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Dispatches Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Bumgarner delivers a pitch as he prepares for his spring training debut for the Arizona Diamondbacks. (Daniel Gluskoter/Icon Sportswire/AP)

Horsing around

Arizona Diamondbacks star pitcher Madison Bumgarner has a secret life that now stands exposed. In a Feb. 23 story, The Athletic revealed that the former San Francisco Giants ace has been competing on the professional rodeo circuit for years using a pseudonym. The story broke when Rancho Rio, an Arizona rodeo venue, posted a picture of Mason Saunders to its Facebook page after he won a roping competition on Dec. 3. Reporters recognized the man billed as Saunders as the former World Series MVP. The victory in Arizona netted the pitcher and his roping partner $26,550 in prize money. Two weeks later, Bumgarner, who has been roping since he was in high school, signed a five-year, $85-million contract with the Diamondbacks.


 

Handout

Handout

A bar behind bars

An emergency at an Irish prison was quietly resolved after prison officials discovered the hostage taker had a sweet tooth. Two inmates took another inmate hostage on Feb. 23 at a prison in Portlaoise, Ireland. The prisoners barricaded themselves in a cell and engaged in a five-hour standoff with officials. During negotiations, prison authorities said one of the hostage takers agreed to open the cell door if guards would bring him a Mars bar. Guards delivered the candy bar, subdued the inmates, and freed the hostage.


 

Kevin Sousa/NHLI via Getty Images

Kevin Sousa/NHLI via Getty Images

A big shot

Up 3-1 with 8:41 left in the second period, the Carolina Hurricanes turned to a seldom-used NHL rule to win a road game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. After both goalies for the Hurricanes were injured, Carolina looked to the arena’s official emergency goalie. NHL rules state that home teams must provide an emergency backup in case of injury. That’s how David Ayres, a local Zamboni driver with no professional or college experience, made his NHL debut at age 42. Once in the game, Ayres quickly allowed two goals. But the Hurricanes answered, and the former junior league player settled in, blocking the next eight shots on goal en route to sealing a 6-3 win for Carolina.


 

Yasin Parlak/EyeEm/Getty Images

Yasin Parlak/EyeEm/Getty Images

A fine idea

Turkmenistan is a desert nation, and it announced in February a deal with a British company to import 10,000 tons of a needed resource: sand. The sand will come from the shores of the United Kingdom for the building of a horse-racing track. Sandy deserts account for 80 percent of Turkmenistan’s land, but officials say the Turkmeni sand is too rough for horse tracks. The sand will cost the builder nearly $1.3 million.

 


 

iStock

iStock

Paris nightlife

Bedbugs are back. They had been dormant for decades in France, but on Feb. 20 the French government opened an information hotline and a website dedicated to dealing with a growing bedbug problem in Paris and other French cities. According to the government’s bedbug website, increased international travel and the bedbugs’ new resistance to insecticides have caused the resurgence.

 

 


 

iStock

iStock

Photographic evidence

A California man’s brilliant photograph of the blood moon over the Golden Gate Bridge may wind up being evidence of his guilt in court. According to officials with the Golden Gate Bridge District, the angle of Bruce Getty’s 2014 photograph demonstrates he took the picture while trespassing in a restricted area. Getty put the picture on his website in 2018 and this February received a cease-and-desist letter from Bridge District lawyers directing him to take the photo down. The Bridge District also asked for any profits Getty has made from sale of the photo. Claiming not even one sale of the snapshot, Getty told KGO-TV, “I’m just a nobody taking pictures.”


 

Krieg Barrie

Krieg Barrie

Word games

Chalk one up for politically correct language enthusiasts. Worried that the term “at-risk youth” had developed a negative connotation, lawmakers in California have scrubbed the term from the state’s books. From now on, what California had termed “at-risk” will now be called “at-promise youth.” Assemblyman Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer, who represents part of Los Angeles, proposed the law: “I learned that words matter—and once they were called ‘at-risk,’ they almost were in the school-to-prison pipeline automatically.”


 

Science Photo Library/Getty Images

Science Photo Library/Getty Images

Missing millions

More than $53 million worth of bitcoins seized by police in Ireland has been lost due to a missing fishing tackle box. Authorities in Ireland sentenced Clifton Collins in 2017 to five years in jail after he was arrested for distributing marijuana. It turns out Collins had invested some of his drug money in bitcoins in late 2011 and early 2012 when prices were less than $5 per bitcoin. In February, when the officials revealed to The Irish Times that it had confiscated Collins’ 6,000 bitcoins, a single bitcoin was worth nearly $8,900. But though the police have confiscated the accounts, officials are unable to access them: Collins’ account keys were hidden in a fishing tackle box that his landlord threw out after Collins landed in jail.