Mount Davis –– Dallas Braden became the latest in a long line of guys-you-wouldnâ€™t-figure to throw a perfect game, and did. Itâ€™s a list with names like Don Larson, Len Barker, Tom Browning, and oh baby Kenny Rogers (though the list of guys you would figure to, and did, is well represented with Cy Young, Sandy Koufax, Catfish Hunter, and Randy Johnson. Notice both lists are missing Nolan Ryan? Seven no-noâ€™s are good, Nolan, but not perfect). Braden is still fairly fresh in baseball fansâ€™ minds as a bulldog who barked at Alex Rodriguez for breaking unwritten (and never heard of) rule of crossing over the pitcherâ€™s mound a few weeks backâ€¦but that toughness, and the rather shoddy Aâ€™s defense, hadnâ€™t helped him much otherwise, and nobody could legitimately say they saw this coming (hence why he was grabbing fantasy pine on my fantasy bench yesterday, grrrrr).
These things always get the headlines, but Bradenâ€™s was perfectly placed on motherâ€™s dayâ€¦the single mom who raised him passed away when he was a high school senior, the grandma who too over had driven the hour from hometown Stockton, as she always does for his games, and was in attendance. Tampa Bay, with their best record in baseball, invested in some of those pink bats but then went out of their way to keep them clean for later silent auctions at their stadium. Speaking of silence and stadiums, only a handful over twelve thousand were in attendance on a beautiful Sunday with two contending teamsâ€¦if there was ever a team that needed new digs, itâ€™s the Aâ€™s. Round, multi-purpose, 1968â€¦all words you donâ€™t want anywhere near your hometown ballpark, and thatâ€™s before taking into account that monstrosity that looms over center field. This is a team with great history in both championships and facial hair; theyâ€™ve got great uniforms, the only ones with the guts to rock the green; the AL West is terrible this year and thereâ€™s no reason to bail on the season yetâ€¦the Aâ€™s could use some love.
Would you want to see a game here?
With all the hubbub every time somebody backs into a no-hitterâ€”Ubaldo Jimenez, Iâ€™m looking at you and your six walksâ€”itâ€™s always nice to see 27 up and 27 downâ€¦though a true perfectionist would ask, couldnâ€™t you have done it with only 27 pitches? 27 isnâ€™t even a perfect number, mathematically speaking. Now 28, thatâ€™s perfectâ€¦in that it is the sum of each of its proper dividers. A perfect game in bowling is the definition of the word, the minimum twelve rolls are all you get. With the right product, you can do the perfect pushup. Or the perfect pull up. Perfect isâ€¦a regrettable 1985 movie that tried to cash in on the nationâ€™s craze overâ€¦aerobics? Curt Hennig was Mr. Perfect.
Of course, any no-hitters these days just serve to remind Mets fans that theyâ€™ve never experienced the positive side of one (the Devil Rays, on the other hand, have now been on the losing side of two perfect games in less than a year)â€¦but if Dallas Braden is throwing them, in a big ballpark with a wide fairway for foul territory, there may be hope for the Ollie Perezâ€™s in the world too.
Grote’s Gripes, tomorrow.