Monday, October 16, 2006

Milton Bradley's New Game

From the wonderful L.A. Observed website, a post about Milton Bradley-- the troubled and anger-prone former L.A. Dodger outfielder:

"They love Milton Bradley in Oakland. He had a
much more enjoyable time with the A's this year
than he ever did alongside Jeff Kent in the
Dodgers clubhouse. Dodger fans would probably be
surprised to learn that after the A's playoff
loss to the Tigers this weekend, San Francisco
columnist Bruce Jenkins singled
out Bradley as Oakland's leader in guts and
clubhouse class..."

Here is a part of the Chronicle's article on the new & improved Milton Bradley:

"One of baseball's toughest men was moved
to tears. Sitting at his locker, a towel draped
over his head, Milton Bradley had been crying.
His eyes were blood-red as he finally turned to
face the media. He handled a most difficult
interview session the way he handled the
American League Championship Series -- intensely,
professionally, without fear.

As much as he tried, Frank Thomas could
not carry Oakland through this series. In a
sea of futility, on a team coming to life
only in the final, desperate moments, Bradley
took the responsibility upon himself.
Along the way, he became more of a man. He
found his most pleasurable experiences, by
far, in a baseball uniform. To have all that,
and to have given his best in defeat, moved
the man to tears....

"I just feel I was made for this,"
Bradley said through those reddened eyes.
"The pressure. Giving it all you have. It
was such a great ride. Most fun I've
ever had in baseball. Best team I've ever
been with. Maybe someday I'll smile, and be
happy, over having
played well. Right now, it hurts."

L.A. Observed finishes their post by saying:

"The Dodgers should be kicking themselves
for not finding a way to help Bradley take
this step forward here in his hometown."

If memory serves correct, Hollywood Thoughts recalls that the Dodgers DID send Mr. Bradley to anger management courses. While L.A. Observed is probably suggesting that the Dodger organization might have been better served by not giving-up on Bradley so soon, it raises a bigger question:

Since when is it a ball club's responsibility to help form, rehab and/or makeover a player's personality?

That's the job of the man himself. Parents, family, friends, loved ones and influential teachers can have a hand in shaping a person during their formative years... but his employer???

C'mon. Let's get real.

If you or I have too many sick days for a stupid head cold, the boss is probably calling H.R. to arrange the "exit" paperwork. An employer pays you to do a job. Period.

Unless your contract states the home office is supposed to bail you out of jail... hire an army of bodyguards to keep you from running into the stands and beating the snot out of a fan... or keep you from becoming a drag on everyone in the dugout, you're outta luck.

Here's the odd reality: the Dodgers probably DID play a role in the re-make of Milton Bradley.

When they fired him.

Like an alcoholic, Milton Bradley probably needed to hit bottom before he could find the strength to effect a change in his habits. His temper had already made him damaged goods when he landed in Los Angeles, and his firing from the Dodgers put him on notice that his big league career was on it's final legs. Unless he straightened-up.


Believe me, I'm happy at the news out of Oakland. It's good knowing that the name Milton Bradley means playing games is fun again...


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