I heard it best on the A’s post-game show with Chris Townsend: You could not have asked for a better script. Dallas Braden, surrounded by friends, family and his community of Stockton, Calif., pitched MLB’s 19th perfect game ever on Sunday, May 9, 2010.

As the last out was recorded at the Oakland Coliseum, the stadium erupted. The bench rushed Braden on the mound. Braden had bear hugs for his teammates. As he proceeded from the pitchers’ mound towards the dugout, he had bear hugs for his coaches. Most importantly, Braden had a giant bear hug for his grandmother who met him by the A’s dugout.

Braden and his grandmother have always been extremely close, and losing his mom to cancer while he was in high school only made them stronger. There were tears in Braden’s eyes, his grandmother’s and mine as I watched the two embrace.

The 19th perfect games in the Major League Baseball history belongs to you, Dallas Braden.

Braden won’t forget his roots either.

It had to be fate that today was Braden’s “209” promotion. Fans sitting in section 209 hailed from Stockton his hometown whose area code is also 209. Braden could be heard screaming “209, 209” while pointing at his hometown fans as he left the pitchers mound.

On a team facing dismal attendance this year, this is the shot in the arm that the fan base needed.

The A’s are good.

They’re competing for first place in a wide open AL West. And, oh yeah, they have the latest perfect game.

So much hype was going into the A’s season about their starting pitching. Former All-Stars Ben Sheets and Justin Duchscherer, outstanding sophomore pitcher Brett Anderson and promising Gio Gonzalez, and of course, Dallas Braden. Who would have guessed that Braden would be the man attached to the phrase “perfect game?”

Braden, after having a great start to the season, struggled in his last two starts. Reporters were still asking him about that and his remarks to Alex Rodriguez. He replied he just wanted to move on.

I believe he did.

Alex Rodriguez laughed off Braden’s rant about him, citing that it didn’t matter especially coming from a nobody like Braden. Mr. Rodriguez, he’s not a nobody any more.

Not that he ever was a nobody.

If the A’s have but one All-Star representative again this year, give the honors to  Braden.

The city of Stockton and its community could not be prouder of their representative in Oakland. Braden is a shining example that good things can come from anywhere. Even Stockton.

Hats off to you, area code 209. And hats off to you, Dallas Braden. Couldn’t have happened to a better guy. Couldn’t have asked for a better script.



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