On Sunday night, we learned — thanks to The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly and Zach Buchanan — some amusing albeit unsurprising news that Diamondbacks starter and former San Francisco Giant Madison Bumgarner has been competing in rodeos under a pseudonym. That pseudonym? Mason Saunders.
According to Bumgarner, “Mason” is simply a shortening of “Madison,” and “Saunders” is his wife’s maiden name. The lefty won $26,560 in a team-roping rodeo competition back in December, so it’s a hobby that Bumgarner both takes seriously and is good at, though he insists he ropes with his non-pitching hand.
Baseball Reference responded to the news by creating a “Team-Roping Rodeo Competition Winnings” section on Bumgarner’s player page, and adding his pseudonym as an “Alter Ego” in his biographical info.
The San Jose Giants, the club’s Single-A affiliate, also joined in on the fun, announcing on Tuesday that Excite Ballpark will host Mason Saunders Night on Friday, June 5. The club boasts a San Jose Giants/Rodeo shirsey giveaway, themed promotions, special items on the Turkey Mike’s BBQ menu, and prizes for some who dress up as their alias or alter ego. All fans who wear a Bumgarner jersey or a rodeo outfit to the ballpark will get two game tickets to a future San Jose Giants game as well.
Matt Alongi, the San Jose Giants vice president of marketing said, “This ain’t our first rodeo. The San Jose Giants are proud to celebrate one of their all-time greats with a fun-filled entertaining night at the ballpark. We want to make sure that Madison is not only remembered for what he did on the baseball field, but also celebrate his unique accomplishments in the rodeo arena. We hope that Mason will be able to join us but understand he may have other commitments at this time of the year.”
As far as minor league promotions go, this one is a home run. I just wonder if we’ll find the whole Mason Saunders saga as amusing in four months as we do right now. Internet memes move quickly.