Milton Bradley is back in the news, and once again he is in it for negative reasons. According to ESPN.com, the former Outfielder was charged on Thursday with 13 misdemeanor counts of assault with a deadly weapon, vandalism, and dissuading a witness from making a report. Bradley’s tumultuous relationship with his wife (who he is separated from & in the middle of divorcing) was apparently the root cause of the supposed violent confrontations between the two (listed in the article), and led to some supposedly violent actions on Bradley’s part according to Prosecutors. If Bradley is indeed convicted of these crimes, his arraignment is January 24th, he could face up to 13 years in jail and up to $13,000 in fines and restitution.
As we all remember baseball fans, Bradley was sometimes an emotional “powder-keg” throughout his playing career. Although he is likely known by Dodgers fans as the player who had the water-bottle throwing tantrum back in 2004, or Mariners fans for his suspension for bumping an Umpire back in 2011, his brief time with the Padres will always be remembered famously for how it ended.
Bradley, who was then the Padres’ starting Left Fielder and hot-hitting mid-season acquisition got into an argument with Umpire Mike Winters during an important game with the Rockies on September 23, 2007. Winters was apparently upset over Bradley’s behavior over a called strike earlier in the game, and in the 8th Inning their disagreement came to a verbal showdown when Milton was aboard 1st Base. What followed will always be remembered as the moment where I remember that the Padres’ 2007 postseason dreams started their nose-dive.
As the argument heated up, and Bradley had to be restrained, he somehow twisted his leg awkwardly and fell helplessly to the ground. What followed was a diagnosis of a torn ACL, and Bradley was lost for the year. In one instant, the Padres lost their starting Left Fielder and a player who hit .313 in 144 At-Bats with 11 HR’s, 30 RBI’s, and slugged .590 since he came over earlier that Summer.
Would Bradley’s presence have helped the Padres during their final week of the 2007 regular season? We will never know. But I am sure that it would not have hurt the team to have a veteran bat in the lineup and a steady presence in Left Field when only one more “W” was needed for sole possession of the Wild Card spot.
Was Milton Bradley a solid ball-player? Heck yes he was. Unfortunately, he will likely never be remembered as such due to the overly-emotional and sometimes volatile behavior he exhibited throughout his 11-year career. If these allegations are true and the charges lead to a conviction (or convictions) for Bradley, then it will be yet another terrible episode in the life of the one-time All-Star Outfielder.