I didn’t know that Dallas Braden had a perfect game going until the
eighth inning when I checked Twitter and saw everyone yammering about
it. But hey, I was busy with family stuff and was monitoring a bunch of
games yesterday afternoon, so I can be excused for only seeing the eighth and ninth innings. If I worked for the Athletics, of course, I’d have seen the whole thing.
Or, maybe I wouldn’t have. Billy Beane is the team’s GM and is a minority owner, so you’d figure that he’d see it all. You’d figure wrong, however, because he almost missed it.
Usually general managers watch games from the team box, but anyone who read Moneyball knows, Athletics’ GM Billy Beane works out during the game, sometimes not even watching it. Ken Rosenthal reports that was basically the case yesterday, as Beane had the raw feed of the game on with no sound and no stats graphics as he listened to a soccer game on his iPod and ran on a treadmill. It wasn’t until the ninth inning that he knew — after asking the guy on the treadmill next to him — that Braden had a perfect game.
Not that he was alone in not paying much attention. Only 12,228 fans were in the seats at the Coliseum for the perfecto. Though if form holds for these kinds of things, a good 50-60,000 people will tell their friends they were there.
Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that Phillies owner John Middleton flew to Las Vegas for a meeting with Bryce Harper on Friday. Per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, it’s “more of a meet-and-greet than a sign-a-deal” affair, but as the club is still at the forefront of trade rumors involving the All-Star slugger, there remains a possibility (however slight) that something could be completed in the days to come.
Even now, the Phillies aren’t alone in the race to sign Harper, but recent rumors have helped whittle down the competition from five or more teams (Phillies, Nationals, White Sox, Giants, and Padres) to three strong contenders. The Giants are said to be interested in a lucrative short-term deal with the outfielder, while the Padres remain in the conversation despite inking Manny Machado to a mammoth 10-year, $300 million contract this week. It’s not yet clear just how far either team would go to outbid Philadelphia as talks with Harper intensify.
As for the Nationals and White Sox, the former officially bowed out earlier today, and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman adds that the latter won’t make a strong play for Harper as they feel the asking price and competing offers are “getting too high” for the 26-year-old’s services. If a mystery team is still in the mix, there’s been no word on their standing with Harper in the last month or so.