Is that Madison Bumgarner or Mason Saunders? Turns out, it's both.
Sunday night a report in The Athletic unmasked a successful rodeo roper as actually being the three-time World Series champion and four-time All-Star pitcher. It turns out, Bumgarner has been moonlighting as a rodeo competitor for a while, possibly years. Last December, he won $26,650 in a team-roping competition with his partner, Jaxson Tucker.
Here's another shot of Bumgarner:
When approached about his alter ego, Bumgarner fessed up, but he was clearly uncomfortable with the questions.
Here's a section of the piece:
"Why the alias then? That was to protect his adventures from garnering too much attention outside the insular world of roping. (“I’m nervous about this interview right now,” Bumgarner said through a smile to a pair of reporters from The Athletic at one point. “I’m upset with both you two.”) If he competed as Madison Bumgarner, every phone camera in the arena would be trained on him, he said. So, he devised “Mason Saunders.” The surname is the maiden name of his wife, Ali. “Mason” is a shortened version of Madison, “something for my wife to call me when we were out in public to keep people from recognizing me,” Bumgarner said. “But you’re going to ruin that for me.”"
Bumgarner said people recognized him all the time, he just kept it a secret from the press.
While we don't have access to his contracts, it would be interesting to know if Bumgarner was cleared to compete in those events by the Giants during his 11 years with them. After all, last March "Mason Saunders" competed in an event in Colorado just two days before Bumgarner pitched a spring training game against the Oakland Athletics.
Bumgarner signed a five-year, $85 million deal with the Diamondbacks this offseason. It's unclear if the team is cool with his side-hustle. Bumgarner claims everyone knew he did it, except the media. That's no longer the case.