Milton Bradley arrived in Seattle this spring with one thing on his mind: proving his ever-increasing collection of haters wrong.
A little more than a month into the MLB season, it appears he has added more fuel to the fire.
With the Mariners mired in a dreadful offensive slump, manager Don Wakamatsu batted Bradley in the No. 4 spot in the order during Monday night’s game against Tampa Bay. The sulky slugger hasn’t exactly been tearing it up lately, but remains the M’s best offensive option not named Ichiro.
After striking out with the bases loaded in the sixth inning, Bradley spoke with Wakamatsu briefly and was removed from the game. At the time, it appeared he was either benched or injured–both realistic possibilities given his track record.
That wasn’t the case.
Seattle Times beat writer Geoff Baker broke the news that Bradley had in fact asked to be removed from the lineup. After being replaced by Ryan Langerhans in left field, Bradley walked to the clubhouse, grabbed his stuff, and left the park.
This is certainly a new twist to the growing list of unstable behavior the journeyman has exhibited during his career.
Bradley has always defended his actions, but more importantly, he has always had faith in himself to succeed. If he was struggling, it was never his fault. He has blamed the umpires, blamed the fans, pointed to racism and came up with every excuse in the book.
But this was different.
Bradley apparently told Wakamatsu, “I’m done. I’m not helping the team.” He had finally stepped up to shoulder the blame, taken responsibility for what happened, and admitted his shortcomings–finally.
It’s clear he has grown tired of being viewed as a failure by others–especially by the fans in Chicago enjoying the success of Marlon Byrd and Carlos Silva. Now it seems Bradley is starting to view himself in that same light, as a waste of talent and a failure, even though he hasn’t been that bad and the season is still very young.
Bradley’s actions don’t make much sense and certainly deserve some sort of punishment.
The Mariners have deemed the situation as an “internal matter.” His status for tonight’s game and for the remainder of the season is unknown.
One thing is certain: Milton Bradley needs help.