Remember that old “thrill of victory, agony of defeat” thing? It was an ABC’s “Wide World of Sports” theme back in the 60’s and it’s been going through my head as I’m writing about Madison Bumgarner’s performance tonight. Last Tuesday, for those of you who’ve been in solitary confinement or otherwise unable to know what’s going on in the baseball world this past week, Madison Bumgarner broke some records. Well not actually broke them, but matched those that
hadn’t been touched since the early 1900’s. It was the most unbelievable first inning I’ve ever watched in baseball….any baseball, including T-ball and Little League. The Bum lasted exactly 1/3 inning in which time he allowed nine hits and eight runs, and recorded only one out in the first third of the first inning. It was an inter-league game between the Giants and Minnesota Twins. I could hardly breathe watching Bumgarner leave the game and head towards the dugout to sit and watch the remaining 8 2/3 innings in shame and embarrassment. After the game he somehow managed to hold his head high, speak intelligently with reporters and answer each question thoughtfully, speaking softly in a monotone, and promised to learn from his mistakes and do penance and say one our father and three hail mary’s. I really felt for this kid and all day I was going through some sort of anxiety wondering how he, and I, would make it through tonight’s game after the first “ball” was called, probably on the first pitch.
So tonight when the 5:05 game between the Giants and the Cleveland Indians started right on time, on ESPN, in front of the entire world to see, Madison Bumgarner threw his first pitch. And then another, and another. And he proceeded throwing precision pitches culminating with 11 strike-outs through the seventh inning! OMG! It’s what we live for in baseball…..our local hero just did the impossible and the crowd’s giving him a standing ovation and I’m giving him hoots and hollers jumping around the living room telly.
Just another usual ordinary game for the Giants, ending with a final score 3-1. Same old stuff. But as far as the SF Giants 21 year old pitcher Madison Bumgarner goes? He’s back! Mad Bum and all his glory and I’m back there to watch him do it all over again. Tuesday – total disgrace; Sunday – en route to the Cy Young! Don’t you just love it? Baseball, I mean. Pretty darn cool.