Earlier this week, an interesting tweet popped up on Twitter.
And like that…the internet was abuzz (pun intended) with talk and pictures of Brian Wilson and Dallas Braden and their National Lampoon-like vacation. As it would turn out, Omar Gutierrez, the guy who happened upon the unemployed pitchers, had no problem picking the two out of a crowd as he and his sons are Bay Area mainstays themselves.
HOVG: Your Twitter timeline was blowing up mentions after you innocently commented on seeing Dallas Braden and Brian Wilson at Disneyland. What went through your head when you saw them at “The Happiest Place on Earth”?
OMAR: We were just in Phoenix 36 hours earlier at Spring Training so the last thing we expected was seeing one of our favorite players at Disneyland. The funny thing was seeing both Brian Wilson and Dallas Braden go all in with the Disney attire. It's one thing to see them at Disneyland. It's another to see them walking along in coordinating Buzz and Woody sweatshirts. In our photo with Braden you can see Wilson in the distance.
HOVG: You're the father of the masked Oakland A's fans "The Champ" and "Super J" and a visible part of the landscape at O.co Coliseum. Which one of the young luchadors is that posing with Braden? And how excited were you to meet one of the two members of the A's to ever throw a perfect game?
OMAR: My son Gabriel (“The Champ”) and I noticed Brian Wilson and then I spotted Dallas Braden next to him. We asked Dallas if we could say hello and he gladly obliged. Dallas has always been great with fans and this was no different. We had previously met him in 2009 prior to his Opening Day start. It’s a treat to meet the perfect game pitcher. It's better meeting him knowing he's so genuine.
HOVG: How did the whole luchador thing with the championship belts come about?
OMAR: It started innocently with Gabriel bringing along the mask he received as a gift to Spring Training in 2012. He first wore it on March 2, 2012. While at Spring Training we learned about Josh Reddick and his love for the WWE. At the first exhibition game in Oakland (against the San Francisco Giants, April 3, 2012) we arrived in Section 149. Gabriel decided to bring his mask along with a replica belt. Gabriel walked down to the front rail and held up the belt to Reddick. Reddick stopped warming up, placed his glove under his arm and clapped for him. Later that game Omar Gonzalez gave him the name "The Champ". It was perfect. We later got a mask for Joshua and gave him the name "Super J". The rest of the season was amazing for them. We had lots of great moments both on the field and off the field including “The Champ” meeting Reddick for the first time. Tremendous fun in 2012 and we expect it to continue in 2013.
HOVG: Growing up an A's fan…who do you find yourself rooting for now and, who did you root for as a kid?
OMAR: Reddick is a fun player to watch and I love his work ethic. He's a great example for my boys as they learn the game of baseball. It started for me back in 1980 when I played for the A's team in my local little league. 1980 was a great year to become an A's fan – Billy Martin was managing, the starting pitchers were known as the Five Aces and they had an All-Star outfield with Dwayne Murphy, Tony Armas and Rickey Henderson. It was simply exciting to watch Rickey. When would he steal his next base? Would he make a great play in left field? How many runs would he score? I would begin to follow Rickey in 1980 and never stop. Even the baseball card collection featuring Rickey remains intact to this day.
HOVG: Getting back to Reddick. The outfielder was recently challenged by WWE Superstar Daniel Bryan to a "Beard Off". Now, I've gotta think you're pulling for your guy, but with all the Twitter followers Bryan has…does Reddick even have a shot?
OMAR: I will never doubt the power of Reddick and his beard. A year ago they were talking about Reddick as a fourth outfielder at best. He turns in a 32 home run season with Gold Glove defense, all the while helping his team to an amazing season. It should be fun to see where this goes and maybe Reddick follows in the footsteps of Billy Martin and appears on a WWE Pay-Per-View. In the offseason, of course.
Omar Gutierrez spends his days as an IT professional. Outside of work, he coaches both his boys in Little League, collects baseball cards and is an Oakland A’s season ticket holder. Expect to them plenty this year at the Coliseum. Feel free to check out Omar’s website. It has plenty of pictures of “The Champ” and “Super J”. You can also follow Omar on Twitter at @omar01.