While the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants have gone in vastly different directions in recent seasons, their head-to-head matchups don’t often demonstrate as much. Particularly when the Dodgers have played at now-Oracle Park and formerly at AT&T Park.
Their visit last weekend produced two one-run games during the three-game series. Though, they were overshadowed by the confrontation between Max Muncy and Madison Bumgarner in the rubber match.
Muncy drew the ire of Bumgarner when he lifted a 426-foot home run into McCovey Cove in the first inning. Bumgarner felt Muncy admired his drive for too long, prompting the left-hander to yell and gesture for him to run the bases.
Muncy shouted back at Bumgarner as he jogged around the bases and even appeared to signal for him to bring forth a physical altercation if he so desired.
Alex Verdugo discussed what the confrontation did for him personally and the Dodgers as a whole during an appearance on “The Jim Rome Show:”
“I mean, I was a little fired up by it too. Obviously, Muncy, when he hits it, he drops the bat. I didn’t think he pimped it bad at all, I didn’t think he looked at it. I thought he hit it, knew it was gone, dropped the bat and started running. But Bumgarner, second pitch of the game he was already jawing at the umpire, so I think he was already a little mad. It was a day game so he was a little grumpy. It was kind of also good. I think it kind of woke us up, gave us that adrenaline, and we woke up quick.”
Verdugo added he is understanding of pitchers getting upset by a player perhaps showing them up with a celebration, but reiterated that Muncy’s was mild:
“Hey, that’s their view. I feel like if I was a pitcher and someone hit a bomb off me, I’d be upset about it too. But that’s the competitor in me. I want to always be better than the guy I face. For him to do it, I’m not mad at it, but maybe not get too fired up about it if it’s that little of a pimp. Like, I would understand if he stood in the box, it landed into the ocean, and then he ran. But it looked fine to me.”
The incident wasn’t the Dodgers’ first run-in with Bumgarner, who often tussled with Yasiel Puig. Muncy downplayed the possibility of his exchange with Bumgarner escalating and said he did not want to fill the role Puig held.
Like Verdugo, former Dodgers infielder Chase Utley enjoyed seeing some emotion from both players.