The Big Three-Oh: #26

Welcome to “The Big Three-Oh!” I’m turning 30 at the end of July and to celebrate, I am counting down my best/favorite sports moments in my lifetime. If you missed the kickoff post, check it out for the background for the seriesToday we’re talking about one of the greatest postseason performances in sports history. That’s right, I’m confident enough to say that about this MLB pitcher. MJ, Lebron, Gretzky, Brady, Manning, Elway, and not too many others can match what Madison Bumgarner did in 2014. At 26th comes maybe the greatest World Series pitching performances EVER.

#26 — Madison Bumgarner’s 2014 World Series Dominance

For those that remember this World Series, you know why Madison Bumgarner deserves a spot on this list. While the above video talks mainly about MadBum’s performance in Game 7, it least thankfully touches on his wins in Games 1 and 5. What he throughout the 2014 playoffs is legendary. I know there’s the anti-playoff expansionists who will say he pitched in the Wild Card Game so thus it shouldn’t count against records because of extra rounds and whatever BS you want to believe. To that, I ask why you hate fun?\

Madison Bumgarner stepped up time and time again in ways that we demand of athletes in high-pressure situations. Whether it is the above-mentioned players or fellow pitchers like Clayton Kershaw, Pedro Martinez, and plenty of other regular-season darlings who came short in the postseason. History may remember the Giants winning the World Series in even years to start the 2010s but 2014 Bumgarner should not be forgotten.

I love that the above video spends time pointing out the absurdity that was the All-Star Game determining World Series home-field advantage. Considering the Giants won, the hypothesis that its Derek Jeter’s retirement being the reason for the Royals hosting the game losing some footing, especially considering KC fans stuffed the ballot the following year, but bashing dumb MLB rules is always appreciated.

Anyway, 2014 could’ve easily been remembered as the third Giants World Series title but Bumgarner made it the best of the three, and that’s saying something! 2010 saw them rally through each round. 2012 had them down 1-3 to the Cardinals in the NLCS. But 2014 is the year of MadBum. It had to be on the list but similarly to yesterday’s, this was one I could only appreciate as a fan of the sport, not the team. So 26th is where this dominant performance fell.

Today’s Instagram Athlete

Nine years ago to count down the days until my 21st birthday, I posted a picture of athletes wearing the cooresponding number of day left to Facebook. While I did not have an Instagram account back in 2011, I have one now so I’ll be revisiting this idea in conjuncture with Top 30 Sports Moments. FOLLOW MY INSTAGRAM SO YOU DON’T MISS IT

Please press play on this video before continuing…

(via)

If you’re surprised by this selection, you haven’t been paying attention to my fandom. Chase Utley. The myth, the legend, forever THE MAN. A world fucking champion. My favorite baseball player of all time.

There’s a lot more I can say about Chase Utley but it may repeat with future entries on this list. I’ll put it this way, Chase Utley Night in 2019 could’ve made the list on its own and the Phillies lost that game.

(cover photo via)

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