Dodgers News: Chase Utley ‘Loved The Excitement’ Of Max Muncy’s Confrontation With Giants Ace Madison Bumgarner
Los Angeles Dodgers infielder Max Muncy gestures after hitting a home run against San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner
Ed Szczepanski/USA TODAY Sports

For someone who hit a walk-off home run in the 2018 World Series, Max Muncy has become even more of a popular sports figure in recent days. After hitting a first-inning home run off San Francisco Giants ace Madison Bumgarner on Sunday, Muncy exchanged words with Bumgarner while rounding the bases.

It was Bumgarner who initiated the incident, as he yelled in Muncy’s direction, gestured for him to jog the bases, and began to stalk him before the home-plate umpire stepped in. Muncy made his own motion toward Bumgarner after reaching first base and again steps before crossing home.

Muncy then went viral after the game when he told SportsNet LA’s Alanna Rizzo that he said Bumgarner should “get the ball out of the ocean” when the fiery left-hander got offended at Muncy for watching the home run fly.

Muncy’s response made headlines and now former Los Angeles Dodgers teammate Chase Utley, in his debut week as a studio analyst, joined those who weighed in, via SportsNet LA:

“I loved the excitement, to be honest with you. Mad Bum being Mad Bum, he’s a competitor, he’s fiery, at times he tends to act like a Sheriff. He’s right; the game is changing a bit. (But) there’s a lot of things I would focus my attention on than a guy watching a 420-foot homer.”

The incident between Muncy and Bumgarner easily became the biggest rivalry moment between the Dodgers and Giants in 2019. Bumgarner is no stranger to sparking tensions between longtime rivals and was known for picking fights with Yasiel Puig during the latter’s Dodgers tenure from 2013-2018.

However, Muncy hopes his exchange with Bumgarner does not spiral into a similar rivalry or, as he put it, a “Puig thing.”

Utley developed a reputation as an old-school player throughout his career, and especially in his three-plus seasons with the Dodgers. He became a favorite in the team’s clubhouse for his professionalism and work ethic, mentoring several younger players such as Kiké Hernandez and Corey Seager.

Utley retired following the 2018 season but remains a part of the Dodgers organization. He was present during parts of Spring Training and still interacts with former teammates to help “troubleshoot” flaws he sees.

He became the second ex-Dodger to join SportsNet LA immediately following his retirement. Jerry Hariston Jr., who played with the Dodgers in 2013, has been one of the network’s primary studio analysts since its launch in 2014.