The Madison Bumgarner Situation Has Gone Far Enough


I’m sure just about everyone within earshot of social media has seen or heard of the Twitter war that is raging, centered around Madison Bumgarner. Bill Baer, a Philadelphia-based writer, published a piece on Friday night on HardballTalk, after the San Francisco Giants were defeated by the Texas Rangers. In said piece, Baer heavily implied racial factors being a main motivator for Bumgarner’s on-field blow ups, with the latest case involving Rangers’ outfielder Delino DeShields. Although, if you ask Baer, he has heavily denied any such implications.

Baer included references to past incidents in which Bumgarner has had dustups with Jesus Guzman, Yasiel Puig (on more than one occasion), Alex Guerrero, and Carlos Gomez before finishing off with the DeShields’ spat. The second-to-last sentence of his piece is “This [is] what one might describe as a ‘trend’.” He further drove home his point through twitter.

Besides that, he also retweeted multiple viewpoints from other people expressing their thoughts of racism on Bumgarner’s thoughts, which have since been removed. Obviously, I don’t think that a retweet is a direct endorsement or agreement, but I am heavily implying it.

Bumgarner is a hot head, and I will never even attempt to deny that. I have often times found myself wishing he wouldn’t be so demonstrative towards his opponents. It happens all too often, in my opinion, and I would prefer he not take that route as frequently as he does.

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With that said, Baer’s argument “implying” racism is too far over the line.

We, as journalists, are obligated to present all the facts and give the entire story to anyone who takes the time to read what we have to say. To present only a select portion of these facts just to make your point seem more true is unethical and wrong.

What Baer neglected to cite in his own brief writing was that Bumgarner’s antics are not exclusive to “non-white players”, as Baer so eloquently put it. Bumgarner has been in verbal disputes with Todd Frazier, Troy Tulowitzki, Ian Kinsler, and more umpires through the years than my memory can recall.

There’s the infamous incident in 2010, when Bumgarner, who was still in Triple-A at that point, had to be physically restrained from an umpire (a white man) after being ejected. Before being jettisoned, Bumgarner was in arguments with two separate umpires.

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I won’t sit here and deny that Bumgarner doesn’t have a history with black and latino players. There clearly is a history there. But it doesn’t just stop there. He doesn’t sit back and watch a white player (or umpire, if that be the case) try to show him up and laugh about it later. Bumgarner has history with everyone.

The best way I can describe Bumgarner is that he is an equal opportunity offender. If a player does something to him that he perceives as wrong, or he perceives as showing him up, he will let them know about it, no matter the pigment of their skin.

Baer has painted himself in a bad light, but he has painted Bumgarner in an ever worse one. If Bumgarner is tarnishing his reputation by continually getting into verbal altercations with other players, then so be it. But to imply that there is something deeper than that, when you have no evidence that it is true, is potentially dangerous to that person. Baer makes himself look bad, but more importantly, he is portraying a man that he has never met to be something that he may not be.

I also have never met Bumgarner before, and I will not try to fabricate an anecdote that makes him seem like Mother Theresa just to prove the point I am trying to make. I can’t speak to how he acts outside the clubhouse, when he’s back on his farm. The length of my experience with Bumgarner comes from watching him on television and listening to his interviews, so I can’t speak on his character. More importantly, I WON’T speak on his character, because I will not attempt to defame someone simply for the amusement of others without proper evidence to back it up.

Racism is a big issue on our country. It has been for a long time, and it will continue to be so for just as long. But to throw accusations like that around so haphazardly is part of the problem.

Bumgarner may just be racist. I don’t know, and odds are, you don’t know either. But until we do know, there’s no reason to accuse or imply such things.

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