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Baseball Star Madison Bumgarner Moonlights In The Rodeo

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Pitcher Madison Bumgarner was a World Series hero for the San Francisco Giants in 2014, and he just signed an $85 million contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Meanwhile, Mason Saunders is an up-and-coming cattle roper who won more than $26,000 in a rodeo event last year. Now, these are two people who don't seem to have much in common, except for the fact that they are the same person.

KELLY: Yes. As we found out this week, Madison Bumgarner has been moonlighting as a rodeo rider.

CHANG: Zach Buchanan is a Diamondbacks beat writer who helped break the story for The Athletic. He says a fan tipped him off about Bumgarner with a couple Facebook photos from a recent rodeo.

ZACH BUCHANAN: Two pictures that seemed to include what is pretty obviously Madison Bumgarner. And there he was, winning $26,000 in what's called team roping. And they identified him as Mason Saunders, and that was clearly not Mason Saunders.

KELLY: Buchanan and Andrew Baggarly, a Giants beat writer for The Athletic, showed Bumgarners (ph) the pics of the so-called Mason Saunders this week.

BUCHANAN: Which is when he said, oh, boy; this is ruining my alias.

KELLY: Bumgarner knew he was caught. He confessed to his secret identity.

CHANG: Now, most teams would probably be freaking out if one of their star players did something that dangerous in their spare time. But Zach Buchanan says the Diamondbacks are OK with Bumgarner's little side hustle, at least publicly.

BUCHANAN: But I am sure that there are conversations going on behind closed doors, saying, maybe ease off of this if you can.

KELLY: And if Bumgarner can't ease off, let's hope he at least just stays in the saddle. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.