A's pitcher Dallas Braden owes his own team an apology

by Paul William Tenny

I will on occasion do a little bit of media criticism, given that this website is called The Media Pundit. The link between the media and my criticism is tenuous at best, but it's the best I can do.

If you don't like or care about baseball then you should probably read something else.

In the Yankees 4-2 loss to the Athletics yesterday afternoon, Alex Rodriguez jogged from third base across the pitcher's mound on his way back to third base. Why he did this is not clear, I've seen reports that A-Rod was returning to first base after a foul ball, but that doesn't explain why he was on third. I've also read that it was the end of the inning and A-Rod was jogging back to his dugout.

The important party is that Oakland pitcher Dallas Braden threw a hysterical temper tantrum after the inning ended, allegedly yelling to Rodriguez to stay off his "fucking mound", then heading into the A's dugout where he kicked a cooler and sent a lot of equipment flying before throwing his glove and whining some more to his teammates.

ESPN blogger Rob Neyer Tweeted about it, embarrassingly complementing Braden for having the "moxie" to yell at A-Rod while confessing that he had no idea why Braden was upset or what caused it.

Let's make one thing clear: nobody should be complemented for acting like a little child.

Dallas Braden may not be a superstar like A-Rod is, but he's starting games for a major league baseball team which makes him a star and a role model to the kids who are fans of that franchise, whether he likes it or not. And the lesson he just taught them is that it's acceptable to throw a temper tantrum in front of tens of thousands of people over the most insignificant of infractions.

Cheering on that kind of unprofessional behavior, like Neyer did, is bad enough. But to do it from total ignorance of the situation is highly unethical whether you're writing for newspaper, blogging, or Tweeting.

But what Braden did was quantifiably worse. He doesn't own that mound, and I'm sure it's been around (along with that stadium) for longer than Dallas Braden has been playing the game of baseball - at any level. When the Yankees were pitching, as Neyer rightly pointed out, it was his mound, not Braden's. The inning was over, Braden's job was finished, he should have kept his mouth shut and went back to the dugout.

I don't think it had anything to do with A-Rod crossing the mound, to be honest. Look and what Braden told the media later on:

I don't care if I'm Cy Young or the 25th man on the roster, if I've got the ball in my hand and I'm on that mound, that's my mound.


The problem is that the ball wasn't in Braden's hand, and he wasn't on the mound. The inning was over and everyone was heading off the field. Yet he decided to scream, kick things over, and throw his glove.

It wasn't the score either, because the Athletics led the entire game and went on to win.

Dallas Braden has a hell of a lot of growing up to do. He embarrassed himself, his teammates, and the entire Athletics organization yesterday. Even while complementing the New York Yankees as an "extremely classy organization", Braden wasn't bright enough to realize the stark contrast he was actually drawing between them and himself.

You would never see a Yankee do what Braden did yesterday.

Classy is being human enough to fall prey to your emotions while still having the maturity not to assume the worst and then blow up over it. If Braden is the only super-sensitive pitcher in the league - and I think that's probably accurate - then A-Rod is at worst guilty of treading on the pet peeve of an unknown pitcher by accident, which at best makes Braden an egotistical jerk.

But how would he know when he shot off his mouth like a 10-year-old instead of taking it up privately with Alex like an adult would, or waiting until after the game to find out if it was intentional or not?

The sad thing is that Braden isn't anywhere close to realizing just how ashamed of himself he should be after that adolescent display.

in Sports


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    Well actually he did have the ball in his hand and the only reason he wasn't standing on the mound was because he was covering first base. Dallas Braden has a point, and A Rod has a history of a sad lack of understanding of the nuances of baseball etiquette. Maybe Braden should have kept his cool, but if you've played sport to any kind of level you'll know some athletes use emotional outbursts to spur themselves on to greater heights of achievement - John McEnroe is an obvious example.

    The fact that the A's went on to beat the Yankees tells me that Braden has nothing to apologise to his teammates about. A Rod on the other hand comes off as arrogant and unclassy. Now there's a first.

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