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John Kruk to join the Phillies broadcast team

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John Kruk left ESPN at the end of the season when his contract was up. Matt Stairs left the CSNPhilly broadcast crew at the end of the season when he was hired to be the Phillies hitting coach. Ergo, CSN’s Jim Salisbury reports, Kruk will join the team’s television broadcast crew on CSNPhilly during the 2017 season.

Not a bad move, both for Kruk and for Phillies fans. Kruk wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea while he was with ESPN, but he was always affable and he was way, way better when he was not a merely joking around and reminiscing with Curt Schilling as opposed to talking about the game at hand. Doing a game night-in-night-out as opposed to weekly will will likely curtail his generalist tendencies and even if he does reminisce a bit more, it’s more appropriate for a local broadcast for the team for which he starred than it was for a national broadcast.

In other news, if this pattern holds up, Rico Brogna, Jim Thome and Ryan Howard are next in line to be Phillies commentators.

Madison Bumgarner has been competing in rodeos under a fake name

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The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly and Zach Buchanan report that Diamondbacks starter Madison Bumgarner has been competing in rodeos under a fake name as recently as December. The fake name is Mason Saunders. Bumgarner explains that “Mason” is shortened from “Madison,” while “Saunders” is his wife’s maiden name.

Bumgarner — err, Saunders — and one of his rodeo partners, Jaxson Tucker, won $26,560 in a team-roping rodeo competition in December. The Rancho Rio Arena posted a picture of the pair on Facebook, highlighting that they roped four steers in 31.36 seconds.

As Baggarly and Buchanan point out, Bumgarner also pointed out in a rodeo competition last March, just a couple days before pitching in a Cactus League game versus the Athletics, back when he was still with the Giants.

Bumgarner suffered bruised ribs and a left shoulder AC sprain in 2017 when he got into a dirt bike accident. Given that, Bumgarner’s latest extracurricular activity does raise a concern for the Diamondbacks, who inked him to a five-year, $85 million contract two months ago. Baggarly and Buchanan asked Bumgarner about such a concern. Bumgarner referred them to the club’s managing partner Ken Kendrick. Kendrick directed them to GM Mike Hazen. Hazen declined speaking about “specific contract language.” For what it’s worth, Bumgarner says he primarily uses his right hand to rope.

The jig is up on Bumgarner’s hobby. He jokingly said to The Athletic’s pair, “I’m nervous about this interview right now.” He added, “I’m upset with both you two.”