Friday, April 23, 2010

Everyone Has An Opinion About A-Rod & Dallas Braden

Good morning, Fackers. You'd think that a game with a triple play would be the enduring topic of conversation stemming from the game yesterday afternoon, but alas it is not.

By now you've probably seen or read about what happened between Alex Rodriguez and Dallas Braden just before Robinson Cano grounded into an inning ending double play in the top of the 6th inning yesterday, but if not, here is Chad Jennings' breakdown (with audio) and the most complete video explanation I could find:

Let's see what people are saying about it:

I thought it was pretty funny, actually.
The guy was tasting himself too long to apologize.
It was very common (to observe the rule) in the '40s, '50s and '60s. Bob Gibson was very well versed in protecting what he called his office. He told people to say the ... out of my office. Had that been Gibson on the mound, A-Rod would have picked himself off the grass to get back to first. He would have decked him. No question about it.

#2: Alex Rodriguez is one of two types of player: A guy who’s profoundly ignorant of much of the Code, or a guy who actively disdains it.
I've never heard of such a rule. To be honest, people are always coming up with unwritten rules that you're not supposed to do something that they don't happen to like, but usually, it's some old manager who is upset about a kid bunting to break up a no-hitter or something. THAT'S annoying, but when it's a fairly anonymous player springing an unwritten rule on a 34-year-old Hall of Famer who has been on the All-Star team since Dallas Braden was in the 6th grade. . .well, what can you say?
I've never heard of the unwritten rule about not walking on the mound, but I want to think less of A-Rod for it all the same if that makes any sense. Mostly I just want someone to recut the video of Braden jawing at Rodriguez with the audio from the "get off my f------ obstacle" scene from "Full Metal Jacket" because that would be cool.
No, the Yankees won't be intimidated by Dallas Braden or anyone else. They're too good, too experienced, too confident. But Braden wasn't yelling at the Yankees. Not really. He was yelling at himself, and at his teammates. Players have won MVP Awards for such things.
Kevin Kaduk:
On one hand, it's nice for A's fans to see that one of their young guns won't cede any ground or be intimidated by one of the best players on the defending world champs. I'm also always up for any time a baseball player breaks cliche-mode and goes off the script.

But on the other, there's something to be said for knowing your spot in the game and earning enough capital to call out a perennial All-Star over something so petty.
Keith Hernandez:
“I don’t know if there is an unwritten rule, but I would never do that.”
SoSHially Unacceptable (commenter at BBTF):
Not having heard of this rule either, I called my buddy who pitched a couple years in the minors. I asked him what he would have done in this situation, and he basically said he would have reacted the same way as Braden. And, he added, he wouldn't have thought any player in the majors would even consider running across the mound, knowing how pitchers would react.

And for what it's worth, he's a big Yankee fan.
Dan Reiner from Bronx Baseball Daily:
Now, being a pitcher myself, I’d understand if Braden got slightly upset. But for him to scream at Alex and proceed to throw a Carlos Zambrano-like tantrum in the dugout is a little much in my opinion.
Dude's played in a grand total of 65 MLB games, and all of a sudden, he's the enforcer of all the unwritten rules of baseball? Please.
Add it to the list of lowlights for A-Rod. He will never get it. The two teams don't face each other again until July, but pitchers seem to remember these things.
In regards to the last one, Braden is 6' 1", 190 and throws 85 MPH. It would likely not be in his best interest to retaliate.

I think this boils down to two points. A-Rod probably shouldn't have run over the mound. It probably takes less effort just to jog around it. There is a disembodied voice in the clip above (Barry Larkin?) that suggests there's some sort of gamesmanship involved on A-Rod's behalf, but I tend to doubt that. I think it was just a thoughtless mistake. If he was trying to intimidate him, I doubt he would have just played dumb afterwards. The dismissive hand waive in the clip above says it all.

The other half is that Braden threw a complete temper tantrum over this, kicking stuff on the way back to the dugout after already having said his piece at A-Rod. We get it buddy, you feel disrespected. But it was CC Sabathia's mound for the other halves of the innings too. It's a purely symbolic thing and it's your problem if you let yourself get all worked up about it.

If that was A-Rod's goal, he certainly succeeded, but the end result was Cano's double play ball, so it backfired in the grand scheme of things. Let's just hope this is a dead issue. I don't want there to be an injuries or suspensions that result from this the next time the teams meet in July.


  1. Well, I don't know if it backfired against the Yankees. A-Rod did start a triple play at the bottom of the inning, after all.

    Thanks for the linkage!

  2. Let's see, a 17-22 lifetime record, no postseason appearances; vs. 585 homers and a defending World Champion. Braden's lucky he plays for the A's, not a team that the Yankees really don't like, or else he would really hear it when they come to New York. As it is, Yankee Fans may give him an even bigger insult: Forgetting about him.

    Besides, does Michael Duca (whoever he is) really think A-Rod would have tested Bob Gibson like that? Do what Gibson did in his career, and you don't test him; do what A-Rod has done, and Gibson wouldn't fool around with threats, he'd just try to get him out -- as he explained, himself, in his approach to baseball's all-time home run leader, Hank Aaron, in the recent book he co-wrote with Reggie, "Sixty Feet Six Inches." So when Braden has accomplishments that can stand alongside those of Gibson, then he can talk. Until then, he is a nonentity and he needs to put a sock AND a stirrup in it.

  3. These unwritten rule arguments never go anywhere good, but I'll throw my two cents in anyway.

    Both guys were out of line. I've never heard of this particular unwritten rule, but as Mark Feinsand said, I've never seen a batter run over the mound either. And judging by A-Rod's reaction on the field, and particularly in his comments after the game, my opinion is he knew exactly what he was doing.

    I think Dallas Braden has every right to be upset about it. It doesn't matter what his status is in the pecking order of the game. He's the pitcher, that's his mound, and opposing baserunners shouldn't be using it as a short cut. Again, judging my A-Rod's condescending post-game comments, I think he felt he could get away with it since it wasn't a name-brand pitcher.

    I don't think that gives Braden the excuse to carry on the way did, both as he left the field and in his comments after the game. He said his piece to A-Rod and that should have been it. But if I'm his teammate, or an A's fan, I'm happy that the guy took a stand.

  4. This reminds me of the "Ha!" incident with the pop-up a couple years ago. I actually like this stuff. You'd do this when playing a sport with friends to mess with them. Kinda like, once in a while you drive over a friends golf ball with your cart for a chuckle.

    Maybe it doesn't belong in pro baseball, but I can't help but smile when it happens. You know in the clubhouse they were laughing about it.

  5. So does Braden get equally upset when the entire infield & pitching coach have a conference on the pitching mound, and then the umpire breaks it up?

  6. Why does the mound rate a "Keep Out" sign? If A-Rod has instead jogged back via 2nd base, should we have expected Rosales to throw a hissy fit?

    Prima Donna athletes piss me off, and I don't care what uniform they're wearing.

  7. Yes, Braden over-reacted and has only played 65 MLB games. A-Rod has played a lot more but still doesn't know how to play the game right. Even if you don't know the rule, it's an instinctive thing. A little respect goes a long way. Keith Hernandez says it best.