Madison Bumgarner pitches for the Arizona Diamondbacks now, and has for a few seasons. I'm telling you this because the Diamondbacks are less a baseball team than they are a void into which many baseball men have fallen, never to be heard from or thought about again. Bumgarner, however, refuses to slip gently into that void.
Bumgarner, who somehow is still only 33 years old, signed a five-year, $85 million contract with Arizona in 2020. If that was a bad bit of business for the Diamondbacks, it was more understandable from Bumgarner's point of view. Once one of the most fearsome pitchers in the league and a guy who will go down as a Giants legend thanks to his mythic postseason performances, he had seemingly found a nice, anonymous corner of the league in which to play out the end of his career, and to turn a decent buck while doing so. Bumgarner and the Diamondbacks had seemingly done us all a favor: We could all go on holding onto our memories of him as a hero while he spent the next five years throwing 87 mph fastballs and serving up dingers outside of anyone's field of vision.
The problem that we've all run into is that Bumgarner is not the kind of guy to go out there every fifth day and stink it up quietly, or with an air of dignity. Case in point: Today he took the mound against the St. Louis Cardinals and earned himself a bunch of attention by reaching a new frontier of red-assedness. Sure, you've seen the big guy get upset about an opponent taking a little too long to round the bases after a homer, but have you ever seen him yell, "Shut the fuck up, you pussy!" at a hitter because that hitter had the temerity to, uh, swing at a pitch?
This is where we run into a problem. There's a high likelihood that anyone who stumbles across that clip today will have a thought similar to the one I had: Oh yeah, Bumgarner pitches for the Diamondbacks now! I wonder how he's doing. And then they will go to check how he's doing and see that ... oh no .... what's this? Madison Bumgarner, the guy I once considered the coolest pitcher in baseball, has a 10.26 ERA? He's also walked 15 batters in 16.2 innings? He gave up seven runs in three innings today, and surrendered a three-run homer on this farce of a pitch?
I don't want to see any of this! Stop showing us this, Madison!