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Mr. Mouth, Mr. Mouth
2004-04-02 01:03
by Mike Carminati

Mr. Mouth, Mr. Mouth...Just Can't Keep His Big Mouth Shut

--Ad for the Milton Bradley toy "Mr. Mouth"

So it seems that the Indians, a team that had fallen on hard times and was trying to rebuild through youth (or yute if you're Joe Pesci), have decided to part with their best position player, Milton "Don't F'ing Call Me Omar" Bradley. Not only that, they have decided to make their intentions known so that the return on Bradley will be as low as possible. Who's running this team, Bob Hope from the grave?

The last straw (or Straw for you Darryl fans) was when Bradley failed to run out a fly ball that fell for an apparent double in a spring training game--Bradley only got a single out of it-- and then reportedly got into an argument about it with manager, and I use the term loosely, Eric "Sand" Wedge: "Bradley responded, and while it was not a shouting match, the disrespect he showed for his manager in front of his teammates forced management's hand."

Is that all? OK, neither action is all that great, but how about fining him?

Everyone knows Bradley has an attitude. Given that maybe Wedge should have handled it differently. Bradley probably knew he screwed up and didn't take kindly to its being pointed out in front of the whole team, not an enlightened view, but whadja gonna do? I'm not saying that Wedge shouldn't point out the mistake to Bradley or that he should be treated differently than other players. All that I'm saying is that Wedge is a manager and could have managed the situation better. It's not like he hasn't had ample opportunity to learn the subtle nuance of Bradley's saturnine personality.

As far as not running out a ball, isn't that the kind of thing that they make light of in an exhibition game. "Oh well, I screwed up. Better not do that when it counts. Yuck, yuck." Obviously, that's not a direct quote from Bradley. One of those would incur the wrath of Michael Powell. However, I'm sure an expletive-laced version of those thoughts passed through the transom of Bradley's mind. Sure, it's bad, but again, what ever happened to a fine?

Finally, why the Indians have to announce to the world, "Hey, we're jettisoning this guy. Anyone want damaged goods?", is beyond me. Are they making an example of him? Wouldn't the trade itself do that?

This changes the whole dynamic of the talent-challenged AL Central. Some had predicted a string showing by the Indians and possibly a division title. That seems a bit remote now. But, hey, they did just pick up a 15-game winner in Jeriome Robertson. Too bad he had a 5.10 ERA last year as well as a WHIP over 1.5 and he allowed 180 hits and 23 homers in 160 innings. It's encouraging to see the Indians follow the strategy of their city-mates, the NBA Cavaliers, from the early Eighties. They are tanking before the season starts. The only difference is that the Indians don't get a number one pick for their non-efforts and they actually think they are "do[ing] what's best for the ballclub".

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