And having zero Twins baseball to think about gave me the opportunity to truly revel in the absolute delightful ridiculousness of the Dallas Braden/A-Rod media bitch-fight.
Does everybody know the story? I hope so. But here's the Reader's Digest Abridged version:
Late April: Yankees @ A's (or "What Hell Looks Like" as I like to call this particular matchup). During an inning A-Rod decides to jog over the pitching mound to get back to base after a foul ball. At the end of the inning A's pitcher Dallas Braden told him to get off his mound. Post-game, Braden called A-Rod out for being a selfish jerk. A-Rod called Braden out for not being a popular big name player. Onward and upward. Stay classy Oakland and New York.
Morgan Ensberg had a funny blog post about it at the time. (BTW, if you don't read his blog already, you should. It's pretty cool having a real blog by a recent player that isn't fed through the MLB propaganda machine.)
Cut to this week, where Dallas Braden continues to rail on about this, in amazingly entertaining fashion. Going so far as to say in response to A-Rod's response that "We don't do much talking in the 209." Which pretty much made my week. Scruffy scary looking Oakland player making vague threats that invoke his telephone area code? Yes, please. MLB. I live for this.
I agree that Braden is maybe, just maybe, blowing things out of proportion a little. But I disagree with everyone (including Morgan Ensberg...) who says that there's no unwritten rule that you don't run over a pitcher's mound and that Braden is crazy for thinking there is one.
CLEARLY everyone who is saying this is not nearly as versed in everything A.J. Pierzynski does as I am.
Because as soon as it happened, it brought to mind one of my all-time favorite A.J. Pierzynski articles. From like 3 or 4 years ago. Somewhere I kept the original magazine, but I'm not digging it out. The cover said something about A.J. "embracing his inner jerk," and the story was accompanied by one of ESPN the Mag's "Who knows him better?" featurettes where A.J.'s wife Lisa and his BFF Doug Mientkiewicz answered questions about him. It was a good one. Anyway, it includes the following:
"What does Pierzynski do? Mostly little things. When he makes an out, he'll often take the opportunity to jog across the mound on his way back to the dugout. Pitchers, as a rule, don't like this."
I guess Dallas Braden and I read the same magazine articles.
For this reason, I'm siding with Braden and his intensely entertaining public overreaction. Also because I'm afraid that if I don't, he will cut me.