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Madison Bumgarner Reveals He Uses 'Mason Saunders' Alias for Rodeo Competitions

Megan ArmstrongSenior Analyst IFebruary 24, 2020

Newly acquired Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Madison Bumgarner speaks after being introduced during a team availability, Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)
Matt York/Associated Press

The Legend of MadBum just grew.  

Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner was presented a photo by The Athletic's Andrew Baggarly and Zach Buchanan that was posted by Rancho Rio Arena showing a young man identified as Jaxson Tucker standing alongside a grown man identified as Mason Saunders.

"Oh boy," Bumgarner responded, confirming that he is Saunders. "This is ruining my alias."

Under his alias, he won $26,500 in a team-roping rodeo competition. 

Baggarly and Buchanan added that Bumgarner confirmed the photo was taken on Dec. 3. Days afterward, the three-time World Series champion finished second in a separate event under his Saunders alias.

Bumgarner's alias is a new revelation, but the 30-year-old ace has been roping since he was 15 or 16 years old, per The Athletic.

"It's just part of who you are," he noted.

Bumgarner disclosed that he opted to compete under a different name to avoid enhanced publicity.

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"So, he devised 'Mason Saunders,'" Baggarly and Buchanan wrote. "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. But you're going to ruin that for me.'"

Bumgarner signed a five-year, $85 million contract to join the Diamondbacks in mid-December. He had played his entire career with the San Francisco Giants since debuting in Sept. 2009. The 2007 first-round pick became one of the league's best pitchers in San Francisco, earning the 2014 NLCS and World Series MVP awards.

In the same way roping adds to Bumgarner's mystique, the southpaw also has two Silver Slugger awards for his prowess at the plate. But Bumgarner has always kept quiet despite his All-Star status. 

ESPN's Pedro Gomez elaborated on how Arizona might have appealed to Bumgarner's sensibilities (h/t Mercury News' Gary Peterson): 

"He's got horses that he owns that are in the Phoenix area, Scottsdale area. It's going to be something that's going to be an easy transition for him.

"You know he's got the country, North Carolina background. He's a simple man. He's not somebody that's into the bright lights of the big city. He's more into, 'Let me get on my farm and ride my horses.' He'll be able to do that year-round (in Arizona)."

Bumgarner called the perception that he only became a Diamondback to be close to his horses "bulls--t," per The Athletic, but he did admit that he enjoys having several rodeo arenas around Phoenix. 

The Diamondbacks likely don't care why they got Bumgarner but are instead just happy they did. Arizona has not made the postseason since 2017. 

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