Madison Bumgarner, Jason Heyward had awkward misunderstanding (Video)
San Francisco Giants ace Madison Bumgarner and Chicago Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward had an uncomfortable exchange on Thursday, but it turned out to be a mere misunderstanding.
Bumgarner struck Heyward out on a nasty cut fastball in the top of the fourth that the home plate umpire felt caught the inside corner. The left-hander didn’t do anything to show Heyward up, but it looked like Heyward stared him down while walking away.
As Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News explained, Bumgarner appeared to say “you looking at me?” to Heyward. Heyward said he was looking at teammate Dexter Fowler, who was standing on second base. Does that mean the two were stealing signs? More from Baggarly:
It looked like he was upset with him,” Bumgarner said. “There’s only one reason he could be doing that.”
The clear inference: Fowler was trying to relay pitch signs – and doing a poor job of it. And that’s not exactly going to engender a friendly response from an opponent, is it?
“No, it’s not,” Bumgarner said. “They might want to be a little more discreet about that if you’re going to do that kind of thing.”
Pump the brakes, says Heyward. After the game, he told reporters he was merely asking Fowler if the pitch looked like a strike from his perspective.
“He made a great pitch on me, a front-door cutter, and I’m all, ‘Hey Dex, what’ve you got? Ball or strike?'” Heyward explained. “I wasn’t trying to show anybody up, and all the sudden Buster Posey is in front of me. I’ve been playing against that batter since 2008, in the minor leagues. They play the game the right way. It was a misunderstanding.
“There’s no tipping of signs. Believe it or not. It wasn’t going on, especially in a spring training game. … It didn’t look good, but I mean, this is what people pay to see, right?”
If this was a regular season game, you might be inclined to think Heyward was lying. But stealing signs during a spring training game? That type of stuff typically creates controversy in situations that are more like this.
Nothing to see here.