As one of the Comcast SportsNet California TV broadcasters said recently, “If it weren’t for Adam Rosales, the A’s wouldn’t be where they are right now,” which, as of today (May 29th), is 3 games above .500, a half a game behind the division-leading Texas Rangers. After the last couple of years’ dismal seasons, the A’s are definitely in the hunt for a post-season birth. But let’s back up a minute and take a look at how Rosie wound up in the role of utility man extraordinaire for the A’s.
Adam M. Rosales was born on May 20th, 1983 in Chicago, Illinois. He graduated from Maine South High School in Park Ridge, Ill., a Chicago suburb, and still lives there. He went on to Western Michigan University, in Kalamazoo,where he was named to the All-Mid-American Conference 1st Team.
He was selected by the Cincinati Reds in the 12th round (362nd overall) of the June 2005 Amateur Draft. He was immediately sent to Billings in the Pioneer League (rookie) for 34 games, where he batted .321, and was elevated to Low Single-A Dayton in the Midwest League, batting .328.
In 2006 and 2007, he worked his way up the Red’s organization, ending up at Chattanooga in the Double-A Southern League. In the fall of 2007, he participated in the Arizona Fall League, a showcase league for the top 6 or 7 best players in each MLB team’s minor league system, where he batted .281. (See my previous blog article on the AFL.)
In 2008, he started the year with the Louisville Bats in the International League (Triple-A), and was called up to the Reds on August 9th for a brief stint, and again on August 20th when Jerry Hairston Jr. went on the DL. He started the 2009 season back at Louisville, but was called up on April 28th when Edwin Incarnacion fractured his wrist. He played in 87 games with the Reds that year, batting .213.
But batting is not all that Rosie was known for. He was signed as a shortstop and played that position until 2007, when he was moved to first base. In 2008, he played both short and 3rd at Louisville, and 3rd and 2nd with the Reds.
In 2009, he put in time at all 4 infield positions for the Reds. His hustle was rewarded by the Reds’ naming him as their representative for the Heart and Hustle Award. He was selected “for his passion for baseball and his embodiement of the values, tradition and spirit of the game.” Others nominated that year included: Chase Uttley, David Eckstein, Pablo Sandoval and Albert Pujols in the National League, and Nick Markakis, Joe Mauer, Nick Swisher and Evan Longoria in the AL. Jack Cust was nominated by the A’s. Really?
Rosie played in the Mexican Winter League this past winter, where he got considerable experience playing in left field. This was icing on the cake for Bob Geren and Billy Beane, who were looking for a utility infielder for this season.
On February 1st of this year, he was traded by the Reds, along with Willy Taveras, to the A’s for Aaron Miles and a PTBNL. Billy Beane has been quoted as saying that the player in that deal he really wanted was Rosales. This became clear when the A’s released Taveras a few weeks later. Of note, the Reds designated Aaron Miles for assignment on April 5th. Who got the better of the deal? A no-brainer.
So who is Adam Rosales? What we’ve seen so far this season is a guy who sprints around the bases whether he hits a homer or works a walk, a good fielder with a great arm at any position he plays, and a guy with some pop in his bat who seems to get hits when the team needs them. This type of situational hitting has been a real problem for the A’s over the past few years, especially with Jack Cust batting in the number 4 hole.
It is nice to see Rosie, Jake Fox, Ryan Sweeney and Kurt Suzuki take up the slack this season.
Also, Rosie is very disruptive on the base paths, as are Rajai Davis, and Coco Crisp (when he isn’t on the DL). And it’s the running game, I feel, that has made a big difference this year. Rosie rattles the pitchers, forces the opposing fielders to rush their throws, often resulting in errors. Rosie is also lightening fast, beating out infield hits almost routinely. As Manager Bob Geren put it, ”Those kind of at-bats, that kind of speed, generates some action.”
Recently, I attended an Oakland A’s Booster Club luncheon where Rosie was the player on the dais.
He admitted that he was “scared to death” to be standing in front of 100+ Boosters, but not at all scared on the field. He was asked what he thinks about the A’s as a team, and responded without hesitation that they are “the best team in the Majors. There’s great chemistry. We’re like brothers.”
When asked why he runs so fast around the bases, he responded, “I always said if I ever get to the Major Leagues, I’m gonna play like I was 12 years old.“
He says he likes playing all the infield positions, but is most comfortable at shortstop and 2nd base. “I’ll play anywhere the team needs me to play.”
On the personal side, he she has a girlfriend, but is not married. In an interview with Kate Longworth of Comcast SportsNet California, he said that If he weren’t a baseball player, he’d be a rock star. His favorite bands are Dave Matthews and Pearl Jam. His favorite sports movies are “The Natural,” and when he was a kid, “Sandlot,” not surprisingly, both baseball movies. His pet peeve is “Waiting in Traffic!”
When asked what 3 things he takes on the road, he said: his toiletry bag, his cell phone, and his guitar. He hasn’t played for the his teammates yet. “If they’re lucky enough, maybe I’ll play for them.”
His best baseball memory was facing his first pitch at Wrigley Field. Since he grew up in Chicago, ”I was really amped up.”
The A’s are extremely happy to have Adam Rosales on their roster.
When he’s in the lineup, good things happen. He’s had two 4-RBI nights in recent weeks, he’s hit homers, stolen bases, and made great plays in the field.
He always seems to have a smile on his face.
And everyone cheers when he sprints around the basepaths. What more could we A’s fans want?!
My friend Marvin sent me an article about Dallas that says a lot about the man who pitched the 19th perfect game in the history of Major League baseball. It was written by Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports. It is definitely worth a read.
By now you have undoubtedly read many articles about Dallas Braden pitching a perfect game on Mother’s Day.
He is to be congratulated for his outstanding effort Sunday, to become only the 19th pitcher in Major League history to accomplish that feat, and the 2nd A’s pitcher to do so. Catfish Hunter pitched the other on May 8, 1968, 44 years and 1 day before Dallas’ perfecto.
Dallas Braden is such an unlikely hero. He was never a “prospect” (the top echelon of players in a team’s minor league system). In fact, he was drafted by the A’s out of Texas Tech in the 24th round of the 2004 June Draft, and was the 1383rd player taken overall. Definitely not on most people’s radar.
Even in 2005 when he was the A’s Organizational Player of the Year, having won 15 games that year, he was ranked only the 19th best player in the A’s minor league system by Baseball America. In 2006, he didn’t crack the top 30. In 2007, he was called up when Rich Harden went on the DL, and won his first decision but lost the next 8. Hitters had a .303 batting against him, and his ERA was 6.72. Nothing to write home about.
“Braden did have something else,” writes Joe Posnanski, Senior Writer for Sports Illustrated. “He had a bold certainty that he belonged. … There was this boldness about him, this conviction that overpowered the way other people viewed his talent. These are the players that fascinate me most–the ones who deeply believe that they’re going to make it even when all available evidence suggests that they probably will not.”
Billy Owens, the A’s Director of Player Personel, summed up Braden well. “Just to see him out there being able to get by with the guts, the guile, the confidence, the no-fear attitude, the athleticism, it’s refreshing to see all that combined with an ordinary fastball to make him an outstanding Major League pitcher.”
The drama on Mother’s Day played out with the much-talked-about feud with A-Rod in the background. You’ll remember that A-Rod dissed Braden by walking across the pitcher’s mound on his way back to the dugout, while Dallas stood nearby. Dallas told him to “Get the F**K off my mound,” or something similar. The verbal jabs flew back and forth across the country for the next few weeks, culminating with A-Rod’s statement a few days ago that he wasn’t “going to prolong his (Braden’s) 15 minutes of fame.”
A-Rod has never been one of my favorite players, though his stats speak volumes about his abilities on the field. His ego is regularly on display and he can be downright rude. He appears all too often in the media, and much of it is not flattering. So when he belittled Dallas after the latter complained about his walking across the mound, I was and still am firmly on Dallas’ side in this.
Well, Dallas made a big statement to A-Rod with his pitching arm on Sunday. Word has it that the Yankees were in the clubhouse that day and had the game on TV, probably because the A’s were playing the Rays who were at the top of the Eastern Division with the Yankees nipping at their heels. Anyway, A-Rod disappeared to some other part of the clubhouse, refusing to watch Dallas pitch. When the no-no got into the 5th inning, someone found A-rod and told him he’d better get in to watch the game, but he still refused. After the 8th inning, some members of the Yankees found A-Rod and dragged him in and made him watch the top of the 9th. What a jerk!
Yes, Dallas’ 17 career wins in three years in the Majors may not impress A-Rod, but you might be surprised to know that one of the 18 other pitchers to accomplish the feat had even fewer wins. Charley Robertson of the 1922 Chicago White Sox only had 1 win before pitching his perfecto, in his 4th career start.
Thanks to David Feldman, the A’s Historian and an MLB Official Scorer, I can share some other interesting facts about Dallas’ accomplishment. Did you know that given that only 19 perfect games have been pitched, that’s approximately 1 perfecto for every 11,000 games played? And Dallas’ is the 2nd perfect game in a row pitched against the Tampa Bay Rays? Mark Buehrle did it on my birthday (July 23rd) last year.
Sunday’s game was also the first perfect game ever pitched on Mother’s Day, and the 2nd A’s perfecto using one pitcher (the aforementioned Catfish Hunter) and one catcher. Both Ray Fosse and David Feldman mentioned one other perfect game pitched by the A’s but it involved 4 pitchers and 2 catchers, so it isn’t considered one of the 19.
It is also interesting to note that in the first 100 years of Major League baseball, 11 perfect games were pitched. 8 have been thrown in the last 22 years. Either pitchers are getting better, or hitters are not as good as they used to be. I’ll place my bet on the former.
Unfortunately, I was not present to watch Dallas work his magic on Sunday. I had to be content with seeing on our HD TV, and I’m not complaining. I especially enjoyed watching Dallas and his Grandmother, Peggy Lindsey, hugging after the game for a long time. Dallas was clearly emotional, holding on the the woman whom he believes saved his life after his mother died when he was just starting his senior year in high school.
We got a much better view of the moment on TV.
I was, however, seated in the first row behind the visitors’ dugout at Dodger Stadium on July 28, 1991, when Dennis Martinez of the Montreal Expos threw a perfect game beating the Dodgers by a score of 2-0. Former A’s catcher, Ron Hassey was behind the plate that day. He was a little surprised that someone would flag him down at a Dodger game and call him over to talk. That would be me. He was very gracious with his time. By the way, he is the only catcher to catch 2 perfect games!
Los Angeleans are an interesting crowd. They straggle in around the 2nd or 3rd inning and start leaving in the 7th inning “to beat the traffic,” as I was told. No one left that day and we all stood up during the entire 9th inning, and applauded every pitch that Martinez threw, even though he was pitching for the visiting team. It was truly exciting to witness the 13th perfect game ever thrown.
I wish Dallas Braden all the success in the world after what he accomplished on Sunday. I’m not sure he’s quite prepared for what will happen to him from now on. He began doing national interviews from his Stockton, CA home early the following morning. They continued later that day, after the A’s charter flight landed in Texas, where the team begins a 3-game series with the Rangers tonight (May 11th). Apparently, he delivered the Top 10 list from the Ranger’s clubhouse on David Letterman last night. He also taped an ESPN Sports Center interview, and appeared on “All Things Considered” on NPR.
15 minutes of fame, my foot! I agree with Braden’s Grandma Peggy: ”Stick it, A-Rod!”