Madison Bumgarner is apparently keeping himself busy when he’s not on the mound trying to win baseball games and has been participating in rodeo events under an alias.
Bumgarner is known as Mason Saunders at these events as he tries to keep a low profile, The Athletic reported Sunday. Bumgarner, who signed a five-year, $85 million contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks in the offseason, won a team-roping competition in December.
Photos of the All-Star pitcher surfaced on Arizona’s Rancho Rio Facebook page. Bumgarner told The Athletic he’s often recognized at the events but has been using the alias to keep from drawing attention to himself. He said Mason Saunders was created by shortening his first name and using his wife’s maiden name.
“Something for my wife to call me when we were out in public to keep people from recognizing me,” he said. “But you’re going to ruin that for me.”
Bumgarner told the website he has been competing in rodeo events for a while, including last March when he was at spring training camp with the San Francisco Giants. He said he’s been roping since he was a teenager and he’s been doing it for so long that “it’s just part of who you are.”
It’s unclear whether Bumgarner’s contract was written in a way to allow him to compete in rodeo competitions. Diamondbacks general manager Mike Hazen told The Athletic he was “not going to get into discussing specific contract language.”
In 2017, Bumgarner was injured in a dirt bike crash and missed three months of the Giants’ season. Riding the bike was likely a violation of his contract with San Francisco but the Giants were not believed to have pressed the 2014 World Series MVP on the matter.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.