Maverick Carter, a face I'm starting to hate more and more...
CP3 made me, and the sports-world lose a little respect for him over the weekend after making some trade demands that he can’t really force. If you have a player that is close to or at the top of their position you just don’t trade that guy away when he’s still under contract. The only time you really do is at the trade deadline when you are obviously out of it for the season, and have zero chance to re-sign the guy. I’m sure there’s something about making $14M this year and $16M next year that makes me feel he should honor his contract/commitment to the Hornets. I think the thing that bugs me the most though is that this whole ill-conceived plan to demand a trade was most likely whispered into his ear by his new buddies/agents Worldwide Wes and Maverick Carter. I’ve always been a CP3 fan, and like By, I was really looking forward to his return to greatness in 2010-2011 season. Now that he has taken the Lebron-Maverick-Wes route I’m not sure I will ever view him in the same light anymore. He’s nearly as important to New Orleans as Drew Brees, and the fans there don’t deserve to be jerked around for the next two years by James’ crew and CP3. I prey they don’t contrive some ridiculous hour special for his decision 2012. He shouldn’t have demanded a trade, especially since it sounds like he hadn’t even meet with the new coach (Monty Williams) or new GM (Dell Demps) prior to telling the world he wanted out. Just another flawed power trip by James’ gang of half wits that think they are above everyone, and are the ones pulling the strings. If this isn’t a sign to stay away from Carter and Wes, I’m not sure what will show players that they are bad for the league and a players image. They’ve done well killing Cleveland’s fan base, are they going to kill New Orleans basketball too? Let’s hope not…
Speaking of guys I used to like, Dan Haren was traded to the Angels over the weekend and made his first start last night. I had to tune in to see exactly where my sports hate of him would stand, and just like Vlad and Torii before him, I now have to root against the guy. During his stint with the A’s I didn’t think I’d ever NOT like him. He’s easily the most successful player we’ve had over the last few years. Even the players we got for him ended up being great (Brett Anderson, Carlos Gonzalez, and hopefully Chris Carter pans out too), which made me like him all the more. I had mixed emotions watching him pitch last night, and after he threw a couple of innings I realized this was the end of our relationship for awhile. It’s amazing how quickly you can turn on a player, and I admittedly cracked a small smile when he was hit by a line drive, then immediately felt a little bad I was happy that he got hurt in his first start. I guess I’m just mad that the A’s will have to face him six times a year now… Oh well, if anyone has a complete scouting report on the guy, it’s the A’s!
I was eating dinner at a bar where one of my whiffle ball buddies bartends, and last night I found out he went to Fresno State, and played baseball with Matt Garza in college. It only came up because we were watching Garza pitch the last four innings of his no hitter yesterday. It was pretty impressive as he faced the minimum amount of hitters, and only walked one guy the whole night. It had to be relieving for the Rays, and their fans to be on the right side of a no-no/perfect game as they’ve seen three thrown against them in the last two years. Anyways, my buddy who went to college with him said he wasn’t even the top prospect on their team, which makes his story a little better. He also told me that the guy “acts like a little girl when he drinks” Another thing he mentioned was that he was a really weird guy that kept to himself a lot. Anyways, just thought those might be a couple of interesting tidbits of info on Garza that you probably haven’t heard….
Tough break for Armando Galarraga tonight. The Tigers pitcher had a Perfect Game through 8 2/3 innings, only to see it snatched right out from under him by a blown call at first. Who deserves the blame? The obvious culprit here is first base umpire, Jim Joyce, who will probably receive some much-deserved hate mail over the next week or two. But in reality, there are two other individuals who indirectly affected the outcome of this game. See, the Perfect Game is widely considered the rarest feat in sports. From 1880-2009, there were only 18 ever thrown. 1880 was also the only season in which two Perfect Games were thrown – until this year. First Dallas Braden threw the 19th in history, followed a couple weeks later by Roy Halladay. Suddenly, the Perfect Game was becoming more common. Enter Galarraga, who was putting in a solid bid to throw the 21st Perfect Game in 130 years, but also the 3rd in the last month. Somewhere the powers that be were cringing at the thought. I’m not crying foul here, but someone’s emotions got the best of them here. Usually you’ll see the umpire give a pitcher a little more leeway behind the plate down the stretch of a No Hit bid, but if not for Braden and Halladay already notching Perfect Games this year, that umpire calls it an out. You can’t argue that. I’m not sure why all of a sudden pitchers are throwing no hitters three times more often that Ian Kinsler and Grady Sizemore are homering, but maybe pitchers are just getting better. It’s like they say in basketball, great offense always beats great defense (who is that, Mark Jackson?). Perhaps in baseball, great pitching always beats great hitting. So, they may have stopped Armando Galarraga this time, but there’ll be another guy, and another guy after that, who can’t be stopped by a close call. The bottom line is it’s going to happen, and maybe lose its luster a bit, but the game hasn’t changed that much. Before you know it, there’ll be a five or six year span where no one does it. You can’t change history – it’ll all even out over time. So here’s a big BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO for Jim Joyce.
Normally I wouldn’t piggyback on Chappy’s post on the same subject, but today’s gem by Dallas Braden is just too significant on too many levels for me to pass up. The obvious part is that he dons the green and gold. I’ve been a lifelong A’s fan and this is the first perfect game by an Athletic in my lifetime. The only other one was Catfish Hunter’s in 1968. It also helps that Braden has been making a lot of noise in the media as a result of his encounter with Alex Rodriguez. While most baseball traditionalists agreed with Braden’s sentiments, many others were asking, “Who is Dallas Braden?” Even A-Rod dusted off Braden’s objections because he “only has a handful of wins.” I get that, but it doesn’t matter who you are at that point. I was hoping that Braden would have a good season to back up his comments a little bit, but I never could have begun to hope for this. I’m pretty sure everyone in baseball knows who he is now.
What many people don’t know – or at least didn’t before today – is Braden lost his mother to cancer in high school. So, to accomplish this feat on Mother’s Day is an amazing tribute. Though, while she wasn’t at the stadium to witness it today, his grandmother was, and he shared an emotional hug with her in front of the dugout after the game. He also had the support of his usual Stockton contingent, or section 209, which is also the area code of Stockton.
Dallas Braden was never supposed to be a factor in the big leagues. He was a 24th round draft pick of the A’s in 2004. I remember seeing his major league debut in 2007. I thought, who is this guy with the flat bill on his cap? He won his first decision, but finished the season with a 1-8 record. When I moved from the Bay Area to Sacramento in the middle of the season, Braden also was sent down to AAA-Sacramento. He wasn’t exactly dominant, but he did show signs of brilliance, in particular when he struck out 17 batters in a game late that season. Over the next season, he looked like he was going to be mired in the minor leagues for life, but he kept working, and there’s one thing you can say about Braden, he’s all business on the field. As a result, Braden has proved over the course of the last season and a half that he belongs. Today though, he proved more than that.