And just like that, it’s the year of our Bicentennial all over again.
The Giants have been sucking in Oakland.
Losers of three in a row to a team that is objectively if not (almost) record-wise the current worst franchise in baseball, the Giants — who BART’ed over to see how their ex roommate is doing since he lost his job, got dumped and had to put his cat down — are over there checking in on the guy.
What the found is he moved into an Oakland studio he describes as downtown and not Fruitvale (south of Foothill) but is more the other way around. He’s got a street corner coffee table, a futon with candle wax on the wood part with the coffee rings and the broken slats and some found rug he hung as a tapestry. The same bong. The same bong…water.
And he holds on to the brohug a little long.
“Good to see you man,” the A’s say.
“Good to see you too.”
…So the Giants pity the guy and take him out, only to find he cock blocks by revealing all the stuff that happened in Tahoe with the ex at the ski lease over the winter to her roommate while he’s off getting drinks and then has the nerve to go out and make a call when the bill arrives.
So, tonight, when the Giants try to salvage one in that broken sewer main of a ballpark, they’re bringing out the big arms …and bats.
Fortunately, that comes in a single serving in the form of one Madison Bumgarner.
Why, you might ask, is the face of Ford trucks, mournful gazes, homeless beards and Carhartt work jackets, swinging lumber a big deal?
Well, it’s happening in the aforementioned roofless boarded up skate rink on the gutter side of the 880, which means Bumgarner will be the first NL pitcher to bat for himself since 1976 — or about the last time the U.S. had a president who didn’t believe that it is our country’s mission to fuck everyone over starting with its own.
“He’s a good hitter,” said Giants manager Bruce Bochy getting effusive.
Bumgarner is batting a sub-Mendoza .175 this year, but Boch doesn’t have him taking cuts for a little flare into right. With 13 career bombs and rumors of an All-Star Game Home Run Derby berth still circulating, Boch, whose team has allowed the A’s to cross home plate 28 times in the last three games — or more than the entire month of June combined prior, needs a shut-down pitcher and a shut up hitter.
Bumgarner is their man.
But there’s another message here: In the age of hyper-specialization and a player’s first meeting with Dr. James Andrews before he’s got his learner’s permit, Bumgarner is a throwback, not only in the innings he eats but in the amount of pride he takes in the craft of hitting.
Bochy, for one, has been oft-criticized and sometimes mocked for letting Bumgarner take massive Griffey-backwards-hat-like hacks during BP, but his philosophy goes literally like this: “He likes to hit, so I let him hit.”
Baseball players playing baseball.
Here ends the lesson.