Madison Bumgarner has had a secret rodeo identity for many years

soxhop411

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The picture is a bit blurry.

The photo is of two men standing in front of a backdrop featuring the logo of Rancho Rio Arena in Wickenburg, Ariz. They’ve just won $26,560 in a team-roping rodeo competition, although the shorter man looks without emotion at the camera even as he holds an envelope full of cash. But the taller man — his thumbs in his front jeans pockets and clad in a huge belt buckle, checkered button-down shirt and Rancho Rio cap — wears a satisfied smile.

The photo was one of several posted on Rancho Rio’s Facebook Page this past December, and the accompanying congratulatory caption identifies the pair as Jaxson Tucker and Mason Saunders. Tucker is a rodeo pro out of North Carolina. Saunders is also a North Carolinian, although you probably know him by a different name. The grinning man in that photo, despite the image’s fuzziness, is instantly recognizable to many who don’t know a thing about roping.

That’s because he’s Madison Bumgarner.
“Oh boy,” Bumgarner said Sunday when shown the photo. “This is ruining my alias.”

Yes, that was him in the photo and another one showing him competing on horseback, Bumgarner confirmed after throwing a live bullpen session Sunday at Salt River Fields. It was taken Dec. 3, a little less than two weeks before he signed his five-year, $85-million contract with the Diamondbacks. “They don’t always take pictures,” he added. “That was a bigger one.” A few days later, “Mason Saunders” earned a second-place finish in another eventalongside a different partner, Ranger Hill.

That competition wasn’t a one-off, either. One of the most famous pitchers in baseball has been competing in team-roping events under an alias for some time. Was he the Mason Saunders who competed alongside Colorado-based roper Tammy Ellerman in March of last year, two days before Bumgarner pitched for the Giants in a Cactus League game against the Athletics? “That was me, too,” Bumgarner said. Has “Saunders” won other events? “Yeah,” he said. “Maybe.”
Much more at the link.
I am surprised that Madison Bumgarner didn’t learn his lesson after the ATV accident.
 

Scott Cooper's Grand Slam

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This story is amazing. I’m not surprised that an elite athlete has other athletic pursuits that might provide some degree of anonymity. Assuming the Giants are okay with this, that’s one heck off a “just FYI, I have a side hustle” conversation to have with one’s employer.
 

nattysez

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The important part of this story is that tons of people had to have known about this. As MadBum himself said, everyone knew except the media. The number of "open secrets" there are like this in baseball is really crazy.
 

Ale Xander

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If I am fan of a team, I prefer that the players on the team choose to pursue as safer alternative sport, like bowling.
 

OCST

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I'd be somewhat surprised if MadBum's contract doesnt prohibit this side hustle.
I don't have any idea of how these don't-do-that-stupid-thing contract clauses are worded - could this give cause for voiding the contract?
 

OfTheCarmen

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I don't have any idea of how these don't-do-that-stupid-thing contract clauses are worded - could this give cause for voiding the contract?
The story mentions that the picture was from before he signed his newest contract. Whether he's still doing it or not, who knows.
 

VORP Speed

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It’s even more bad-ass if it’s specifically prohibited in his contract and he’s doing it anyways. He’s made enough money, you only get one rodeo and he’s just out there freakin’ crushing it at life.
 

nvalvo

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I have to say I'm a bit weirded out by the difference in the tone of coverage between this and Cespedes' misadventures.

Perhaps that's because Cespedes was already injured, but as people above suggest, it's entirely possible that Bumgarner's ATV accident wasn't actually an ATV accident.
 

shaggydog2000

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It's a good alias, but it's not Ron Mexico good. Or even Carlos Danger level good. If you're going to go for it, go all in.
 

Danny_Darwin

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This story is amazing. I’m not surprised that an elite athlete has other athletic pursuits that might provide some degree of anonymity. Assuming the Giants are okay with this, that’s one heck off a “just FYI, I have a side hustle” conversation to have with one’s employer.
The Giants don’t care because he signed with Arizona this offseason.
 

nattysez

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I have to say I'm a bit weirded out by the difference in the tone of coverage between this and Cespedes' misadventures.

Perhaps that's because Cespedes was already injured, but as people above suggest, it's entirely possible that Bumgarner's ATV accident wasn't actually an ATV accident.
The ATV accident would've voided his contract as well, so there was no reason to lie about that.

Also, the Bay Area has a long history of athletes failing to cover up contract-voiding accidents (Jeff Kent, Monte Ellis), so I doubt the Giants were going to take any story at face value.
 

YTF

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The ATV accident would've voided his contract as well, so there was no reason to lie about that.

Also, the Bay Area has a long history of athletes failing to cover up contract-voiding accidents (Jeff Kent, Monte Ellis), so I doubt the Giants were going to take any story at face value.
It seems like there would/should have been a contract clause stating so, but do we know this as fact? Just asking because I don't. I'm sure there are some activities that are pretty much standard as far as being on the prohibited list of activities, other activities are probably negotiated into or out of the contract. A lot of guys hunt, I'm guessing most teams might rather they didn't. Guy's who hunt or own ranches might also argue that they need the use of an ATV to pursue these activities. I seem to remember many years ago there was a baseball player who was passionate about basketball and if I remember the story correctly his contract prohibited him from playing in pick-up games.
 

Awesome Fossum

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Aaron Boone missed a season after a pickup injury. Wikipedia says that the standard player contract -- at least at the time -- prohibited basketball, skiing, and surfing.

In January 2004, Boone tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during a pick-up basketball game. The game violated the standard MLB player contract, which forbids taking part in off-season basketball, skiing and surfing. The Yankees immediately hinted that they would terminate his contract.[15][16][17]
 

HriniakPosterChild

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Aaron Boone missed a season after a pickup injury. Wikipedia says that the standard player contract -- at least at the time -- prohibited basketball, skiing, and surfing.
The list of prohibited activities was much longer and included racquetball. I know this because years ago, Mariners 3d baseman Jeff Cirillo played squash at the same health club where I was a member. He was in the clear if he got hurt because MLB had officially never heard of squash.

Mike Mussina’s NYY contract famously allowed him to play basketball, but only at his home gym.
 

YTF

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Aaron Boone missed a season after a pickup injury. Wikipedia says that the standard player contract -- at least at the time -- prohibited basketball, skiing, and surfing.



The list of prohibited activities was much longer and included racquetball. I know this because years ago, Mariners 3d baseman Jeff Cirillo played squash at the same health club where I was a member. He was in the clear if he got hurt because MLB had officially never heard of squash.

Mike Mussina’s NYY contract famously allowed him to play basketball, but only at his home gym.
Cal Ripken Jr. is the player I was thinking of a few posts up thread and i misremembered the story. He actually had a clause in his contract that allowed him to play pickup.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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An example of a standard player contract from 2011 can be found here: https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/files/mlb-contract.pdf. It says:

Other Sports
5.(b) The Player and the Club recognize and agree that the Player's participation in certain other sports may impair or destroy his ability and skill as a baseball player. Accordingly, the Player agrees that be will not engage in professional boxing or wrestling; and that, except with the written consent of the Club, he will not engage in skiing, auto racing, motorcycle racing, sky diving, or in any game or exhibition of football, soccer, professional league basketball, ice hockey or other sport involving a substantial risk of personal injury.

Interesting how basketball is modified by "professional league." I guess a lot of guys play basketball.

I would expect rodeo to fall into this list assuming this clause has not substantially changed since 2011.

edit: here's some more information: http://www.thebestbaseballblog.com/mlb-player-contracts-forbid-just-about-everything.html
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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The ATV accident would've voided his contract as well, so there was no reason to lie about that.

Also, the Bay Area has a long history of athletes failing to cover up contract-voiding accidents (Jeff Kent, Monte Ellis), so I doubt the Giants were going to take any story at face value.
Yeah this recalls the Kent injury from "washing his truck" from almost 20 years ago.

In any event, I think that the ATV story was mostly for the public and that the Giants knew the real story whatever it was. As was the case with Kent, given how important Bumgarner was to the Giants, they were never going to void the contract for an injury that wasn't career ending/altering.

I wonder how many players routinely engage in activities that are forbidden by the language that wbcd posted upthread. I suspect its a lot more than you might think.
 

nattysez

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An example of a standard player contract from 2011 can be found here: https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/files/mlb-contract.pdf. It says:

Other Sports
5.(b) The Player and the Club recognize and agree that the Player's participation in certain other sports may impair or destroy his ability and skill as a baseball player. Accordingly, the Player agrees that be will not engage in professional boxing or wrestling; and that, except with the written consent of the Club, he will not engage in skiing, auto racing, motorcycle racing, sky diving, or in any game or exhibition of football, soccer, professional league basketball, ice hockey or other sport involving a substantial risk of personal injury.

Interesting how basketball is modified by "professional league." I guess a lot of guys play basketball.

I would expect rodeo to fall into this list assuming this clause has not substantially changed since 2011.

edit: here's some more information: http://www.thebestbaseballblog.com/mlb-player-contracts-forbid-just-about-everything.html
Yeah -- that first sentence of 5(b) was what writers had in mind at the time of MadBum's injury.
 

Ford Frick's Asterisk

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Cal Ripken Jr. is the player I was thinking of a few posts up thread and i misremembered the story. He actually had a clause in his contract that allowed him to play pickup.
Yeah, Ripken even had a full size court at his house. Of course, by the late '80s anyone playing against him probably guarded him from five feet away, because who would want to become infamous for being *that* guy.
 

Marciano490

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An example of a standard player contract from 2011 can be found here: https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/files/mlb-contract.pdf. It says:

Other Sports
5.(b) The Player and the Club recognize and agree that the Player's participation in certain other sports may impair or destroy his ability and skill as a baseball player. Accordingly, the Player agrees that be will not engage in professional boxing or wrestling; and that, except with the written consent of the Club, he will not engage in skiing, auto racing, motorcycle racing, sky diving, or in any game or exhibition of football, soccer, professional league basketball, ice hockey or other sport involving a substantial risk of personal injury.

Interesting how basketball is modified by "professional league." I guess a lot of guys play basketball.

I would expect rodeo to fall into this list assuming this clause has not substantially changed since 2011.

edit: here's some more information: http://www.thebestbaseballblog.com/mlb-player-contracts-forbid-just-about-everything.html
Interesting they also put professional before boxing and wrestling. I suppose amateur fights would be covered by game or exhibition, but I bet you could be in a fight club
 

barbed wire Bob

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An example of a standard player contract from 2011 can be found here: https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/files/mlb-contract.pdf. It says:

Other Sports
5.(b) The Player and the Club recognize and agree that the Player's participation in certain other sports may impair or destroy his ability and skill as a baseball player. Accordingly, the Player agrees that be will not engage in professional boxing or wrestling; and that, except with the written consent of the Club, he will not engage in skiing, auto racing, motorcycle racing, sky diving, or in any game or exhibition of football, soccer, professional league basketball, ice hockey or other sport involving a substantial risk of personal injury.

Interesting how basketball is modified by "professional league." I guess a lot of guys play basketball.

I would expect rodeo to fall into this list assuming this clause has not substantially changed since 2011.

edit: here's some more information: http://www.thebestbaseballblog.com/mlb-player-contracts-forbid-just-about-everything.html
Certain events like bull riding probably would but I don’t think team roping would qualify since its more of a skill sport and there is little chance of injury. For those not familiar with the sport, this video might help.
View: https://youtu.be/0pY-D9BlJ5I
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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At least one of Bumgarner's former teams is having some fun with this..."San Jose Giants to Host Mason Saunders Night"

 

joe dokes

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Anyone recall if Lonborg suffered any contractual consequences when he broke his leg skiing?

One of my earliest basebal memories was hearing about NYY 3Bman Charley Smith (who they got from StL for Roger Maris) wrecking his leg (and likely shortening his unspectacular career) at his off-season warehouse job. I know minor leaguers still work offseason jobs, but its hard to fathom a headline like, "Benintendi doubtful for opening day after off-season construction accident."