Let's just say that spring training is more than long enough. That seems like the only explanation for this one:
In putting together the puzzle from multiple replays and what several parties told reporters after the game, here is what appeared to happen:
- Dexter Fowler was on second base and possibly (we'll say unlikely) attempting to relay either pitches and/or locations to Heyward. There's little evidence of this, though, and we'll get to that.
- IF Fowler was relaying signs, there was apparently a mix-up between the two new teammates and, given that these games are practice, Heyward was apparently trying to ask Fowler what went wrong. The other scenario here is that since Heyward tried to check his swing, he could have simply been asking Fowler if it would have been a called strike (more on this later).
- Bumgarner thought Heyward was looking or talking to him, and we all know how well that goes over with one of the most intense pitchers in the game. It's part of what makes him great, but it can also escalate misunderstandings.
- Heyward immediately turns around explaining what actually happened (note the point to Fowler at second and the universal "my bad" hand pat to the chest).
- Buster Posey -- one of the most mild-mannered dudes in the bigs -- turns around satisfied and Bumgarner realizes it was nothing and does the same.
Bumgarner seemed to back up points one and two after his outing:
"They might want to be a little more discreet about it if you're going to do that sort of thing," Bumgarner said. #sfgiants— Henry Schulman (@hankschulman) March 25, 2016
Posey in an on-air interview with ESPN said he was confused, Bumgarner was confused and that "it might've confused Heyward as well."
Posey then summed it up rather nicely when pointing out that it's late in spring training. The players just want to start playing games that matter.
Later, Heyward was interviewed on ESPN and said he was simply asking Fowler if it was a strike or not (Heyward attempted to check his swing, so he would be asking if it would have been a called strike or not had he not offered). This honestly seems like the most realistic scenario, too.
If you desperately need a scapegoat, go with Heyward for being too obvious in looking at Fowler, considering who was on the mound, or Bumgarner for being so dialed up in a spring game. Really, though, let's not make a mountain out of a molehill here. None of the players involved are angry, so no one else should be.