Madison Bumgarner’s 2017 didn’t go the way he planned. Things went well enough at first — he hit two home runs for the San Francisco Giants on opening day! — but at the end of April, he suffered an accident while dirt biking in Denver. He sprained the AC joint in his pitching shoulder, and was on the disabled list until mid July.
Bumgarner is an experienced dirt biker, and his bike slipping on the trail was just a freak accident. But it brought Bumgarner’s more active (and sometimes risky) hobbies to light. So it makes sense that he promised his manager, Bruce Bochy, that he was extra super careful in his activities this offsesason.
Bochy said Bumgarner promised to be careful: "Bum's already made the comment that he didn't ride one horse this offseason." #sfgiants
— Henry Schulman (@hankschulman) February 9, 2018
For some people, promising to stay away from horses wouldn’t be hard at all. But that’s a pretty big promise from Madison Bumgarner. He owns horses on his farm in North Carolina. In 2016, the guy brought his horses with him to spring training, making the cross-country trip to Arizona with several horses literally in tow.
In 2015, Bumgarner actually rode a horse on the field at AT&T Park, taking the team’s 2014 World Series banner from home plate to the outfield wall. And *that* made up for when he was denied the chance to ride a horse in the Giants’ 2014 World Series parade.
In short, Bumgarner loves horses. If he promised he wouldn’t ride one and then kept that promise, he’s serious about staying healthy and competing in the 2018 season. Considering the trades the Giants have made this offseason (the team acquired Andrew McCutchen from the Pittsburgh Pirates and Evan Longoria from the Tampa Bay Rays), Bumgarner’s voluntary horse-less-ness could be the start of something big. It is an even year, after all.
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