Thursday, March 10, 2011

What to Do When Godzilla's at the Front Door

In baseball and in music, it's all about the back door.
There's the back-door slider, a pitch that breaks late and sneaks across the ass-end of the plate.
In rock and roll, it may have started with "Back Door Man"--written by Willie Dixon, performed by Howlin' Wolf, and perhaps best known for its cover by the Doors. That's followed by Creedence's "Lookin Out My Back Door," then on to Deep Purple's "Knocking at Your Back Door."
The front door? Nothing cool about that. Nobody sneaks in or out of the front door. That's where the flag flutters, the seasonal holiday accoutrement (the heart, the shamrock, the fuzzy bunny) hangs, the mail arrives, the Girl Scout hawks her cookies.
It's where Dallas Braden's sinker turns up too.

Indeed, we are getting into the spring swing of things (trying saying that three times fast!) over at Batter Chatter, as today's NY Times reports of Hideki "Godzilla" Matsui's arrival in Oakland.
Dallas "Don't FREAKIN' Step on My Mound!" Braden greeted Matsui with an inflatable Godzilla he bought on eBay for $150.
Matsui, the ultimate team guy, surely appreciated the gesture, though he probably wouldn't mind retiring the Godzilla moniker once and for all, seeing as it was given to him for his monstrous acne as a teen, not for his prodigious home runs.
Braden is happy to see Matsui for a number of reasons: the A's have almost no offense, for one, and Braden never really could get Matsui out--especially during a gem he'd been throwing just after his perfect game last season, until Matsui took him deep.
Tyler Kepner writes:
“Breaking ball,” Braden said ruefully, recalling the moment the other day in the A’s clubhouse. “It was middle — but it was down — and he got it. I’ve thrown him changeups, sinkers in, I’ve thrown him front-door sinkers; if I had a knuckleball I’d throw that. I’m just glad I don’t have to face the guy anymore.”

As he showed on Real Sports last year, Braden is a zag-when-everyone-else-zigs kind of guy, so it's no surprise that he's throwing front-door sinkers when everyone else opts for back-door sliders.

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