Well the huge news coming out of the weekend is Dallas Braden becoming only the 19th pitcher in Major League Baseball history to throw a perfect game. He did it with his grandmother in the stands and with her telling Alex Rodriguez to stick it after the ballgame (A-Rod had just weeks ago dismissed Braden as a player whose 15 minutes of fame were about up).
One thing that makes it more special then it already was, Braden did it against a team in the Tampa Bay Rays that have a potent lineup, and it’s a team whom I think will win it all this year. A lot of people this morning are questioning Evan Longoria’s baseball etiquette for trying to bunt his way on to start out the 5th inning. While I didn’t see the play, this is absolutely fair game.
What are you going to do in a perfect game? Because you didn’t have any hits the first nine through the lineup and there’s been 9 up, 9 down, you can’t play the game the way you want? No way. You start honoring the fact of what is going on in the 7th inning, if at all. What Longoria did is good baseball. And I like it.
And every few years somehow, the Oakland A’s find a guy who emerges as a gem in the rough. It’s appearing that Dallas Braden is going to be the next in a long line of guys who either has a stellar or solid career in this league from basically emerging out of nowhere (see the Neyer post I linked above).
The A’s seem to do this as much as any small-market team in baseball. They find guys who the stock doesn’t look particularly high on, and somehow through performance on the field and literally zero hype; the guys carve themselves into really nice big league players, make Oakland scrappy for a few seasons, and then go to a bigger market team where they play a role during a pennant race but aren’t the same team ‘stars’ they were in Oakland.