With A-Rod Flap Over, Dallas Braden Turns Ire Toward A's for 'Mound' Shirts
It's now Braden vs. the A's.
Dallas Braden and Alex Rodriguez took turns saying they were well past the April 22 incident in which Braden called out Rodriguez for violating baseball etiquette by running across the mound.
What has Braden really ticked is that the A's marketing department chose to revive the incident by selling T-shirts with the phrase "Get Off My Mound."
"I think we all understand where they are coming from, but it's just a serious, gross, lack of tact," Braden said Monday. "At the end of the day, I hope I do not become associated with that kind of approach."
The A's began selling the T-shirts about a month ago. Braden said he was not consulted. He also said the Major League Baseball Players' Association twice refused to give its approval to the A's for the shirts.
"They didn't ask anybody that would potentially be involved in it," Braden said. "From that standpoint they should probably tighten that ship up a lot."
The T-shirts do not include Braden's name. There is a silhouette of a left-handed pitcher.
"That's me," Braden said. "That's my silhouette."
The A's also produced a television commercial in which groundskeeper Clay Wood is shown giving extra attention to the mound.
When Braden's complaints made it to the A's director of marketing, Jim Leahey, officials huddled for more than an hour before producing a written statement:
"We regret that Dallas has expressed concern in regards to the 'Get Off My Mound' T-shirts that are being sold throughout the stadium. The organization created these shirts in response to numerous fan requests and made them to generate interest in this series. The shirts represent the competitive nature of the team, which Dallas epitomizes, and were intended as a fun way to engage the fans. We will speak privately with Dallas about this to clarify our position and make sure we have a clear line of communication going forward."
The shirts were a reference to April 22, when Braden lit into Rodriguez because Rodriguez had jogged over the pitcher's mound on his way back to first after a foul ball. After the game, Braden explained to reporters that Rodriguez had violated one of baseball's unwritten rules, and that Rodriguez was "too busy tasting himself" to notice.
The story lived on for a few days, and then Braden pitched a perfect game a few weeks later, which started it all up again, extending what Rodriguez had called Braden's "15 minutes" of fame.
Since the perfect game, Braden hasn't had much to celebrate. He is 0-5 with a 4.31 ERA. He has pitched through a couple nagging injuries, and he was just placed on the disabled list with left elbow stiffness.
Even though he's unable to pitch in the series, Braden fully expected to be the center of attention again. He just wished that his own organization wasn't stoking the fire on a story he wants to go away.
"They were told on multiple occasions 'no, that's not a good idea and it's not going to be approved,' and they kind of put on blinders and ran with it," Braden said.
Brad Ziegler, the A's player rep, said doing something that could potentially incite the opponent doesn't go over well in the clubhouse: "There isn't a guy in this locker room that wanted those T-shirts made."
It doesn't appear to have caused much reaction among the Yankees, though. Rodriguez, who was booed lustily when he came to the plate on Monday, seemed to get a kick out of the T-shirts.
"I hope I get a cut [of the profits]," he said.
Rodriguez also said that one of his teammates was wearing one in the clubhouse on Monday afternoon: "I won't mention who it was, but he plays left of Jeter."