On April 22, then-unknown Oakland Athletics pitcher Dallas Braden made a name for himself when he lashed out at New York Yankees superstar Alex Rodriguez for breaking one of baseball’s unwritten laws – you never walk over a man’s mound. Braden screamed, “Get off my mound!” at the admitted steroid user, sparking a rivalry in the media that culminated with Braden’s grandmother telling A-Rod to “stick it” after Dallas threw the 19th perfect game in MLB history on Mother’s Day.
The two have since made amends for their misunderstanding, and had hoped to move past the earlier squabble and just concentrate on baseball. That is, until Braden took umbrage with a marketing move by the A’s that used his likeness on t-shirts with the phrase: “Get off my mound.” Braden didn’t think the idea was too cute, calling the shirts a “gross lack of tact.” He then stomped his feet and locked himself in his bedroom for the rest of the evening.
But how does he know it’s actually his image on the shirts, Fanhouse?
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 apologized for the misunderstanding, citing fan interest and demand as their reason for creating the shirts. But it’s back to the old drawing board for Oakland’s marketing department, which will have to choose another player to make into their marquee face of the franchise. Shouldn’t be too hard to drum up interest in Vin Mazzaro or Jerry Blevins for a team that’s seen its average attendance decline more than 10,000 people over the past six seasons.
Hopefully when the A’s trade Braden to another team for four future studs in two seasons, his new team will take better care of his feelings before we never hear from him again.