Stockton’s Perfect Bitches! What!

One of my regular complaints has been the complete lack of news lately. I complain about this a lot and occasionally people will point out a recent homicide or whatever random decision the City Council made to counter my complaints. With all due respect to those beats and the people who cover them (and they do so quite well), that stuff only occasionally counts. When I say there’s no news I mean real news that you can’t avoid. News where even if you hadn’t read the paper, flipped on the TV, or checked Twitter you’d still hear about it by the time you get to work/school. You know, news with real buzz. Thankfully, A’s pitcher Dallas Braden gave us the news everyone’s been buzzing about by throwing a perfect game on the first ever “209 Day” at the Coliseum.

Coming into the weekend, I had mixed feelings on Braden. He seemed to be fanning the last ember of his “feud” with noted purple chapstick lover Alex Rodriguez in which A-Rod disrespected the 26-year old pitcher by crossing the mound to return to 1st from 3rd after a foul ball. Braden chastised him then for breaking unwritten baseball protocol and did so again last week claiming he would show Rodriguez that “we don’t do much talking in the 209.”

Normally, I’m all about chest thumping local pride. Especially when it involves promoting Stockton’s fighting spirit. But the use of the area code “209” when not done ironically or by a rapper is just cringe-inducing for me. It promotes some sort of faux-ghettoness (or ghetfauxness) that’s unbecoming of pretty much everybody. At least Braden has used the 3-digit area identifier before he decided to use it to tell a Yankees 3rd baseman how hardcore he was. Also, he was picking a fight over walking over a mound of dirt. I enjoy a good brawl as much as the next guy (and few are more deserving of a fist to the face than A-Rod), but when you’re willing to “go” over some silly unwritten rule then you’ve already lost. Not to mention A-Rod’s a multi-time MVP being called out on unwritten baseball code by a guy who’s barely had a cup of coffee in the majors. A-Rod was right to be dismissive of Braden and to avoid extending his 15 minutes of fame. Come back when you’ve done something, then you can talk shit.

Well, Braden did that by doing what only 18 others had done before him, sitting down all 27 batters. And like that, a new local hero was born. And you know what? It’s about fucking time. No offense to other famous Stocktonians but Jesus Christ we needed this. Not just the good news, Lord knows that’s been scarce, but a real local hero. An ambassador of sorts that truly represents Stockton. Jose Hernandez is a nice story and all but does he make his bed here in Stockton? No. Dude’s off speaking and doing NASA shit. I don’t blame him, plenty of people leave Stockton to find greater success. That doesn’t make what he did less of an achievement, but Stockton will never fully embrace someone like him because it sends the message that to truly make it you have to pack up and make your name elsewhere (not to mention, shitloads of people have been to space. Only 19 people have done what Braden did). Dallas Braden, on the other hand, went home and partied in fucking Stockton. If it wasn’t Mother’s Day I probably would have spent most of last night trying to crash that party.

But location has little to do with why Braden is making the jump to Stockton’s greatest hero. This quote from the linked story (and that epic finger-mustache tattoo) has a lot to do with it:

“I’ve been raised around Joe the ditch digger longer than I’ve been around Joe Millionaire,” Braden said. “I co-mingle with these people on a daily basis These are the people who have made this city what it is, and these are the people who have made me who I am. I know I wouldn’t be half the man I am today without all the help and support I’ve received, and I just want to thank everyone for helping me get here.”

Yeah, this guy gets it. If we can get this guy out there talking about the hard-working, blue collar town that made him who he is this town may finally start shedding its reputation as a crime-ridden hell hole that can’t figure out its identity. After numerous attempts to brand Stockton as something it’s not with expensive restaurants, hotels, and an Arena we may or may not have needed we finally have a figure on a national stage saying we’re none of those things. We’re just your average working class town that never gives up and occasionally produces a really good pitcher. It may not be as catchy as “The Event City”, but to me it sounds…well, perfect.

Oh, and stick it A-Rod.

Advertisements

~ by Slick Diaz on May 11, 2010.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: