In December, a rodeo rider in Arizona named Mason Saunders won $26,560 with a partner in a team-roping competition. Not bad money. As it turns out, Saunders doesn't really need it. The Athletic revealed over the weekend that Saunders is actually star Major League Baseball pitcher Madison Bumgarner. As in, the same Bumgarner who has won three World Series, including as MVP in 2014, and who signed a five-year, $85 million deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks about two weeks after that rodeo victory, report the AP and USA Today. The 30-year-old 'fessed up that he has been competing in rodeos under the alias for a while now.
“Something for my wife to call me when we were out in public to keep people from recognizing me,” Bumgarner told reporters from the Athletic. “But you’re going to ruin that for me.” (See "Saunders" in action here.) It was not immediately clear if the Diamondbacks were aware of the risky hobby. Diamondbacks GM Mike Hazen said he was “not going to get into discussing specific contract language” when asked about the situtation. Giants fans might be able to empathize with Diamondbacks fans: In 2017, Bumgarner missed three months of San Francisco's season when he injured his shoulder in a dirt-bike accident. (Read more Madison Bumgarner stories.)