It hasn’t been easy for Madison Bumgarner and Yasiel Puig to continue hating each other as fiercely as they once did now that Puig has moved away to the Midwest. The former in-state proximity between the two players allowed them to share an angry bond built on bat-flipping and batter-beaning. With Puig in Cincinnati, it wasn’t clear if they were going to be able to keep that intensity going. But on Sunday, the two showed that there were still was some sparks left in their feuding relationship.
It started on Puig’s end in the top of the sixth inning. With nobody on and nobody out, Puig smoked a 92-mph fastball from Bumgarner into the left-field seats. Knowing what he had just done, the Red decided to take some time to admire that handiwork on his long-time nemesis and threw his bat once he got done looking at the dinger.
That obviously didn’t have the same level of passion as it would have had just a few years ago. If this were 2013, Puig’s bat flip would have been more Bautista-like and he would have showed more tongue while rounding the bases. Bumgarner would have tried to start a fight with Puig at second base. But that kind of energy tends to fade with age in all relationships, and things remained relatively civil as Puig got to home plate.
Bumgarner, clearly inspired by what Puig had been so kind to do for him, wasn’t going to let his opponent off the hook. He saved his response for the postgame press conference, like a true gentleman.
It’s always great to see two old souls rekindle a flame that was thought to have been lost.