Balls: MadBum brushback is right on target 

click to enlarge Madison Bumgarner
  • Ben Margot/AP File Photo
  • The Giants’ Madison Bumgarner, who won last year’s Silver Slugger award for the best hitting pitcher, was right to criticize the Nationals’ Max Scherzer, who hurt his thumb at the plate and questioned whether pitchers should hit in the National League.
Giants stud pitcher Madison Bumgarner hit another grand slam this week. Balls measured this one at 550 feet.

On Monday, Bumgarner showed some serious testosterone when he took the Washington Nationals’ Max Scherzer to task for weak comments in regard to the designated hitter rule. After the $210-million pitcher injured a thumb at the plate the other day, he complained about having to swing a bat in the first place and all but begged somebody to kiss his owie.

“What if he got hurt pitching? Should we say we can’t pitch anymore?” demanded MadBum, the owner of six career homers. “I hate what happened to him. He works his butt off out there, but I don’t think [the injury] was because he was hitting. What if he gets hurt getting out of his truck? You tell him not to drive anymore?

“That’s the way the game has to be played. I appreciate both sides of the argument, and I get it. But [the DH rule] isn’t the way to go about it.”

The National League will adopt the designated hitter eventually, if only because it offers a higher-priced salary slot for the players. When that happens, Balls will lobby hard for a designated runner and a designated fielder, because it doesn’t want to see so many bad bodies make fools of themselves on the basepaths and in the field, either.

AND ANOTHER THING: There are several reasons why the National League game is superior for real baseball fans, but one trumps them all. The DH allows for nutcases such as the Kansas City Royals’ Kelvin Herrera and Yordano Ventura to fire at heads at no risk to their own health whatsoever.

As long as American League pitchers have a license to kill, there’s a greater threat that something tragic can happen, and that time grows closer every day.

LOSE-LOSE SITUATION: The Los Angeles Angels arrived in Oakland on the heels of the Josh Hamilton trade, one in which there were no winners, only losers.

Not only did the Angels eat more than $60 million on Hamilton’s contact, but they dealt him to the division rival Texas Rangers in return for a bag of balls, basically. As for Hamilton, he still hasn’t come to grips with the drug demons that have turned him into one of the biggest wastes of natural talent ever. (Just a guess, but general manager Jerry Dipoto may want to conduct a background check next time.)

“The one thing that I’m sad and a little bit disappointed in is the fact that there wasn’t any accountability, most importantly to his teammates,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said before the series opener Tuesday. “If you look at how much support he got in that clubhouse when he was struggling, whatever was happening, no one ever questioned Josh’s work ethic and wanting to do good or play well. ... For him not to show at least a little remorse toward his teammates I think is wrong.”

Meanwhile, Hamilton has $80 million left on his deal. And you wonder why Major League Baseball has lost an entire generation of fans in recent decades.

AMATEUR HOUR: SB Nation fired one of its Angels bloggers after he referred to Hamilton as a “coddled hillbilly” and wished him “Happy snorting” among other things.

Which is pretty much what you expect of a Single-A website.

IGGY PLOP: Balls presents yet another reason why the extended layoff will benefit the Warriors in the next round of the playoffs: Andre Iguodala will be able to rest his cerebrum, which is strained right now.

“The rest is good for me because you guys ask all these questions,” Iguodala joked to Balls after practice on Tuesday. “My head hurts ... nah. It’s good for me, because late in the season, you get nicked up. You get bruised up. The more time [off], the better.”

“He’s at the age where every day he’s going to feel different,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “That’s part of [the process]. He’ll stand to benefit from the rest for sure.”

Iguodala did some good things in the sweep of the New Orleans Pelicans, but shooting the ball wasn’t one of them. He bricked 20 of 29 field-goal attempts, often a sign of wobbly legs.

LOVE HURTS: The expected loss of Kevin Love for the remainder of the playoffs vaulted the Warriors past the Cleveland Cavaliers as the postseason favorites. Now the Warriors are an 8-5 pick to win it all, according to Bovada oddsmakers. Only the Cavaliers (12-5) and the San Antonio Spurs (13-2) are in their area code.

(Fine print: If residents find any bookie, bookmaking business or online sports book based in California, they can assume it is illegal, unlicensed and unsafe.)

BREAKING NEWS: Because of the riots in Baltimore, no fans will allowed at the Chicago White Sox-Baltimore Orioles game at Camden Yards, which gives the visitors an unfair competitive advantage.

After all, the White Sox have lots of experience in empty stadiums over the years.

Got an opinion? A gripe? A compliment? (A compliment?!?) Send them to pladewski@sfexaminer.com and you may get your name in the paper one day.

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