This will not come as a shock, but the man who uses "Fire on the Mountain" as his walk-up song, fires snot rockets between pitches, and spends his free time hunting and riding horses, can be hard to reach in the offseason.
It's one of the many things Madison Bumgarner's teammates joked about when he was a Giant. He was often impossible to get on the phone between the time that final pitch was thrown and the day pitchers and catchers reported to Scottsdale Stadium. The cell service in the hills of North Carolina isn't all that helpful, but Bumgarner is a man of few words, anyway.
Over the last couple of weeks, longtime friends and former teammates have found it harder than ever to get answers, but Bumgarner did have to keep his phone closer than normal. His agent had updates to give, after all.
"I was on the phone more than I typically would like to be," Bumgarner said Tuesday as he was introduced in Phoenix. "It was exciting. It was a lot going on. I'm thankful to be here and I'm thankful to be a Diamondback."
That last part will take some getting used to, but the Giants and their fans will get a crash course. They visit Chase Field on their first road trip of 2020 and host the Diamondbacks on their first homestand. Barring an injury, Bumgarner will start against the Giants on March 31 in Phoenix.
That means matchups with Buster Posey, one of his closest friends and the man who knows his style better than anyone on earth. It means he might face Brandon Crawford or Brandon Belt (although the Giants figure to platoon a lot more next season). Bumgarner said he has talked to a few former teammates since agreeing to join a rival, but the conversations were "super quick."
"We haven't really gotten into that yet," he said, smiling. "But I'm sure we will."
The current Giants and Bumgarner will surely have fun with it. It was always a big deal when Bumgarner threw live BP sessions during spring training, with trash talk flying back and forth around the cage between grunts from a pitcher clearly giving a little extra when someone like Posey stepped into the box.
The future matchups may be tougher to swallow for some fans, and Bumgarner addressed that part, too. On his first day as a Diamondback, it was clear that Bumgarner was thrilled with his new home and happy to have a new challenge. He wants to compete, and the Diamondbacks are better-equipped than the Giants to do that in 2020. But he also knows what he left behind.
"It's tough. The fans in that city mean so much to me," Bumgarner said. "I mean, shoot, it's been 10 years there and we won three world championships and have been through a lot together. They've always been as good as they could possibly be to me and I'll never forget that. I'll always be thankful for it. That part of it was tough, but coming here, so far, this place has exceeded all my expectations, and like I said, I'm really excited about it."