While Umpires May Want to Taser Milton Bradley, He Really Does Have Feelings
It usually happens like this. Everything is going great, there’s no drama, no over-excited story that garners far more national attention than it deserves, and all of a sudden the stories hit like a thunderstorm in a Michigan summer.
Of course, we’re talking about the 2010 major league baseball season here.
A number of stories have begun to compound upon one another over the last week. From Milton Bradley’s emotional collapse to a 17-year-old Tasered in the middle of the Citizen Bank outfield grass, there is no shortage of storylines in major league baseball right now.
Umpires May Want to Taser Milton Bradley, but Listen, He Really Does Have Feelings
When it comes to Milton Bradley, the criticism seems to be easily justified.
Here we have a talented athlete, seemingly wasting away his career, a style of living most can only dream of, and a life that could be so much better if he just learned to control his emotions, something an average teen-ager should be able to do.
I think it’s rightly justified that we fume when those who are given the opportunity to flourish, flat out fail.
It seems that Bradley falls into this category.
But I beg a counter argument here, that, while surprising to myself that I actually feel this way, makes sense when you really think about it.
His history is shaky; he has flipped off countless fans, managers, players, and umpires in his 10 years and eight stops in the major leagues.
His longest tenure for one club was from 2001-2003 with the Cleveland Indians. He is a clubhouse cancer, an infectious disease.
He has never, ever, admitted that anything he ever did was, in fact, wrong.
Until Tuesday night.
Sometime after he struck out looking with the bases loaded but with several innings still left to play, an upset Milton Bradley left Safeco Field and went home.
Sometime after that, he decided that he needed help.
On Wednesday morning he called manager Don Wakamatsu and general manager Jack Zduriencik and asked if he could speak with them in person.
When he did so, he told them he is dealing with personal problems and asked the club for its help.
He asked management for help.
After his meeting, he went to a Seattle elementary school as part of the Mariners annual education day and spoke emotionally about his mother’s financial struggles while raising him. He then went to Safeco Field and spoke to his teammates and asked them for their support at a team meeting.
He asked his teammates for support?
Then, he willingly sat out the first of an unspecified number of games while the struggling Mariners give him time to get himself together.
See, here’s the thing, folks.
You can say all you want about how athletes make too much money to be allowed to screw up.
Go ahead, I’ve said it in the past, and while I don’t really believe it, it’s a stereotype and admit that I’ve copped out to please my audience.
But, the beauty of us, as human beings is that we all screw up.
We all have our faults and it doesn’t matter if we are presidents, athletes, judges, plumbers, pastors, or zookeepers.
We all screw up.
When those who have found incredible success do it, those who are honest with themselves can find a sense of understanding, a sense of likeness with that and a realization that these guys aren’t that much different than you and I are.
And guess what, Milton Bradley asked for help.
Let’s see you or I put aside our pride and admit that we are wrong every once in a while, forget about admitting we have major character issues.
MLB Players Apparently Want to Pack Tasers Themselves, the Way They Talk
So, this story got so big that I don’t even need to introduce it with an explanation.
On Monday of this week (the day before Bradley’s situation), Steve Consalvi and his youthful idea made national headlines that night and prompted major league baseball and local police from each city to investigate the appropriate way to deal with fans on the field.
While some believe that the use of a Taser Gun is a little extreme, what do you honestly expect in the society we live in today?
I’ve been to dozens upon dozens of games.
The rush of running onto the field does not outweigh a misdemeanor charge.
From a player’s perspective, when a strange fan is darting toward you, like an animal charging you at a zoo, what do you think his natural reaction will be?
I don’t want anyone ever to run at me acting like a total moron, and neither do you.
Phillies right fielder Jayson Werth was prepared to strike the fan with his glove as he approached him, but once the fan realized Werth considered him hostile, he said, “No! I love you!” and ran in a different direction.
“You’re just kind of programmed to know that if somebody comes on the field, they’re fair game, because you just don’t know what they’re going to do,” Werth said. “History could repeat itself.”
The recent history?
Two fans ran onto the field and pummeled former Royals first-base coach Tom Gamboa in Chicago in 2002. A folded up pocket knife fell out of one of the fan’s pockets.
Nelson Figueroa perhaps sums it up best:
“We don’t know if this guy has a weapon on him. We don’t know if this guy is on drugs or alcohol. We didn’t even know how old he was. You don’t know what his mind-set is. This guy is obviously not happy.
“You never know. I’ve played all around the world. The Dominican, Mexico, China. You’ve got fans who get very animated at games, and at times, they throw bottles and rocks and they want to come down on the field and fight the players. In the best interest of the player you try to have security there and whatever means necessary to keep us safe. Hopefully, it was an example and set a precedent where people realize they’re not playing.
“He was corralled. He was surrounded. It might not have been the best, most fit, youngest force we had out there to take him down. But he realized he was wrong and he knew when he started circling, the gentlemen were winded and they went to the next level. Once he tried to make a run for it and got tasered in the back, he stopped.”
Chuckle slightly to yourself.
Think about it.
And finally, think about Honoring the Greats