The greatest revenge in the world is to man (or woman)-up, rise to the challenge, and prevail. For Oakland A's left-handed starting pitcher, Dallas Braden, that's exactly what he did.
Let's flip the calendar back to April 22nd. Dallas Braden and the Oakland Athletics were playing ball with the Yankees of 'ol New York. The A's beat the Yanks 4-2. Alex Rodriguez, noticeably shaken from the teams lacking performance, decided he'd take out his frustrations on pitcher, Dallas Braden. Alex Rodriguez ran across the pitcher's mound on his way to first base after a foul ball. Doesn't seem like a big deal? In baseball, these actions indicate a massive lack of respect for the opposing team, and the opposing player. A-Rod has since offered no apology for his actions, mocking Braden by saying, "He told me to get off his mound. That was a little surprising. I've never quite heard that -- especially from a guy who has a handful of wins in his career." When asked to further comment on the incident, Alex Rodriguez declined, quoting "I don't want to add to his fifteen minutes of fame."
Last Friday, Braden went on record, saying he felt like fighting Rodriguez for his harsh words. However, rather then fighting the Yankee 3rd Baseman, he fought back in the best way he knew how, on the mound.
Dallas Braden lost his mother to skin cancer during his senior year of high school. His grandmother, since, stepped-up-to-the-plate, raising her grandson, and quickly became his "rock."
Braden credits his grandmother for keeping him on a clear path and out of jail. He was academically ineligible for two of his high school seasons, his grandmother kept him on the baseball field, and out of less desirable places.
When asked about the Rodriguez mishap in late April, she had her choice of words for the baseball star, "Stick it."
Her grandson was obviously listening, and stuck it to Rodriguez in the most fitting way possible. Sunday night, he became only the nineteenth pitcher of all time to pitch a perfect game.
A perfect game in baseball, defined by MLB Miscellany: Rules, Regulations and Statistics is "a game in which a pitcher (or combination of pitchers) pitches a victory that lasts a minimum of nine innings, and in which no opposing player reaches a base." Other baseball greats to achieve this include David Wells and Randy Johnson.
Alex Rodriguez ate his words, and definitely took a sweet taste of humble pie. When asked about Braden's perfect game, Rodriguez told reporters "Good for him. He threw a perfect game, and even better, he beat the Rays."
What did A-Rod have to say about Braden's grandmother's words for him? He threw his arms in the air and proclaimed "Uncle!"
Perhaps, Dallas wasn't thinking about Rodriguez when he was pitching his perfect game? Sunday, Mothers Day, he pitched the perfect game, not for A-Rod, but for his mother, who he lost just eight years ago.
A little about Dallas Braden:
Bats: Left Throws: Left
Team: Oakland Athletics
Birth date: August 13, 1983 (26 years old)
Birthplace: Phoenix, AZ
Grew-up: Stockton, CA
College: Texas Tech
Team: Oakland Athletics
Career Highlights: Strikeouts: 205 Earned Run Average (ERA) 4.50 Win-Loss: 18-23