ST. LOUIS -- Madison Bumgarner loves to hit, and acknowledges that when he gets in a batting cage, his approach is very simple: drive the ball as far as he possibly can, like a kid playing whiffle ball in his backyard in Hickory, North Carolina. He loves taking batting practice so much that last year he stopped doing it, understanding that it wasn’t doing anything to refine his approach at the plate -- and he mashed five homers in the regular season.
Bumgarner has resumed taking batting practice, and the other day, he clubbed 19 homers in six minutes, which spurred this conversation around the batting cage here Saturday: Could Bumgarner participate in the Home Run Derby?
If a driving force is to create as much interest in the event as possible, Bumgarner's participation would be like introducing a reality television star billionaire into a presidential election. There would be a lot of interest in how Bumgarner would fare against his position-player brethren.
Would Giants manager Bruce Bochy let Bumgarner participate, if asked?
"Yeah, I would," Bochy said while smiling, mulling over the concept. "It's not going to mess up his swing. He does it every day."
This was Bochy's response -- initially. Until the conversation shifted and the possibility was raised that Bumgarner could win a round, or two, and then theoretically put himself at greater chance for injury.