Someone who knows baseball happened to be browsing the Facebook page of Rancho Rio Arena in Wickenburg, Ariz., one day and spotted a familiar face in a photo from a recent rodeo event. The only thing was, the name in the photo caption wasn't familiar.
In an interview with The Athletic (subscription required), the man in the photo confirmed what had been suspected -- that wasn't his real name.
"Oh, boy. This is ruining my alias," said Madison Bumgarner, also known in rodeo circles as "Mason Saunders."
That's right. The star left-hander, who signed a five-year, $85 million contract with the D-backs this offseason, was roping steer at Rancho Rio, and has been doing so for years. The same pitcher with "Bumgarner" stitched on the back of his jersey while being named MVP of the 2014 National League Championship Series and World Series to cap the greatest individual pitching performance in postseason history, has also been on the local rodeo circuit in Arizona, registered as "Saunders."
So where did the alias come from?
According to The Athletic, "Saunders" is the maiden name of Bumgarner's wife, Ali. And "Mason" is a short nickname she has for Madison, one she uses when they're out in public.
Bumgarner has been known to rope steer, having done so since the age of 15 or 16. But until now, it wasn't known that he did so in events with professionals on the side. And he's not bad, either -- he's won multiple events.
So there you have it -- another great Madison Bumgarner story. Add it to the collection, and don't worry, there will probably be more where that came from.