nothing but respect for him.”
If Bumgarner indeed were trying to rile up the Giants, it did not work.