Loss of Dallas Dampens A Rainy Escape At Rangers Ballpark
There was no Dallas in Dallas yesterday, but the sad news about our beloved southpaw reviberated throughout the visitor’s clubhouse in Texas. After seeking three different medical opinions, the diagnosis was clear and unavoidable. Stockton’s unofficial mayor will undergo shoulder surgery Monday in New York. The timeframe for his recovery won’t be determined until the procedure is done, but it’s already a bitter pill to swallow for his teammates and coaches. We’ve all missed his leadership, competitive spirit, and yes, even his, at times, off-centered approach to life. However, I can guarantee you no one is taking this news as hard as the man himself. If ever there was a guy who bleeds green and gold, it’s Mr. 209. I’m sure he’s been bored to tears for the past several weeks on the DL, but for him to now contemplate possible months of inactivity must be unfathomable.
Gio Gonzalez, someone who looked up to the Dean of the starting staff, got a Major League reprieve when the Texas thunderstorms flushed Rangers Ballpark with the intensity one would expect in the Lone Star State. But I found the scene rather ironic as the rain pelted the tarp on the field. As a one hour delay became two hours and then more, I couldn’t help but remember Braden’s comical antics during a game stoppage in Detroit last year. Only weeks after his perfect game and only days since he tweaked his ankle, there was the diminutive lefthander making a mad dash onto the wet tarp at Comerica Park, diving head first with gusto that would have made Rick Dempsey proud. Now in Arlington, on the day when it wouldn’t have taken much coaxing from his A’s teammates for a repeat performance, Dallas remained in Stockton as he tried to come to terms with the physcial journey he’s about to embark on. While the uber-talented Tyson Ross has already shown flashes of brilliance as Braden’s replacement in the rotation, don’t confuse that with what the absence of Dallas will mean to this staff. It’s more about his spirited pep talks and gung-ho attitude than his baffling change-up. But as I told him in a text I sent him yesterday, he’s been through worse and I know he’ll come back with a vengeance.