A few days ago the Mariners cut ties with Milton Bradley (he was DFA’d on Monday). While some say that Bradley was too much of a cancer in the clubhouse, the reason Milton was let go was because of his performance on the field.
Bradley came to the Mariners a year and a half ago in a trade that involved Carlos Silva. The move seemed brilliant at the time and gave fans even more hope that the Mariners could make a deep run in the playoffs. Now, the move is far from glamorous. Silva was released early in Spring Training this year and Bradley is now gone too.
The last year and a half with Bradley has been a roller coaster. Except, this roller coasters had more sudden drop offs then normal, so it was filled with a few more lows than highs. I don’t like roller coasters very much but I like Milton Bradley. Milton didn’t hit like the Mariners had hoped he would and wasn’t the best outfielder (far from it, really).
Milton didn’t cause many problems here off the field, in comparison to everywhere else. He flipped some fans in Texas the bird and left the team for a few weeks last year to seek some help last year. This year he wore ear plugs and was ejected twice, not a huge disruption.
Milton isn’t really liked around baseball, but I thought he was going to find a niche here in Seattle. He was away from the pressure and playing in a mellow media market. He probably would have found a niche here if he would have been more productive. Outside of the first week of the season though Milton couldn’t hit and that’s what cost him his job.
I’m going to miss Bradley for a few reasons. He always had that potential of being good, and the Mariners offense isn’t good. The Mariners offense doesn’t really have much potential to be good. Milton gave a little hope in that light.
Far greater than that though, I’ll miss Milton’s antics on the field. Bradley taught me that major league baseball is about entertainment more than anything else. This goes for all sports. Us as fans will say we tune in to watch a good game, and for some folks that is true, but more often than not we’re waiting for something to blow us away. That can happen in a game with a no-hitter or some great other feat or it can happen as a sub-plot to the game, such as a brawl.
Kobe Bryant is one of my favorite basketball players (some of my fellow good guys probably threw up in their mouths at that statement) for the same reason that I love Milton. When I watch Kobe, I’m entertained. He’ll make an amazing jumper or he’ll taunt the fans (not as much anymore now that he’s matured some). One of those things is considered pure in the game, one of them not, but they’re both entertainment. Bradley generally did the thing that we’d consider not pure in the sports world, but it was entertainment.
I was as big of a Milton Bradley supporter as there is in this city and I will continue to be. I hope he goes and finds help to fight his personal demons because for as entertaining as the man is, I’d rather see a man who is continually enjoying life. We’ve seen flashes of him enjoying it, but maybe he can turn the corner. Bradley didn’t serve us the purpose we’d hoped here in Seattle, but he left a mark on anyone who followed the team closely. For better or worse, Milton Bradley won’t be forgotten here.