Seattle Mariners’ Milton Bradley: The 2010 Version of Jimmy Piersall?
For a man considered by many to be very talented, Milton Bradley has called eight cities “home” in 11 seasons in MLB.
I realize there have been other players who have become “shop worn” over the years. Kenny Lofton pops into my mind first. He played for 11 different squads in his very good 17-year career.
With Lofton 10 of those teams came in his final seven seasons after spending a decade with the Cleveland Indians.
Lofton was one point away from being a career .300 hitter. He showed skills and was not ejected from one town to another because of his personal demons.
Bradley, on the other hand has never measured up to the model many people had thought he had trying to burst out from the rough exterior.
In his career Bradley has only played one season in which he had enough ABs to qualify for any time of statistical reward, not that any would be due him.
In 2004 with the Los Angeles Dodgers he played 141 games and had 516 ABs. He batted only .267 with 19 HR and 67 RBI.
In four partial seasons he managed to bat over .300, his high-water mark being in 2008 when he batted .321 with the Texas Rangers.
His personality disorder(s) has made him the modern day Jimmy Piersall. Many readers are too young to remember him.
He was an outfielder with similar personal problems, mostly remembered as a member of the Boston Red Sox and Cleveland Indians.
There was also a movie made about him starring Anthony Perkins, called “Fear Strikes Out.”
Most people don’t remember that he had a decent career, just that he was “not right”. Is that the legacy Bradley will be faced with?
He has already had enough strikes against him to be called out, and I mean out permanently. He is the MLB version of Terrell Owens, without being one of the best at his position.
The baggage he carries is too much for any Skycap guy to handle. I am not certain where or when his problems actually began, but the first I am privy to is the incident in Cleveland.
At the beginning of the ’04 season he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Franklin Gutierrez and Andrew Brown after a confrontation with manager Eric Wedge.
In 2007 he was placed on the Disabled List after he tore an ACL while being restrained by San Diego manager Bud Black.
Bradley was in an altercation with umpire Mike Winters.
Winters had told the home plate umpire that in a previous at-bat Bradley flung his bat toward him (Brian Runge). Winters was subsequently suspended after it was found that he had used profanity at Bradley (where would we be if every ump that cussed a player would be suspended?).
No further action was directed toward Bradley by the league.
In 2008 as a Texas Ranger, Bradley had a confrontation with Kansas City Royals’ announcer Ryan Lefebvre in the press box.
Bradley took umbrage at a comment the announcer made comparing Josh Hamilton and Bradley. A full-blown confrontation was dismantled and Bradley was reduced to tears in a public display of emotion.
With the Chicago Cubs in ’09 Bradley was again at the center of controversy. He was suspended for arguing a call with umpire Larry Vanover.
After Bradley flew out in a game against crosstown rival, the White Sox, he and manager Lou Piniella had a blow-up and Bradley was told by the manager to go home.
After that particular incident, Piniella reportedly said, “This has been a common occurrence and I’ve looked the other way a lot and I’m tired… I’m not into discipline, I’m really not. I’m going to put his name in the lineup tomorrow and that’s it.”
The Seattle Mariners acquired Bradley in an off-season deal that sent pitcher Carlos Silva and cash to the Cubs. The Mariners (as was I) were in high hopes that he could help them get to their first World Series this year.
In a game a few days ago he became irate after striking out twice in a game. Manager Don Wakamatsu removed him from the game prompting Bradley to say, “I’m packing my stuff. I’m out of here.”
Bradley sent a message to ESPN’s Colleen Dominguez, saying, “Any reports that I said I’m packing up and leaving are 100 percent fabricated.”
My point is this: How many strikes do you get? He has proved himself to be a polarizing (negative) component everywhere he has played.
The Mariners are waiting for Bradley to seek outside help and create a plan for self-improvement before any further action is taken.
It is clear to anyone with eyes that Bradley has some emotional disorder(s). Hopefully, he can get his personal life worked out.
I am told he is a pleasant man to talk to, but when stress levels hit the boiling point, he is someone else. Does Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde ring a bell?
Every time I hear of one of Bradley’s outbursts I am reminded of the scene in “Fear Strikes Out” when Piersall (actually Perkins) begins climbing up the backstop.
What are your thoughts?