Giants

Brandon Belt gives hilarious response about facing Madison Bumgarner

Brandon Belt gives hilarious response about facing Madison Bumgarner

Among the many moments we have already missed because of baseball's postponement is a game that could have been the most interesting of the 2020 season. 

The Giants were going to visit the Arizona Diamondbacks on their first road trip, and they would have faced Madison Bumgarner. It was a matchup he was looking forward to, and one his longtime teammates were waiting for, too. 

The good-natured trash talk began at FanFest, and Brandon Belt continued it on a recent episode of "Chalk Talk at Home." Belt, who joked at FanFest that he thinks his longtime friend might drill him with a pitch, said he's looking forward to digging in against Bumgarner whenever that happens. 

"I think it's going to be fun. It's the guy that you played with for so long and now he's on the other side of the field," he said. "I really just want to hit a homer off him. I'll take my time running around the bases, probably do a pretty good bat-flip, maybe talk to him a little bit as I'm rounding first. I'm going to savor that."

Belt (who is generally more of a dramatic-bat-dropper) is probably one of the few big leaguers who could get away with that. The two often had a fun back-and-forth going. 

The Giants are planning to go platoon-heavy whenever they return and Wilmer Flores might get a lot of first base reps against lefties, but hopefully Gabe Kapler lets the longtime regulars take their cracks when the Giants first see Bumgarner. The franchise's former ace wouldn't want it any other way. 

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Bumgarner said this spring that he was already thinking about his first matchup with the Giants. Asked if he had already thought about what he would throw Buster Posey, he smiled and cut a reporter's question off. 

"Oh yeah. Oh yeah," he said. "Yes."

Imagining best opponents for Barry Bonds in hypothetical Home Run Derby

Imagining best opponents for Barry Bonds in hypothetical Home Run Derby

There might not be a more perfect candidate for an all-time MLB Home Run Derby than former Giants legend Barry Bonds. His 756 home runs are the most in baseball history, and no single player’s power has been as intimidating as Bonds was in his heyday.

MLB.com recently came up with a hypothetical matchup for Bonds in their “#WhatIf Derby” series, choosing Los Angeles Dodgers star and 2019 NL MVP Cody Bellinger.

[GIANTS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

It’s safe to say fans clearly favor one side in this showdown of sluggers.

Bellinger’s power is no joke, but he doesn’t hold a candle to Bonds’ prowess at the plate. 

But this got us thinking, who would make the most formidable foe for Bonds in an imaginary home run derby?

Sticking with current players, there are plenty of viable candidates to challenge Bonds in a home run-hitting duel.

Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. put on an absolute show in last year’s derby, smashing a ridiculous 40 home runs to overtake Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson in the second round. Guerrero Jr.’s dad famously won the 2007 derby at Oracle Park while playing with the Los Angeles Angels.

Another player who, if fully healthy, could give Bonds a run for his money is New York Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton. While he’s battled injuries in recent years, Stanton’s raw power and force he puts into each swing doesn’t have many parallels in any era of MLB.

[RELATED: Giants' Hunter Pence leads active MLB players in this obscure stat]

Completing the ideal foursome of participants would be Stanton’s New York teammate in outfielder Aaron Judge. The Fresno State product won the 2017 derby in an effort that included four home runs traveling further than 500 feet.

These four sluggers together all in their prime competing in one home run derby would be an unreal scene. There aren’t many in today’s game who even come close to Bonds’ strength in the box, but Guerrero Jr., Stanton and Judge are about as close as it gets.

Giants manager Gabe Kapler says we all have 'collective responsibility to speak up'

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Giants manager Gabe Kapler says we all have 'collective responsibility to speak up'

Like many in the baseball community, Giants manager Gabe Kapler has been particularly active on social media over the past week, posting his own thoughts on the murder of George Floyd and retweeting others in baseball who have reacted. 

During his weekly spot on KNBR, Kapler was asked about his thoughts on what he has seen in recent days. He said he is encouraged by how many people are finally speaking up. 

"I think the baseball community is doing some good work right now, I think the sports leadership community is doing some good work right now. In our own community in the Bay, we have leaders like Steve Kerr and Steph Curry speaking up against some injustices that are very clear to everyone right now," Kapler said. "They're speaking up on how important it is to not just not be racist, but to be antiracist, and what that means is demonstrating very clearly and very strongly that it is unacceptable to discriminate against anybody for the color of their skin, for their socioeconomic background, for how they grew up. None of those things is acceptable, to discriminate anybody for any of those reasons. 

"People in the baseball community -- like Jimmy Rollins and like Rocco Baldelli and like Jack Flaherty -- are coming out publicly on social media and demonstrating their anger and their sadness. We have the opportunity right now to come together with the black community and demonstrate that whether you're a white man or a black man or a white woman or a black woman right now, we all have the collective responsibility to speak up. I guess the one thing that is somewhat encouraging right now is that people are beginning to make their voices heard and I think that's a really important bit of progress right now."

Protests continued across the country Monday night, a week after Floyd was killed by a police officer in Minneapolis. Kapler said he is focused on listening right now, while also having conversations with his two sons and his parents, who marched in the civil rights movement in the 1960s. 

In general, baseball teams have been slower than others to react to what's happening around the country, although the Giants did put out a statement Sunday. Several stars have put out messages on their social media pages, most notably Cardinals right-hander Jack Flaherty. His message was one of the ones Kapler shared on his Twitter page: