Madison Bumgarner's wannabe bully act is getting old

There’s a not-so-fine line between being a red-ass competitor and what Madison Bumgarner has become, that being a thin-skinned wannabe bully whose efforts to police the game are tiresome.

It’s not just Yasiel Puig, so deep in Bumgarner’s head you’d need a mile of drill pipe to find him.

It’s Alex Guerrero. It’s Wil Myers. It’s Carlos Gomez. It’s Delino DeShields. It’s Jesus Guzman. And then it’s Puig, over and over. We may have missed one or two.

Wednesdays with Brownie
Wednesdays with Brownie

Either Bumgarner has to settle down and understand he’s not the only ballplayer on the planet or he needs to write down all these rules so the rest of us can follow along. Let’s see – no bat flips, no grimaces, no trying too hard against him, no looking at him, no being happy when it appears it could be at his expense, no thinking you’re a better ballplayer than you actually are, no being you if being you rubs up against him being him and, again because this is really important, under no circumstances cast your eyes upon him.

Somebody’s going to get hurt in one of these hissy episodes, and it could be a teammate, and Bumgarner is too good of a pitcher to waste his time and energy – and everyone else’s time and energy – on this insecure act we’ve romanticized as “competitiveness” and “intensity.”

Some days, it’s none of that. It’s just bratty, or worse.


Overheard in the Dodger Stadium press box, one scout to another: “Is Tanner Roark the most underrated pitcher in the game?”

The response: “Yep.”

Better answer: We’ll find out in October.

Tanner Roark
Tanner Roark: The most underrated pitcher in the game? (Getty Images)

While waiting on that, let’s consider the Washington Nationals’ right-hander who is not Max Scherzer or Stephen Strasburg.

In 31 starts (and one relief appearance), he is 15-9 with a 2.70 ERA. The ERA is fifth in the National League, behind Kyle Hendricks (also on the underrated list), Jon Lester, Bumgarner and Noah Syndergaard. He is 13th in WHIP, fourth in innings, fourth in quality starts and a distant 25th in run support. If WAR’s your thing, Roark is second to Scherzer in one iteration, 12th in the other.

Assuming the Nats see the Dodgers in the division series, the more pivotal pitcher could be Gio Gonzalez, who is left-handed, which means he is trouble for the Dodgers. And in the Nats’ best scenario, Strasburg recovers to pitch Game 3 or 4. Roark almost surely gets the ball early in the series, however, and he’ll be difficult to beat.


Assuming Cleveland is still standing under the weight of a baseball writer’s opinion of a baseball team, the Indians are about to win their first division title in nine years, and we could have Terry Francona against the Boston Red Sox in the division series. The loss of Carlos Carrasco (among others) wouldn’t seem to bode well for the Indians’ hopes for their first championship since Lou Boudreau and Bob Feller, but why don’t we wait to see what happens? Meantime, the Tigers are in desperate need for some wins, and that’s what’s important here.

Tigers ace Justin Verlander has struggled against the Indians. (Getty Images)
Tigers ace Justin Verlander has struggled against the Indians. (Getty Images)

Justin Verlander is 18-21 with a 4.59 ERA in 47 career starts against the Indians and 0-3 with a 6.46 ERA in four starts against them this season. The Indians and Tigers play four games in Detroit starting Monday.

The probables:

Monday: Corey Kluber vs. Anibal Sanchez.

Tuesday: Mike Clevinger vs. Justin Verlander.

Wednesday: Trevor Bauer vs. Michael Fulmer.

Thursday: Cody Anderson vs. Daniel Norris.

On the topic of the AL wild card, the Seattle Mariners play three games in Houston, also starting Monday, and there’s a chance one of them will leave the series with nothing left to play for.

The probables:

Monday: Hisashi Iwakuma vs. Colin McHugh.

Tuesday: Felix Hernandez vs. Mike Fiers.

Wednesday: James Paxton vs. Doug Fister.


Still not sure why the Miami Marlins would trade Jose Fernandez, who is healthy, productive and under team control for two more years at a time the Marlins are trying to be relevant. Sure, shopping a 24-year-old with big-time stuff and a new elbow across a tepid free-agent market would bring a sexy return, but how many would be as sure a thing over the next couple seasons?

The Marlins’ rotation – with Fernandez – has been perfectly average. Replacing Fernandez’s quality with a trade’s quantity is likely to bring only more average in the short-term.

All that said, Fernandez should be a Yankee by January.


Rob Segedin is just a guy from New Jersey who got his college degree with majors in finance and management from Tulane University and got married and had a son and is 3 ½ classes toward his MBA from Indiana University and plays ball for a living. It’s not a great living, not always, and he’s going to be 28 years old soon, and these things weigh on a man whose big-league career consists of 59 at-bats and whose off-season bedroom is at his in-laws’ house in Florida.

Rob Segedin
Rob Segedin is enrolled at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business. (Getty Images)

At a time of year baseball focuses on its best teams and biggest stars, along comes a guy like Rob Segedin, just trying to make it, sorting the dream from the tools, still believing in both, and also pulling a 95 on his Quantitative Analysis final because while dreams may last forever, tools don’t.

He’s a third baseman-slash-right fielder-slash-first baseman-slash-left fielder for the Dodgers who mashed at Oklahoma City this summer after a winter trade with the New York Yankees, who’d drafted him out of Tulane six years ago. It’s funny, because just as it seemed this baseball thing wouldn’t work out, it started working out again, and in case you needed a reminder, for every ballplayer you’ve heard of there are a thousand who are trying to decide if it’s all worth it anymore.

Segedin stood this week in a clubhouse of men who are mostly in the former group and he smiled and said, “It kind of shows how if you stick with it and stay with the process, get a chance here and there, get lucky, sometimes it works out.”

No matter where it goes from here, he one day will tell his son – Robinson Marley Segedin – that his pops was a big leaguer, and that on his off nights he studied business analytics, and that his mom was the real hero in this. And if young Robinson wants to know where he got his name, well, it’s mostly a hybrid of his dad’s name, Rob, and his mom’s name, Robin, but there also was this guy who lived across the street when dad was playing winter ball and trying like crazy to become a big leaguer.

That guy was Robinson Cano.

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