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Perfect game takes GM by surprise
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Beane, the A’s general manager, always works out at McAfee Coliseum during home games. He watches the game on the in-house television feed but does not listen to the announcers, distracting himself with soccer podcasts on his headphones instead.
“When I divert my attention, it takes the edge off me,” Beane says. “I do it to govern my emotions during games.”
Beane diverted himself but good on Sunday.
Until the ninth inning, he had no idea that left-hander Dallas Braden was pitching a perfect game.
The in-house feed does not display graphics with runs, hits and errors. In an age of information overload, the GM was somewhat in the dark.
“I kept thinking, ‘He didn’t walk a guy,’” Beane recalls. “I was trying to remember if they had gotten a hit.
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“In the eighth inning, I saw them show Catfish Hunter’s number (on the screen). I thought, ‘Wait a second, he might have a perfect game.’”
In the ninth, Beane says, he was doing some weight work. Farhan Zaidi, the team’s director of baseball operations, was on a treadmill.
With two outs, Beane popped the question to Zaidi. Yes, Zaidi replied. It was indeed a perfect game.
And then it was over.
A’s 4, Rays 0.
The first perfect game by the A’s since Catfish Hunter’s on May 8, 1968 against the Twins.
The first no-hitter of any kind in Beane’s 12-year tenure as G.M.
Circle the dates — July 5 to 7
A’s vs. Yankees at Yankee Stadium. With any luck, Braden will start one of the three games.
Braden, the pitcher who Alex Rodriguez dismissed after their initial confrontation as “a guy that has a handful of wins in his career.”
Braden, who baited A-Rod again last week, only to hear Lord Alex sniff, “I really don’t want to extend his extra 15 minutes of fame.”
Turns out Braden did not need A-Rod’s help.
He is part of baseball history now.
A-Rod, speaking to reporters in Boston, congratulated Braden, thanked him for beating the Rays and refrained — at last — from condescension.
Maybe next time Rodriguez will run around Braden’s mound rather than across it. Then again, Braden still has only a handful of wins — 18, to be exact.
True, Braden was so far out there with his criticisms, he deserved a bit of a veteran beatdown. But most of what he said about A-Rod, whom he called “an individualistic player,” was true.
Try to think of another athlete at A-Rod’s level — in any sport — who is held in such contempt by so many of his peers. Rodriguez is one of the top players in the history of the game. The disrespect shown toward him from other players is stunning.
OK, Braden should have known better than to reignite the controversy in an interview with CSN Bay Area. But his comments, at the very least, were entertaining. And Rodriguez, for once, should have stayed above the fray.
Circle the dates.
A’s-Yankees never was this much fun.
Don't count out the A's
Only 12,228 witnessed Braden’s perfect game, on a cool but sunny Sunday afternoon in Oakland, with the A’s hosting the hottest team in the sport.
Three sorry clubs — Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Houston – outdrew the A’s. So did every other team that was at home on Mother’s Day.
Clearly, Major League Baseball needs to get the A’s to San Jose, addressing the Giants’ claim of territorial rights by following, at least in part, the blueprint created in the Baltimore-Washington market for the Orioles and Nationals.
The Oakland franchise should not go to waste.
The A’s improved to 17-15 with Braden’s perfect game, staying one game behind the Rangers in the AL West.
Incredible, considering that the A’s have nine players on the disabled list, more than any other team.
Beane says that catcher Kurt Suzuki should return this week, adding that center fielder Coco Crisp, second baseman Mark Ellis and right-hander Justin Duchscherer should be back within two weeks, left-hander Brett Anderson possibly within three.
“It’s scary,” Beane jokes. “We might actually get some guys back. We might actually be good.”
The A’s also got an encouraging start Saturday from ace right-hander Ben Sheets, who threw 93 to 94 mph with an excellent breaking ball, looking very much like the pitcher he was with the Brewers.
Meanwhile, the rest of the West isn’t exactly imposing.
The Mariners can’t hit. The Angels look more vulnerable than in the past. The Rangers, winners of eight of their last 10, actually are in position to build a lead.
The A’s, though, cannot be dismissed.
Dallas Braden sent a little reminder on Sunday.
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