West, Bum engage in stare-down: 'Joe was behind the plate?'


West, Bum engage in stare-down: 'Joe was behind the plate?'

Programming note: Giants-A's coverage starts tonight at 6:30pm with Giants Pregame Live on CSN Bay Area.

Madison Bumgarner is a fiery individual.

He's an intense competitor, who isn't afraid of confrontation.

Just ask Yasiel Puig. Or Alex Guerrero. Or Delino Shields.

On Thursday night, he took issue with home plate umpire Joe West.

With two outs in the Bottom of the 6th inning, Bumgarner's 1-1 pitch to Jedd Gyorko missed wide.

"Just off the outside," is how Giants broadcaster Jon Miller described it.

The 2-1 pitch was even closer, but West called it a ball. Bumgarner was visibly frustrated.

"2-1 to Gyorko. Wow. Now Bumgarner, he's thinking that ball's a strike," Miller explained. "Now he's unhappy with Joe West."

According to broadcaster Mike Krukow: "Either one of those last two could have been called a strike. Easily."

As Miller noted: "And that one, according to the Pitch F/X system, should have been called a strike."

When Bumgarner threw Ball-4 (clearly not a strike), he yelled an expletive and demonstratively caught the ball back from Buster Posey.

"Bumgarner let out a yelp and immediately the mask came off from Joe West," Krukow said. "These two have kind of been having some stank-eye going at each other all game long."

What happened next? Bumgarner and West stared each other down for well over 20 seconds (watch the video above).

"Well Joe West is not going back behind the catcher," Miller said. "So what is he doing? He wants to throw him out, or what?"

"He's not gonna back away from confrontation. It's just not in his make-up," Krukow explained.

"Which guy are we talking about backing away?" Miller asked with a chuckle.

"Well come to think of it, both guys," Krukow answered as both he and Miller continued to laugh.

Bumgarner left the game after the seventh inning with the Giants leading 4-3. San Diego scored one in the eighth and walked off on the Giants in the ninth.

After the game, the 2014 World Series MVP was asked about the situation with West.

“Joe was behind the plate?” Bumgarner said, somehow keeping a straight face. “I don’t pay attention to the umpires. I didn’t realize he was up there.”

Never change, Madison.

Why Gabe Kapler is so excited to finally manage Giants against Dodgers

Why Gabe Kapler is so excited to finally manage Giants against Dodgers

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Giants, appropriately, will kick off the Gabe Kapler Era against the Dodgers.

That's where Kapler became a candidate to one day lead a club while serving as a director of player development for four years, where he learned a lot of the methods that he's now putting to use with the rival. Kapler spent plenty of time with the current and next generation of Dodgers stars, and on Thursday he noted it'll be cool to see young righty Tony Gonsolin start against Dereck Rodriguez. He said he watched a lot of Saturday's opponents, including Gonsolin, closely while working for "that other club."

Yes, Kapler is getting into the rivalry already. He wouldn't say "Dodgers" out loud while discussing Saturday's spring opener. 

"I'm just interested in the San Francisco Giants," he said, smiling, when pushed by reporters. "I've got black and orange on and I'm pretty proud of that."

Saturday is a day that Kapler has mostly avoided talking about. When asked about the start of games, he has pointed out repeatedly that the Giants have way too much work to do on back fields and in the bullpens to think too much about the Cactus League season. But it's here now, and Kapler admitted that this will be a meaningful day for him. 

For the first time since 2006, somebody other than Bruce Bochy will be on that top step. That has been an adjustment for the fan base, and many have voiced their displeasure, but the ticket Saturday is still a hot one. Mix a Cactus League opener on a Saturday with the fact that it's Giants-Dodgers and you have the most expensive ticket in spring training. According to TickPick, the average ticket for Saturday's game is $96, more than $25 more than the next hottest spring ticket (a Yankees-Blue Jays game) in 2020. 

[RELATED: Bruce Bochy visits Giants camp]

If the weather cooperates -- it's supposed to rain all day -- Kapler will give the crowd a nice preview of the season. Brandon Crawford has been pushed back a few days because he had flu-like symptoms this week, but the rest of Saturday's projected lineup is full of potential 2020 regulars:

Duggar CF
Longoria 3B
Belt 1B
Posey C
Davis RF
Slater LF
Dubon SS
Solano 2B
Ruf DH
Rodriguez SP

Bruce Bochy visits Giants camp, plans to spend time with Gabe Kapler

Bruce Bochy visits Giants camp, plans to spend time with Gabe Kapler

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Pablo Sandoval grabbed a glove from his bag, looked up and saw a familiar figure 20 yards to his left. 

"Bochy!" Sandoval yelled, waving. 

Bruce Bochy, the Giants' longtime manager and current special advisor, stayed away early in camp, trying to show respect for the new manager, Gabe Kapler. But with Team France about to start working out in Tucson, Bochy, its manager, drove to Arizona and visited his former players. He said he plans to be around off and on in the coming weeks, and several players made plans to spend more time with Bochy while he's in the area. 

Kapler did, too. He ran over to shake Bochy's hand after live batting practice and the two talked about getting together. Kapler called Bochy a "legend" and said he hoped he would speak with the full team at some point. 

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"That's something I want to talk to Boch about and gauge his comfort level, but I'm really happy he's here," Kapler said. "It brings a lot of energy to the fields and it's nice to look in there and see Boch there."

Kapler and Bochy met during the search for the new manager and they had some conversations after the decision was made. Kapler said they've been in contact since, although it has been a busy period for both men. Kapler had very little time to put together a new staff and he crisscrossed the country meeting with players. Bochy did some traveling, including a visit to Miami for Sandoval's wedding. He now is preparing for World Baseball Classic qualifying. 

Bochy and Team France will play their first game March 13 in Tucson. His brother, Joe, will be his bench coach and his son, Brett, will be one of his pitchers. Bochy's team will be overmatched -- his best player is likely to be former Giant Alen Hanson, who has some French blood -- but he has thrived in those situations in the past.

[RELATED: Why Giants might not name closer before they break camp]

Kapler's first camp since taking over for Bochy has encouraged players to find any possible way to get better, and that's something the manager takes to heart. He is constantly looking for ways to improve. So what can Kapler learn from spending time with Bochy in his first season with the Giants?

"I think Boch has a really good feel for baseball from all angles," Kapler said. "I don't think there's an area of the game that he's not very developed in. Trying to get a real well-rounded view of the game through his lens is going to be really valuable for me. 

"I also think he has a really good way of just connecting with people, players, media, staff. I want to do a lot of listening when I have a chance to sit down with Boch."