Perfect In Everyway


27 up and 27 down.  That is the definition of perfection in baseball.  You go through the entire game getting every batter out in their 3 at-bats.  It’s rare that you get someone who has a story that is perfect for this kind of achievement and was being chastised by everyone for his “unwritten rule” blast on one of the games best players.  Dallas Braden (pictured above) pitched a gem against the best team in baseball the Tampa Bay Rays on a day in which he doesn’t look forward too very much.

Just a junior at Amos Alonzo Stagg High School in Stockton, California, Dallas was sent to live with his grandmother Peggy Lindsey.  His mother Jodie Atwood was diagnosed with skin cancer at the time.  Just a year later, Jodi succumbed to the disease and Dallas has since been playing with a heavy heart.  His grandmother Peggy has been the motherly figure for him ever since and it showed in the aftermath of him pitching only the 19th perfect game in MLB history. 

What cinches this story for me is what lead up to May 9, 2010.  In a game played on April 22, Oakland was hosting the New York Yankees.  During the game on a foul ball hit by Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano, Alex Rodriguez was running on the pitch going for third base.  When it was ruled foul, A-Rod took the quickest route back to first by cutting across the infield.  What he didn’t know was that Dallas Braden doesn’t take too kindly to someone stepping on the mound.  Braden was adamant in letting A-Rod know how he felt when the inning was over, but A-Rod wanted none of it simply waving Braden off.

I love the fact that a pitcher won’t take anything from hitters nowadays.  That’s old school baseball.  The kind I wish were still around.  However, Braden’s claim that there is an “unwritten rule” about stepping on the mound is a stretch.  A-Rod has done some stupid things i.e; screaming “HA” while running to third base on a pop fly to get someone to drop the ball, slapping the ball out of then Red Sox pitcher Bronson Arroyo at Yankee Stadium, oh and testing positive for PEDs.  This isn’t even on the radar for me.  What I really loved was the back and forth between the two afterwards.

“He just told me to get off his mound. I was a little surprised. I’d never quite heard that. Especially from a guy that has a handful of wins in his career … I thought it was pretty funny actually.” – Alex Rodriguez

“He should probably take a note from his captain over there and realize you don’t cross the pitcher’s mound in between an inning or during the game. I was just dumbfounded that he would let that slip his mind — being someone of such status.  I don’t care if I’m Cy Young or the 25th man on the roster, if I’ve got the ball in my hand and I’m on that mound, that’s my mound … He ran across the pitcher’s mound foot on my rubber. No, not happening. We’re not the door mat anymore.” – Dallas Braden
I could understand if Braden was still on the mound when A-Rod stepped on the rubber, but in A-Rod’s defense (can’t believe I just said that) he didn’t do that.  Braden actually had people sympathizing with A-Rod for once.  Rightfully both sides cooled off and were willing to let this blow away.  That is until Mothers Day.  
Grandma Peggy Lindsey was quoted after the game saying “stick it A-Rod.”  Beautifully said.  Now it never erupted to what it was, but you gotta love that.  She’s sticking up for her grandson of course, but it just added another sub-plot to the whole saga.  
Regardless of what happened before or what is yet to come, you have to love a good story when you see it.  Dallas Braden pitched a perfect game near his hometown of Stockton, California.  He got to share the moment with his grandmother and in the process stuck his tongue out at A-Rod and said, “this is my mound punk.”  Not quoted of course, but you can bet that it did cross his mind.  Well done.

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