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Sports Then and Now




Dallas Braden Adds Perfect Game to His “Handfull of Wins”

Posted on May 09, 2010 by Don Spieles

On April 22nd, the lead story after Dallas Braden’s 4-2 win over the Yankees was not Braden’s then 3-0 record or his 2.77 ERA.  Instead, the most savory tidbit for post-game was the altercation between Braden and Alex Rodriguez after A-Rod’s disrespectful stroll over the mound.  Whether it was the fact that they were playing in Oakland or Braden’s reverence for the nuances of the game and disdain for high-paid prima donnas, he told Rodriguez, “Stay the [expletive] off my mound.  A-Rod’s response (aside from claimed ignorance of the significance of his trespass) was to break a second unwritten rule by impugning the skills of his opponent by saying, “ I’d never quite heard that, especially from a guy that has a handful of wins in his career.”  Later, when asked about further comments made by Braden, A-Rod said, “I really don’t want to extend the 15 minutes of fame he already has.”

Box score from Braden's perfect game.

Grammar aside, Rodriguez’s hopes that Braden was going to be out of the papers crashed and burned on Sunday. During the Oakland’s Mother’s Day game against Tampa Bay , Dallas Braden went a long way to showing just how talented he can be and exactly who the pitcher’s mound at the Oakland-Alameda Coliseum belongs to.  Braden became only the 19th pitcher in Major League Baseball history to throw a perfect game.

Oakland A's Dallas Braden throws against the New York Yankees in Oakland, California

In front of a sparse crowd of 12,228, Dallas Braden mowed down 27 straight Tampa Bay Rays for his moment in history.  Aside from being one of a very select club in baseball lore, the moment also marked the first time in MLB history that the same team was the victim of a perfect game in consecutive seasons.  More over, the Rays are now noted with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Minnesota Twins as the only franchise to play opposite perfection more than once.  The 2010 Rays also belong to the even smaller club of teams that fell to a perfect game while they were in first place in their league. (The ’56 Dodgers fell to Don Larson perfection in the World Series and the Dodgers were in first both times they had a perfect game thrown against them in ’88 and ’91.)

Perfect games in MLB history.

Braden’s piece of history was made on Mothers Day, so the players and umpires were wearing different manners of pink in support of breast cancer research.  The day was all the more significant for Braden because his Grandmother, Peggy Lindsay, who raised Braden after his mother died when Braden was in high school, was in attendance.  It was his Grandmother who he credits for his being the in big leagues and it was her that his eyes first sought out in the crowd – once his teammates were done mauling him between home plate and first.  Shortly after that, Ms. Lindsay was escorted down to the field where the magical afternoon was capped off with an emotional embrace between her and her grandson, tears of joy being shed in front of a roaring crowd and a compliment of media.

Later, Braden was quoted:  ”My grandmother and my mom were my saviors, my guiding lights, and baseball was my sanctuary. It was that or jail.”

Being that catchers a usually given some props when they call a perfect game, it is also noteworthy that  Braden was throwing to backup catcher Landon Powell, doing the catching because of an injured Kurt Suzuki. This is only the second season in the Majors for Powell.

As for Alex Rodriguez and his thoughts on Braden’s talent, Ms. Lindsay summed it up (shortly after the game ended) by saying : “Stick it, A-Rod!”

Don Spieles covers Major League Baseball for Sports Then and Now.


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