MadBum made a big mistake.
Giants ace Madison Bumgarner is expected to miss 6 to 8 weeks because of injuries he suffered from a dirt bike accident in Colorado. And it could be longer:
As mentioned last night: The Giants are concerned that Madison Bumgarner will miss more than a couple of months.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) April 22, 2017
The incident left the 27-year-old with a strain of the AC joint of his pitching shoulder. It’s the first time the 2014 World Series MVP has been on the disabled list:
Madison Bumgarner placed on DL for 1st time in career; he's had 6 straight seasons w/30 starts & 200 IP, 2nd-longest active streak in MLB
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 21, 2017
Bumgarner obviously is to blame for the accident, but should the Giants have done more to prevent it?
Bumgarner is 0-3 with a 3.00 ERA in four starts this season as the Giants have struggled to a 6-10 start, last in the National League West.
Here’s what Giants manager Bruce Bochy had to say about the accident:
And here’s some reaction from Giants players:
MadBum received little sympathy on Twitter:
I'm trying to think of more irreplaceable players to a team than Bumgarner to the Giants and coming up real short. I mean Trout, I guess.
— Mike Petriello (@mike_petriello) April 21, 2017
— SI Extra Mustard (@SI_ExtraMustard) April 21, 2017
Every time I imagine Madison Bumgarner's injury I can't help but think of Napoleon Dynamite's grandma at the dunes. https://t.co/FWFcDGnRQ8
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) April 21, 2017
Man these “What Madison Bumgarner does on his day off is anyone’s guess” Ford ads are just so amazing now.
— Jeremy F. Koo (@jfkooAN) April 22, 2017
— Denise Brown (@denisebrownLA) April 22, 2017
How Madison Bumgarner really got injured. pic.twitter.com/O9P68IvGX2
— Dirty Sports (@TheDirtySports) April 22, 2017
"Madison Bumgarner is such a smart, gutsy ballplayer for getting hurt in April, rather than October, when it matters most."
— Royals Review (@royalsreview) April 21, 2017
John Smoltz, on “MLB Tonight,” provides his thoughts on the matter from a pitcher’s perspective:
ESPN’s Jemele Hill and Michael Smith point out that the Giants could ill-afford this injury:
KNBR’s John Lund says it’s time for Giants fans to panic:
The McCovey Chronicles’ Grant Brisbee is baffled by MadBum’s decision-making:
Now that he’s (mostly) fine, there comes the anger. A dirt bike? C’mon, man. MXGP 2 for the PS4 is, like, $20 on Amazon. Stay indoors. Preferably in a house encased in bubble wrap. With armed guards outside. If that’s not possible, fine, go outside, but don’t screw around on dirt bikes.
The Foghorn’s Jake Mastroianni is on the same page as Brisbee:
Madison Bumgarner is a big boy and he has the right to do what he wants on his off day. But the moment he got on that dirt bike he put himself ahead of his team. His coach, his teammates and his fans count on him taking the mound every fifth day. They count on him throwing six-plus innings each start and giving his team a chance to win. He has all the money he could need to go dirt bike riding in the offseason. Why would you choose to go three weeks into the season!?
Yahoo! Sports’ Tim Brown says you have to take the bad with the good when it comes to Bumgarner:
That’s probably a guy whose sense of invincibility spills into everything. So you have a pitcher who snorts boogers and piles up innings and doesn’t scare ever and hunts wild animals with a piece of twine and a butter knife, you probably also get a pitcher who’d unwind on the back of one of them iron horses. Maybe he’s not one without the other. You know, until now, when for a while he’ll be neither.
The San Jose Mercury News’ Tim Kawakami thinks this marks the end of an era for the Giants:
Bumgarner always seemed above it all, larger than his teammates and opponents, not concerned with mortal baseball things, laughing at the idea that he was limited in any way. And now he is just another player who exercised bad judgment at a terrible time and is costing his team dearly because of it and maybe will be less of a pitcher for a while even when he comes back. That’s why this is the line, the Bumgarner career in two parts. The Invincible Mad Bum: 218 starts, 100 regular-season victories, career 2.99 ERA, and three World Series titles before April 20, 2017. … Bumgarner After the Accident: Whatever comes next, maybe some great things, but it won’t be the same thing.
Regardless of how Bumgarner and the Giants fair when he returns, do MLB teams have any recourse when a player makes a decision such this?
The Collective Bargaining Agreement spells out an agreement between players and teams that “the player’s participation in certain other sports may impair or destroy his ability and skill as a baseball player.” Forbidden activities listed in the CBA include professional boxing or wrestling. With the exception of written consent from the club, players are prohibited from skiing, auto racing, motorcycle racing or skydiving. Players also agree not to engage in soccer, basketball, ice hockey “or any other sport involving a substantial risk of personal injury.” Some teams, such as the Chicago Cubs, tack on contract language specifying a range of other activities that are expressly forbidden. … Whether the Giants have additional language in their contracts or not, the nebulous wording of “any other sport involving a substantial risk of personal injury” in the CBA could encompass almost any leisure activity. Besides, there is precedent with dirt bike injuries. In 1994, the Atlanta Braves voided outfielder Ron Gant’s contract after he sustained a serious leg fracture when he was injured in a dirt bike accident.
The San Jose Mercury News’ Andrew Baggarly doesn’t think the Giants will punish MadBum:
Will the Giants seek to dock Bumgarner’s pay, or void his contract? The short answer is no. The more nuanced answer: also no, but it depends on who the player is, what he’s accomplished, how much money he’s making and how permissive his coaching staff and organization are about these things. Giants GM Bobby Evans, asked about Bumgarner’s contract language, said via text that he was “not focused on that. Our medical staff’s attention to Madison’s health and our staff preparing for the Rockies series is the focus. (We’re) counting our blessings that he will be OK.”
What do you think? Should MLB teams forbid risky off-field activities?