Unawaited Milton Bradley chronology
Two things. I was unprepared for Bradley to come to the M’s — I just didn’t see this happening. So unlike some of the other deals, I didn’t have time to compile this. But I’ve felt ever since the trade that as much as I hate writing posts like this, that having done them for other deals, I needed to either do it or explain why I wasn’t.
And two, for everyone who said that we were dogging on Carl Everett for the kid stuff, and — in fact this is specifically mentioned in comments in those posts — would stand aside if we ever acquired Milton Bradley, well, you were wrong then and you’re wrong now. Sorry, that’s been sticking in my craw for a long, long time.
For your reference, here’s the as-editorial-free-as-could-be-managed chronology. I could have listed all the ejections, I guess, but I didn’t really have time or the heart.
I recommend this Alan Schwarz article from 2003, “Bradley knows only one way — the hard way“. Mentions his minor league incidents, where he spit gum at an umpire and where he poked another one in the mask.
June 2004: following an argument with umpire Terry Craft, starts throwing stuff on-field, including a bag of baseballs. Suspended four days.
September 2004: at a home game against Colorado, a fan throws a plastic beer bottle at him. Bradley picks it up, yells back at the crowd, and then throws it into the front row (depending on story: even in game stories, it’s “threw the bottle to the ground” in a later story, he’ll say he “spiked it into the concrete”). Ejected when he points and yells at the second-base umpire who’d run out to intercede. Suspended four games, fined. A fan gets arrested and charged. Bradley pledges to seek anger management help.
October 2004: During an NLDS media session, LA Times reporter Jason Reid asks Bradley how the St. Louis fans had treated him. Bradley says “â€œYouâ€™re an Uncle Tom. Youâ€™re a sellout.â€ Reid takes offense and players escort him out. Bradley later meets, apologizes, and they make up. (LA Times)
November 2004: Bradley is riding in a car that’s pulled over for a traffic stop (or, in some versions, in an entirely different car). Bradley gets out to argue, refuses to return to the vehicle, and is arrested. I’ve read he spent three days in jail for that, but it appears the jail time stemmed from a 2003 refusal to accept a ticket during a 2003 traffic stop. (see here)(note that story calling out his great relationship with Kent).
August 2005: This is generally repeated as “Bradley accuses Jeff Kent of being racist”. But that’s not really true — if you read what Bradley actually said, it’s a lot more substantive than that.
June-July 2005: Redondo Beach police respond to several domestic violence reports, including at least one call by him, and an allegation he choked his pregnant wife. Milton was never arrested or charged. “Bradley Had Problems at Home Too” LA Times, 8/31/2005.
There’s a more extensive Daily Breeze article on this I can’t find a direct online cite for (but was widely copied — search for “The injury made any discipline moot.” to find a dozen or so) that describes it as:
June 28, first 911 call is a hang-up, they call back, Milton says his wife hit him. Police show up, counsel.
July 11, his wife runs to a neighbor to call, alleges the choking. Her lip’s bleeding when police show. Milton isn’t present.
July 30, Milton calls to report a fight, police show up to counsel.
January 2007, they divorce.
September 2007: Milton tears his ACL while being held back from umpire Mike Winters, who swore at him. Many, many cites. There’s YouTube video available if you can find it before MLB does.
2008: Milton is stopped at the press box from confronting Royals broadcaster Ryan Lefebvre after Lefebvre made a comparison between the troubles of Bradley and Josh Hamilton (unfavorably towards Bradley). This is often described as Bradley attempting to “storm” the press box, but it’s not at all clear that’s justified.
April 2009: ejected by Larry Vanover after being called out on a 3-2 pitch with the bases loaded. Apparently Bradley said something really heinous. There’s a Chicago Sun-Times article on this but the URL’s busted (btw, future historians are going to refer to the internet age using only curse words), but Bradley didn’t get suspended until Vanover’s report went in.
May 2009: accuses umpires of widening the strike zone on him (ESPN)(as Piniella said, “there’s nothing good that come out of [saying that]”
… and then things go downhill with the Cubs from there. He’s suspended by the team for the rest of the season on September 21st, mostly for comments on the 19th about the Cubs and their fans.