HICKORY, N.C. — About 2,260 miles separate the Hickory Tavern, the watering ho

Napisany przez seestyle

HICKORY, N.C. About 2,260 miles separate the Hickory Tavern, the watering hole of preference here, from AT&T Park in San Francisco, where the Giants and the Next Big Thing From Hickory are locked in a chase for the National League pennant.But this iswhere Madison Bumgarners fans are cheering the loudest. And where an audible sigh rang through the bar and restaurant when the Giants ace fielded a bunt and threw erratically toPablo Sandoval stretching at third base. It was one of the few blemishes on Bumgarners postseason resume, one that is surprisingly lengthy for a 25-year-old.MORE: | | You should have been here when they won the World Series, bartender Brian Gaumer said after the play that gave the Nationals a 2-0 lead Monday, their first of the NLDS. He has witne David Backes Jersey sed much of Bumgarners ascension from small-town prodigy to major league star.That rise, of course, included the Giants 2010 and 2012 world championships, in which Bumgarner played important roles.This place was packed. It was crazy, Gaumer said. Pretty much everyone is a converted Giants fan here.Its true.Hickory is Bumgarners hometown.Actually, he was raised 12 miles northwest of here in a small township called Hudson, just beyond the line that divides Catawba and Caldwell counties. All the same, the Giants are a regional attraction.Hickory is the sort of place that is large enough to support your typical a sortment of Nolan Stevens Jersey strip malls, big-box stores and chain restaurants, but small enough where folks still hang their laundry on the line and come together in support of one of their own.FOX SPORTS: So in this baseball-crazedtown, population 40,361, its not far Boston Bruins Jersey -fetched rather, it's generally accepted to suggest that Hickory boasts the highest concentration of Giants fans east of the Mi si sippi River.That at least offers an explanation as to why orange and black were the predominant colors among the crowd of 50 or so gathered inside a western North Carolina sports bar Monday, some wearing Giants hats, others sporting Bumgarner shirseys.The people of Hickory have watched in awe of Bumgarners career.When much of the furniture manufacturing industry for which it was known left town years ago, people sought a new source of pride.With the way he threw a baseball at South Caldwell High School or while playing travel ball, Bumgarner has filled that void for almost a decade.He was always the Next Big Thing, said Dale Jarrett, the NASCAR Hall of Famer-turned ESPN analyst who is Brock Nelson Jersey also from Hickory. Being that he was from the area and with the talent that he had, he became a name that was known to a lot of people. Everyone, including myself, went up to this little high school and watched him pitch.When the towns Single-A club, the Crawdads, hosted Bumgarner a year after the Giants made him the 10th overall pick in 2007, it seemed anyone who was anyone showed up for that game. Attendance exceeded the local stadiums capacity by more than 500, a record that stands today.Bumgarner's family has always embraced a humble, small-town lifestyle, even after Madison signed a six-year, $35 million extension in 2012.Bumgarners mother, Debbie, was employed by furniture manufacturer Broyhill when the company was headquartered in nearby Lenoir. His father, Kevin, works the overnight shift at an area food proce sing center. He also is a part-time college umpire.Jarretts son, Zach, 19, grew up playing baseball in the path paved by Bumgarner. Kevin Bumgarner umpired many of his games. Zach Jarrett is now a sophomore infielder on scholarship at Charlotte.I can remember the buzz when he had his perfect game going (on Aug. 26) and everyone the next day, thats all anyone was talking about, Dale Jarrett said. Everyone found that game somehow, some way on a TV somewhere. Its an area that has a tremendous amount of respect for the family and what Madison stood for.Bumgarner is, in one sense, the reason the Giants are playing meaningful baseball this October. Nazem Kadri Jersey His in the wild-card game last week sent the Giants to the NLDS.The two-time All-Star is again in the running for National League Cy Young Award after an 18-10 season as the workhorse in San Francisco.Here, everyone loves Madison Bumgarner, said Gaumer, the bartender.Hudson is even nicknamed Bumtown, after the generations of Bumgarners Teddy Blueger Jersey who have lived there, but made famous now by a hometown kid's succe s.The region's pride for Bumgarner is never more apparent than when you make your way toward Bumtown, down Deal Mill Road, a winding country road lined with trees on either sidewhich intermittentlygive way to reveal sprawling fields and plots of modest countryside homes.The orange signs that dot their lawns resemble a politicians campaign effort.They read: Madison Bumgarner fan lives here.And there are dozens of them.Said with pride. (Brandon Schlager/SN)

Uživatel(é) prohlížející toto téma:

1 host(ů)