Funniest story of Spring Training so far

Diamondbacks starter Madison Bumgarner has been competing in rodeos under a fake name as recently as December.

From The Athletic:

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.”


Bumgarner has been roping so long that “it’s just part of who you are,” he said Sunday. He learned the sport at 15 or 16 under the instruction of the man who became his father-in-law. (His brother-in-law also “rodeos full time during the summer,” the pitcher said.) He’s practiced roping on everything from a statue of a bull at Scottsdale’s Fashion Square Mall to Jeremy Affeldt’s patio furniture.

In other news, the Dodgers are atop the Cactus League with a 2 – 0 record.

49 thoughts on “Funniest story of Spring Training so far

  1. I’m on a dog farm outside Villarrica, Chile, where a German friend has 55 huskies that he uses for sledding tours in winter. The sounds at feeding time are astounding.

    Game time’s about an hour away, but I don’t think I’ll be able to stay awake. Long tiring day.

  2. The only other time the Dodgers traded for a former MVP in the American League, that I can remember, is when they acquired Zolio Versalles from the Twins. Were there others?

    • In 1971 they acquired Frank Robinson from the Orioles 5 years after he won the AL MVP. On the reverse side, they trade Dick Allen to the White Sox where he then won the AL MVP.

    • Zolio winning the MVP was criticized for years, given BA, which was 50 points lower than teammate Tony Oliva, who placed second in voting (he got one first place votes, Zolio got the other 19). But modern analytics bears this out as he led the AL in both oWAR and dWAR (Sudden Sam McDowell lead in overall WAR).

      While meandering through 1965, discovered that Pete Richert had a better year than Claude Osteen.

      • Such a weird trade. I remember hating it when it happened. Looking at the ’64 stats, I sorta get why they did it. The “64 starters were Drysdale, Koufax, and pray for rain, which is kind of a vain hope in LA. Podres was injured, and the youngsters (RIchert, Ortega, Wilhite, and Moeller) weren’t very good. so I can see why they’d want a young promising pitcher like Osteen. But it was a massive overpay, They sent not only Richert, but also Frank Howard, along with Phil Ortega and Dick Nen for Osteen and John Kennedy. Howard (naturally) and Nen both went into the starting lineup, while Richert and Ortega immediately became the #1 and #2 starters for the Senators.

        I’m not sure what other options the Dodgers had for pitching help in ’64, and they did win the World Series in ’65 thanks in part to Osteen (who was a good pitcher for them for a long time), but I also wornder what would’ve happened had they kept Big Frank.

        • Hated it myself at the time. McMullen also started and had a good 1965. Surprisingly, both he had Hondo had 16 year careers and ended up with similar WAR. dWAR not very kind to Frank, -24 over his career. Still, very surprised that he only received 6 votes for HoF.

          • It was a different time. He didn’t have a lot of RBIs (no surprise when nobody else on the Senators could get on base), and his OBP wasn’t appreciated the way it would be today.

          • Another one-and-done in the 1979 HoF voting was Ron Perranoski, who also got 6 votes. Only fellow elected that year was the Say Hey Kid.

  3. I haven’t been around much this winter, but now that it is spring I thought I would dive back in. (Looks out window – sees major amount of snow falling – maybe not spring everywhere yet!)

    Anyway – not that I would have any clue as to how I would fill out the bracket – but I was wondering Link if you are doing the March Madness tourny here this year?

  4. Prospect Zach Reks has quite a background.

    Reks is an engineer. In 2017, he graduated from the University of Kentucky with a mechanical engineering degree. A month later, the Dodgers gave him $5,000 to sign as a 10th-round draft choice. He has quickly risen through their system and now stands one step below the big leagues. He has hit .300 in the minor leagues. He smashed 28 homers across two levels last season.

    The problem is that he is 26, an age at which most everyone ceases to be a prospect. He’s 26 because he did not play competitive baseball when he was 20 or 21. Out of high school, he headed for the Air Force Academy, studying medical physics and playing baseball. After a year, his grades were poor and he had hardly played, so he requested an honorable discharge and transferred to Kentucky.

    He knew no one, but he knew he needed to improve his grades and earn money to pay tuition. So he focused on those tasks. He took a job working in a Toyota aluminum casting plant. He made the honor roll.

    One day in a campus cafeteria, Reks saw a flyer for a club baseball team tryout. He joined without telling anyone his baseball past. While teammates pounded beers before games, he hit close to .700 and averaged a home run a game. Soon, he started living with his teammates. One summer afternoon, he and a friend climbed onto a moped and headed to the field to play catch.

    Kentucky hitting coach Rick Eckstein happened to see Reks dismount.

    “The way he jumped off the scooter, it was one of the most athletic things I’ve ever seen,” Eckstein said. “It was like watching Jordan dunk.”


    Come spring, Reks forced his way into Kentucky’s lineup. He hit .331 his first season and .352 his second. He caught the eye of a trusted Dodgers scout named Marty Lamb, and 11 days after the 2017 draft, he made his professional debut. Five days later, the Dodgers promoted him. A month later, they did so again. In all, he hit .317 that year and .303 the next, but he managed only seven home runs between those campaigns.

  5. Looking like the only position player competition this spring will be for the 26th slot: Beaty versus Ruiz. Both hit from the left side and provide flexibility, though one is at least average defensively and the other not so good. Ruiz’ bat has shone, but his hands have DH written all over them.

    • I think you mean Edwin Rios, not Keibert Ruiz. Beatty and Rios are not equivalent hitters Beatty is an average hitter who makes contact and doesn’t strike out much (.265/.317/.458). His OBP really needs to improve, Rios was awesome in the little time he had (.277/.393/.617!) and appears to have a better approach, but he strikes out a lot. Beatty is basically an average ball player, both as a hitter and a fielder. Rios is a big hitter and a lousy fielder. Pick your poison. Of course whoever doesn’t make the team will likely be the first callup when the inevitable injury occurs (looks side-eyed at Pollock),