<
>

Jack Morris big fan of Madison Bumgarner

10/29/2014

Jack Morris was standing by the backstop two hours before Game 7 when someone asked him what he thought of San Francisco Giants ace Madison Bumgarner. "I want to hug him," he said.

In one of the most memorable games in World Series history, Morris pitched a 10-inning, 1-0 shutout against the Atlanta Braves just miles from where he grew up as the Minnesota Twins won Game 7 in 1991. Bumgarner, whose Game 5 shutout Sunday was his second of this postseason, reminded Morris of the days when starting pitchers still did that sort of thing.

"I was so proud of him to throw a complete game shutout in the World Series after the innings he threw this year," Morris said. "He gives me all the ammunition I need to keep talking all the crap I talk all year round. That somebody can do it, somebody will do it, and he's the living proof."

Morris said he believes Bumgarner could start Game 7, even on two days' rest, and if he did, "He could go 12 innings."

"He's a man's man," Morris went on. "He's big, he's strong. He's mentally strong, he has great mechanics and he knows how to pitch. He's the one who shines, the one who steps above everybody else in this postseason.

"He loves the big moment. He knows and trusts in what he is and who he is, what he has and he relishes it. You don't shine in those big moments unless you relish them. If you're afraid of it, it will be failure. If you can't wait for it, you've got a chance.

"He's got a big furnace burning right now."

Morris pitched when starters throwing complete games wasn't a rarity, before stat geeks contended that pitchers should not go through a lineup three times. It was such a different era that there was absolutely no question in 1991 that Morris would start three times if the World Series went the distance. It did and he did, saving the best for last with his Game 7 shutout at age 36 against John Smoltz, who was 24 at the time.

"I don't know when it changed but baseball was always played that way," he said. "The ace pitched Games 1, 4 and 7. It was always that way. Now it's different."

Well, it's not impossible to see someone start three games in a World Series. But the way things are going, he would probably throw only a few innings in each start.

"That's where it's all headed," Morris said. "The starter goes three innings. One time through the lineup. Then you'll have everyone else throwing righty, then a lefty, then righty, lefty, right, lefty -- and everyone throwing 100 miles an hour. And it will be six-hour games and they'll sell a lot of hot dogs and make a lot of money."