Written by Max Lush and Hunter McDowell
Give us credit. If you followed Man Cave Sports on Facebook or Twitter, you would have already known about Dallas Braden.
We wrote a feature article this week on Braden and how he could break out at any moment. I suggest you get on the ball if you haven't heard about Man Cave Sports yet.
For just the nineteenth time in MLB history, a perfect game was thrown Sunday, or better known as Mother’s Day.
Dallas Braden , you know that pitcher on the A’s with a handful of wins ? Well, he just threw a perfect game against the Tampa Bay Rays, the team with the best record, not bad for just his eighteenth win in the majors.
When A-Rod was notified about the feat he said, ”I’ve learned in my career, it is much better to be recognized for all the great things you do on the field,” Rodriguez said. “Good for him, he threw a perfect game. And better yet, he beat the Rays, but no more about him, please.”
No more about him, please? It sounds like Rodriguez may soon have nightmares about Braden.
It was impressive that a guy with just “a handful of wins” believes in himself, and the unwritten rules of baseball enough to exchange words with one of the game’s best.
Braden’s grandmother was quoted as saying “Stick it, A-Rod.” Happy Mother’s Day to her too!
If his continued rants about the issue have showed us anything, it is that Braden is an extremely confident pitcher, but he’s confident not the same way that A-rod is, where it comes off as smug. He believes in himself, and more than anything wants to see his team succeed before he does.
While some may find his confidence annoying, and ask why he continues to talk about the A-rod fiasco, maybe it will make more sense when you see that ESPN doesn’t mention his chance at a perfect game until the 8th inning had rolled around. If that was a pitcher on the Yankees or Red Sox, ESPN would have that as front page news after the 5th inning.
What’s more surprising is that Braden still hasn’t earned recognition amongst the media. Fox Sports’ website ran this headline “A-Rod’s nemesis has perfect game through seven-innings.” It just shows that a small-market team like the A’s doesn’t get as much respect as the Yankees or Sox do.
And the poor Rays, perfect gamed twice in less than a year’s time . They really do not like left-handed pitchers who work fast. What’s more surprising is that both Buehrle’s and Braden’s perfect games happened with back-up catchers, as Kurt Suzuki is on the DL for the A’s.
Although, Landon Powell and Braden have a strong history together. “We were drafted the same year, he was one of the first guys I caught in pro-ball,” Powell said after the game.
In order for a perfect game to be even remotely possible, the pitcher and catcher must be working in unison, and both players need to completely believe in each other. “He was putting the right fingers down every time, ” Braden said of Powell. “It’s not like we’re strangers.”
Still, what is so surprising is that this happened to the Rays, again. The Rays have scored 174 runs this season, the second-best mark in the majors. Their line-up comes at opposing pitchers with speed and power throughout, putting a lot of pressure on opposing defenses. “None of those guys over there are easy outs,” Braden said of the Rays.
After a long hug with his grandmother by the dug-out, Braden did an interview with the A’s television broadcasters saying, “You ain’t got nothing to say, it was perfect,” while smiling. Those that follow the A’s love Braden’s personality and the fire he brings to the clubhouse.
Most importantly, in a moment that is mostly about Braden, he put the spot light on those around him. “It feels pretty cool, this is without a doubt a team effort,” Braden said. “This is ours, not mine, this ours.”
This sums up everything there is to love about Braden. This is about you Braden, whether you know it or not. You are the 19th person in Major League history to accomplish what you just accomplished. Not even Nolan Ryan threw a perfect game. You’re the first A’s player since the great Catfish Hunter in 1968. These things do not happen often.
This was his first promotion of “209″ day for his hometown of Stockton, Calif., it was mother’s day, it was Braden’s day. He worked inside with his fastball, he worked outside with his change-up, and he never let a single Rays’ player get on base.
It’s weird how rare feats like this work out, where people often say that “the stars aligned,” because there is no feasible explanation as to why something so unfeasible could occur.
This is a moment that I will remember watching for the rest of my life. And I can imagine that it’s a moment A-Rod may wish never happened, because he will forever be linked to Dallas Braden. Maybe next time, A-Rod will think before stepping into Bradenia.
Braden may go on to have just an average season, maybe even a career, but the legend that is Dallas Braden will become a hero to many children in the Bay Area, and to the many “Davids” of the world who want to find the strength to slay Goliath.