OAKLAND (KPIX) — Left-handed pitcher Dallas Braden won just 26 games in 79 starts for the Oakland A’s, but even if Braden didn’t always have his best stuff on the mound, the Northern California native appreciated his time in the green and gold uniform possibly more than anyone in franchise history.
A’s fans will get a full dose of Braden this season in his new role of color commentator and field analyst for 89 broadcasts on NBC Sports California. Braden’s days of buying his own drink in Oakland ended in 2010 when he became the 19th pitcher in big league history to throw a perfect game.
Braden followed all the East Bay professional sports franchises growing up in Stockton. Even though the Raiders are moving to Las Vegas and the Warriors are bolting for San Francisco, Braden sees the exodus as an opportunity for the A’s.
“It’s unfortunate that we have to face that fact that we’re losing two-thirds of the sports culture that’s made this area so iconic,” he told Dennis O’Donnell on Gameday. “I think we should focus on the fact that one team is still standing here and ready to lay a deeper foundation.”
Braden talked about the A’s future in the team’s new corporate offices that opened in Jack London Square earlier this month. They’re hoping the success of the new digs rubs off on their effort to build a new stadium in the area.
Team president Dave Kaval had his plan to build near Laney College collapse in December. Braden knows all about stadium disappointment.
“I was a player in the clubhouse that saw renderings for Cisco Field,” Braden remembered of the team’s failed attempt in 2006 to build a ballpark in Fremont. “I was all but smelling the popcorn, only to have that pulled out from underneath us.”
Braden says this time it’s different under Kaval’s guidance.
“I’ve been in a room with Dave,” he said. “No doesn’t mean no.”