Urban: Giants' Bumgarner blanked but unbowed


Urban: Giants' Bumgarner blanked but unbowed

June 9, 2011

MadBum?The way the Giants are scoring for their 21-year-old southpaw this season, he's got every right to be ChappedLikeAllHellBum.Another month of this criminal lack of support business and, were he so inclined, he might be ReadyForATri-StateKillingSpreeBum.Fortunately for the Giants, Madison Bumgarner is decidedly not so inclined. Sure, he's had a few meltdowns here and there. One was fairly epic; early last year, while still in the minors, he turned into CrazyBum over some questionable calls by the home-plate umpire and displayed his displeasure by doing his best Mat Latos, trying to fire the ball all the way out of the stadium. He's had one in the bigs, too, venting more than a little frustration by doing his best Manny Pacquiao, pummeling the dugout bench as though paid by the punch.
GIANTS INSIDER GALLERY: Tough luck Bumgarner
So yeah, when MadBum snaps, he goes big. But his default disposition is as close to asleep as one can get without counting sheep.
He is to wired what Brian Wilson is to mellow.And this, without question, is going to help young Madison immensely as long as he's pitching for a team that appears to be in some sort of shock therapy that jolts them with KNBR's 50,000 watts every time one of their own dares cross that pentagon thingy they have to stand next to when that guy with the ball is throwing it toward them.Thursday's 3-0 loss to Edgar Renteria and a bunch of guys who didn't bring a World Series title to San Francisco -- sorry, Dusty; not a dig -- was all too familiar for Bumgarner.He's made 13 starts this year. In 10 of them, the Giants have scored three runs or less. In nine of them, two runs or less. In six of them, one run or less.In five of them -- five of 13! -- the Giants have rewarded his mostly solid efforts with the baseball equivalent of a Halloween bucket full of pencils. Nada. Nothing. Zero.RECAP: Cueto quiets Giants' bats, Reds take openerBumgarner's reaction to the lack of largesse? Laid back. If there's any sort of self-pity or teammate-loathing churning inside the kid's big body, he certainly suppresses it well.One explanation for his ability to avoid any run-related snappage might be that he knows there's no better 2-8 pitcher in the game, and he has a 3.23 ERA to prove it. Over his past nine starts, all of them "quality" by definition and "damn good" by decree, he's rocking a 1.93 ERA -- and a 2-5 record.That explanation likely doesn't tell the story, though. What likely does is that Bumgarner has quite a few teammates who qualify as experienced hands when it comes to pitching without a safety net.Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, Jonathan Sanchez and Barry Zito have each taken more than a few turns on the throw-a-shutout-or-lose carousel in recent years, and surely their counsel is invaluable. Reliever Jeremy Affeldt has been mentoring Bumgarner on the ways of the big-league world since he arrived, and that's helped, too.More than anything, though, it's a function of personality. Of maturity. Of an understanding that baseball, as often as not, is fond of kicking even its finest where they'd better be wearing a cup.BitterBum? Not this guy. He knows the score.Even when there's no score at all.

Warriors the establishment, and the field the barbarians at the gate


Warriors the establishment, and the field the barbarians at the gate

Programming note: Warriors-Rockets coverage starts tonight at 6:30pm on NBC Sports Bay Area, and continues immediately after the final buzzer.

The NBA offseason ended as it began – with someone burning money for our amusement.

The San Antonio Spurs re-upped center LaMarcus Aldridge, with whom head coach Gregg Popovich had an off-season hug-it-out to repair what seemed to be a fraying relationship.

Thus, after the Golden State Warriors boatraced the field, the NBA responded by firing out $1.942 billion in free agent signings. This proves yet again that the problem with rising salaries in sports is not the fault of the players, but of the owners.

And that contreacts and player movement are an increasingly powerful turn-on in a sport that is facing an existential crisis.

Namely, how to build suspense into a season that looks foreordained for the Warriors without hoping for catastrophic injuries. Indeed, as the Warriors open with Houston tonight, there is far more national buzz around the new-look Rockets than the seemingly invulnerable Warriors.

[SHILLER: Draymond responds to D'Antoni's 'they're not gonna stop us either' claim]

It’s a bit like the old comic book conundrum – why was Wolverine a more compelling character than Superman?

Now this may be our fault as consumers for wanting something new to support our pathetically small attention spans. Or more intriguingly, being drawn to the flawed unknown rather than the excellent known.

But changing the American character is not an easy thing to do, as our most recent political developments have shown. We are who we are, and while we will watch the superb team every time, we will be more interested in the one that looks like it could blow itself to bits at any moment (Houston, or Cleveland, or Oklahoma City), or the long-downtrodden failure that suddenly looks like it might no longer be so downtrodden (Philadelphia, Minnesota, or maybe even Philadelphia again).

Or, weirdest of all, the team that used to be the standard, fell off the edge of the planet to the nation’s glee, and is just now showing signs of reconstruction (the Los Angeles Lakers).

Evidently what we want to say is that we like is change – violent, bizarre change, the crazier the narrative the better.

But here, we have the Golden State Warriors, who have chosen a far more conservative path – winning four of every five games, no matter what month, no matter what opponent, and winning nine of every 10 at home, no matter what month, no matter what opponent. And the measured eyeballs of media ratings say the Warriors are the bait behind which all other teams draft.

In short, the Warriors are the establishment, and the field is the barbarians at the gate. It’s just a matter how you feel about the barbarians, and the gate.

I know how the voting here would go. The rest of you are on your own, watching money getting thrown around in hope of some kind of regime change before the end of the decade.

Draymond responds to D'Antoni's 'they're not gonna stop us either' claim


Draymond responds to D'Antoni's 'they're not gonna stop us either' claim

Programming note: Warriors-Rockets coverage starts tonight at 6:30pm on NBC Sports Bay Area, and continues immediately after the final buzzer.

A couple weeks ago, Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni said something about the Warriors that made headlines.

"You're not gonna stop them. It's just not gonna happen. They're not gonna stop us either. Should be fun."

On Monday, Draymond Green was asked about D'Antoni's comments.

"You should believe that. I'm turning over a new leaf," Draymond began, before giving his real thoughts. "Number 1 -- they want it to be a shootout, which is fine. But we're gonna play some defense.

"We score pretty well, but we're a damn good defensive team, too. So we're gonna play some defense."

The Rockets made some significant changes to their roster this offseason, most notably the addition of Chris Paul.

But Houston also added defensive-minded guys in P.J. Tucker and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute.

But as Draymond pointed out:

"I don't know how serious they take defense with that comment, but I know they added some good defensive players."

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders and a Web Producer at NBC Sports Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller