Athletics

Dallas Braden reflects on Mother's Day perfect game nine years later

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AP

Dallas Braden reflects on Mother's Day perfect game nine years later

OAKLAND — To this day, it's one of the most memorable moments in A's history.

On May 9, 2010, nine Mother's Days ago, Dallas Braden threw a perfect game against the Tampa Bay Rays. It was the 19th perfect game in MLB history and the second ever by the A's.

Of course, what made this perfect game even more special was the circumstances surrounding it. Braden, who was 26 at the time, had lost his mother to cancer when he was in high school. After that, he was raised by his grandmother, Peggy Lindsey, who was at the Coliseum that Mother's Day.

"The lasting memory is the moment that my grandmother jumps off the top of the third base dugout and makes her way down to the field," Braden told NBC Sports California. "We were able to share an embrace and enjoy that moment and what it all meant to us, having been there on that day, considering where we'd come from."

Where they'd come from is an incredible story. After Braden lost his mother, he lived with his grandmother in Stockton until he graduated from Stagg High School. He was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 46th round of the 2001 MLB Draft but elected to attend American River College, a community college in Sacramento.

After two years there, Braden transferred to Texas Tech and starred for the Red Raiders baseball team. Still, he was only drafted in the 24th round by the A's in the 2004 MLB Draft, No. 727 overall.

Braden continued to work hard, never giving up on his dream, and eventually reached the big leagues in 2007. Three years later came perfection.

"If I'm being honest, I try hard not to really reflect," Braden said. "I try hard not to spend much time thinking about it because I don't have the emotional capacity to handle that. I enjoy the moment with the fans and I get out of there just in time to hide the tears."

Now a husband and a father, Braden hopes his children will one day understand the magnitude of what he achieved that day in 2010, but more importantly, how he got there in the first place.

[RELATED: A's show they can win by playing 'small ball']

"I just hope that they appreciate the work that it took just to get to that point, not about the accomplishment or that day," Braden said. "I'm sure they'll appreciate that at some point in time. But the take-home message is understanding that it takes hard work. Regardless of where you come from or what circumstances you're a part of, your dedication and your passion, more times than not, can get you where you want to be."

Why Dallas Braden vehemently opposes MLB's latest proposal to players

Why Dallas Braden vehemently opposes MLB's latest proposal to players

All major professional sports leagues face three main hurdles in returning during the coronavirus pandemic. 

How to manage everyone's safety, how to modify the game rules, and how to allocate money between the players and the league.

It’s that third part which remains MLB’s final, yet biggest challenge to clear.

“It’s almost like you’re at the top of the hill,” NBC Sports California A's broadcaster and former pitcher Dallas Braden said Wednesday. “It’s like we’re right there. We can see it, and it’s a matter of trying to figure out how everybody is going to be able to walk away from this okay in their minds.”

Players have widely opposed the latest proposal from the MLB, which essentially is a second wave of pay cuts for a 2020 season. But this time, the percentage of reduction greatly increases with the player's total salary.

As ESPN's Jeff Passan reported Wednesday, MLB proposed that a $563,500 salary would turn into $262,000 for 2020. Meanwhile, a player signed for $30M would be reduced to $6.95M.

“When you start hand-selecting employees, you are absolutely going to be creating a divide," Braden said. "And it’s because you’re now telling these two sides, who are on the same side, that they are separate.”

The MLB Players Association is expected to counter MLB's proposal by the end of the week, Passan reported later Wednesday night, citing sources. Passan reported that the players are expected to propose a plan that includes more than 100 games and a guarantee of full prorated salaries for the 2020 season

Braden says players have earned their present position of leverage from their years of hard work before they were ever promised an opportunity in Major League Baseball.

“What that person is doing is saying ‘You know what, boss man’,” Braden said. “I’m not going to take that 70 percent haircut you’re offering me right now. Because I’ve been working a swing-shift. I’ve been doing graveyard, double-time. I’ve been saving up so when something like this happens, thankfully I’m not in a position to have to take that 70 percent haircut.”

But players at the major league level aren't the only ones being impacted. Minor leaguers are suffering as well, as the chances of a minor-league season taking place appear slimmer and slimmer. 

No season would likely mean little-to-no compensation for thousands of players, many of whom were already financially constrained.

“Minor leagues are littered with two-bedroom apartments, stacked with eight to ten guys high,” Braden said. “Three in a room, figuring it out. Just figuring it out.”

As for rules and game format changes, Braden believes players will make the best of difficult adaptations. He also believes the A’s will perform as expected, no matter what their schedule looks like.

“I’ve always thought we were an extremely attractive ballclub. Nothing keeping us away from making a push towards that division.”

[RELATED: Why A's should break protocol, sign Semien for the long haul]

Unfortunately at this juncture, Braden is pessimistic about the possibility of MLB and its players finding common ground.

“I hate to say it, but, I think I’ll be seeing you next year, before I see you this year.”

Ever wonder why the A's play 'Celebration' following home victories?

Ever wonder why the A's play 'Celebration' following home victories?

After every A’s home win, without fail you’ll hear “Celebration” by Kool & The Gang blaring across the speakers as the team bumps fists on the field. 

But … why? Why this song? 

Let’s take it back to 1981, when the tune was at the top of the charts. That's when the A’s decided to make that their celebratory theme song in order to enhance the ballpark experience.

All ballparks used the organ to play their songs back then, but the Oakland Coliseum that was the first place to play pop music.

At one point, they tried to steer away from the catchy song and introduce something more local. But that wasn’t much of a success with fans.

You can’t mess with what’s not broken.

Find out more about the song that is synonymous with victory in the video above. 

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