Milton Bradley…thanks for finally telling us what we’ve known for 11 years…that you’ve got mad issues!

In this portion of his bizarre Game of Life, Bradley went 0 for 2 (two strikeouts) Tuesday night during a home game vs. the Tampa Bay Rays. After the second punch-out, Bradley supposedly stormed into the clubhouse and left Safeco Field.

The second strikeout was after a called third strike. Bradley wanted to argue with the home plate umpire Kerwin Danley. M’s manager Don Wakamatsu urged Bradley to calm down. Bradley was convinced that if Wakamatsu didn’t do anything about the incident, that he would.

After that, the details are murky. Some reports said that Bradley told the manager that he “packing up his stuff and leaving.” Others simply said that he’s done and disappointed about his low performance on the team. Bradley did leave the ballpark and didn’t return.

Later on, Bradley texted MLB Network’s Peter Gammons that any reports that insisted that he was either leaving the Mariners, or Major League Baseball for that matter, were misconstrued.

The Mariners followed that up by giving their troubled (more like troublesome) outfielder an indefinite leave of absence. The reason he and the team gave was that he is going through emotional and personal trauma right now and it’s affecting his performance at the plate.

I would’ve figured Bradley was just joining the club. After all, the team is batting .225 and slugging .314, next to last in both the AL and MLB. Only the Chicago White Sox are ranked lower at .223. And their SLG is over 80 points higher than Seattle’s.

In a year where many (myself included) expected the M’s to make a run at the AL West division championship this year, they’re off to a slow start. Only 3 of their regular hitters have batting averages over .220…that’s right…. .220! Ichiro is at .308, Franklin Gutierrez .321 and Jack Wilson is at .253. The rest…

Jose Lopez-.214
Chone Figgins-.198 (offseason acquisition from Anaheim)
Ken Griffey, Jr-.216
Casey Kotchman-.202
Reed Johnson-.133
Adam Moore-.163
Eric Byrnes-.094

By Mariners standards, hitting-wise, .214 is like hitting .300 for this year’s Detroit Tigers, who are No. 1 in MLB in hitting. Considering that they finished 85-77 last year after going an abominable 61-101 in 2008, this is not too good so far. The cloud over this team is about as much as the clouds that seemingly are stationary over the city of Seattle on a normal basis.

The details of Milton Bradley’s personal issues may be a mystery, but one thing isn’t…Milton Bradley himself.

Ever since arriving into Major League Baseball, he has been a ticking time bomb ready to explode in your face without warning. Despite his potential as a consistent All-Star  (as he was in 2008), he has played for eihgt teams in the span of 11 MLB seasons—the Expos, Indians, Dodgers, A’s, Padres, Rangers, Cubs, and now the Mariners.

Just in recent years, he has been just that—a ticking time bomb. Ironically, he literally exploded in the face of a 1st base umpire without warning in 2007. While playing with the San Diego Padres in the latter portion of the ’07 season, he vehemently argued with Mike Winters.

Home plate ump Brian Runge said that Bradley threw his bat in Winters’s direction. Bud Black who was the Friars’ skipper at the time tried to restrain Bradley, but he argued with the ump so imposingly that he tore his ACL in the process. He would eventually miss the Padres one-game playoff vs. the Colorado Rockies…

which Colorado won because of a controversial call involving Matt Holliday at home plate.

Then came 2008 in Texas. It looked like (at least on the field) that Milton Bradley had finally found his place where he belongs. He hit .321 with the Rangers and was selected as the starting DH for the American League at the 2008 All Star Game at the old Yankee Stadium, replacing the Red Sox’ David Ortiz. Texas finished 79-83 but second in their division behind the Angels.

Even his best year, arguably, of his career didn’t come without controversy. During his banner ‘08 season, Bradley wanted to confront Royals TV broadcaster Ryan Lefebvre about comparing Bradley to Josh Hamilton. Bradley said he didn’t want to hurt the TV announcer but was clearly hurt by what Lefebvre said. It showed that the guy does not know how to take criticism and is very sensitive when it comes to media pressure.

In 2009, he went to the wrong city if he wanted to evade “press-ure”—Chicago. The 2009 Cubs were favorites to reach the World Series that year after posting the best record in the NL at 97-64 in 2008. Their season ended with a thud with a three-game sweep in the NL Division Series by the LA Dodgers.

The relationship between Bradley and the Cubbies’ no-nonsense manager Lou Piniella was rocky from the start. The ’09 Cubs were clearly nothing like the ’08 version and he was suspended close to the end of the year.

Whether it was forgetting how many outs there were, saying that Cub fans were racist, or saying that the fans’ negativity was the reason why the team hasn’t won in over 100 years, Bradley’s stay on the North Side was over before it could ever get started. A .257, 10 HR, 42 RBI season won’t make Cub fans sing his praises any more either.

Chicago traded Bradley to Seattle for Carlos Silva. Once again, Bradley arrives on a team that’s expected to contend. Perhaps this is a place where he could get away from the media jungle that is Chicago and find his niche in a small market town like Seattle.

As it turned out…new market…Same Milton Bradley.

He didn’t wait until a month in the season was completed until he started going crazy. During a game in the fourth inning earlier this April at his former stomping grounds in Texas, he gave the fans a middle finger . It was caught by the TV cameras and is now all over the Internet. Now, we have this latest episode.

I’ll admit that I expected the Mariners to be contenders this year, given that this man finally grows up and realizes that baseball doesn’t revolve around him. After the Mariners added Cliff Lee to team with “King” Felix Hernandez to anchor the M’s pitching staff, it seemed like too much for the rest of the AL to ignore. Despite Lee’s early issues with suspensions and beanballs, he’s done his job…the Mariners offense hasn’t.

The pile of crow on my plate is only growing.

Milton Bradley is his own worst enemy. This nitwit needs to realize that he’s the problem…not TV announcers or Chicago fans, or umpires, or the media.

The racial overtones that come from this guy’s fat yap sometimes are no surprise. He accused umpires at one time of increasing the strike zone only when he’s at the plate . Bradley believes that black ballplayers get a bad rap from the media without even mentioning Jimmy Rollins’s name.

Milton needs to go into the nearest place he can find a mirror. He needs to gaze into that mirror for a long time…or at least long enough to realize that the person he sees in said mirror is the real reason for his on (and off) field issues.

He says that he needs help and asked the team for it, but he also said that he arrived in Chicago as a “changed man.” If there were ever a museum dedicated to those who made their legacies on what they did as opposed to what they said, Bradley’s past has shown that he’s Exhibit A.

So I ask, is Dave Niehaus to blame for that .214 average of yours?

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