Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Madison Bumgarner has secretly been competing in rodeos for years under the name "Mason Saunders" in an attempt to avoid attention from baseball fans.
But The Athletic's Andrew Baggarly and Zach Buchanan discovered photos of Bumgarner after a competition in December, and he confirmed to them that he had been competing on the side. He said people in the rodeo circuit know he's a professional baseball player, and he even told some of his former San Francisco Giants teammates about his secret rodeo career. The Diamondbacks don't seem too worried by Bumgarner's hobby, and Diamondbacks General Manager Mike Hazen told USA Today that he's a "grown man" with a life "outside baseball."
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Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Madison Bumgarner has been quietly competing in rodeos under an alias during the off-season. As first reported by The Athletic's Andrew Baggarly and Zach Buchanan, Bumgarner, 30, has been competing under the name "Mason Saunders," and recently went home from a rodeo with $26,550 in prize money. The three-time World Series champion and 2014 World Series MVP told The Athletic that he's been using the alias "Mason Saunders" — which is a shortened version of "Madison" and his wife's maiden name — in an attempt to avoid attention. But all attempts at hiding his identity ended in early December when Bumgarner won a team-roping rodeo competition in Wickenburg, Arizona, and images of him were posted on a popular rodeo Facebook page. "No matter what hobbies I have, I take them serious," Bumgarner, who told The Athletic he'd been competing in rodeos for years, said. "That's just my personality. I don't do anything just for fun, per se. I wish I did."
Bumgarner told The Athletic that he has never been discreet with his hobby, and that people in the rodeo circuit knew who he was, and he had told many of his former San Francisco Giants teammates. "He's a cowboy,'' veteran Diamondbacks pitcher Edwin Jackson told USA Today. "He's proud of it. He's probably been riding horses and doing this his whole life.'' The Diamondbacks don't seem too worried by Bumgarner's hobby. "Madison is a grown man,'' Diamondbacks General Manager Mike Hazen told USA Today. "Look, these guys are professional athletes, and they're grown adults. They have lives outside of baseball.''
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