After the Texas Rangers defeated the Kansas City Royals 11-5 Wednesday night, Milton Bradley elected to skip any postgame celebration with his teammates and instead opted to attempt to storm the press box in search of Kansas City play-by-play man, Ryan Lefebvre.
It seems that no only did Lefebvre make some comments that were less than complimentary about Bradley during the game, but Bradley was actually watching the broadcast and heard them firsthand.
Lefebvre's comments began after Rangers' right fielder Josh Hamilton made a great catch in foul territory. Essentially, Lefebvre compared Hamilton's successful battle to overcome drug problems to Bradley's inability to conquer his own demons. Basically, Josh Hamilton was a "good guy" and Milton Bradley was a "bad guy".
Bradley, who was serving as the Rangers' designated hitter on Wednesday apparently spends his off innings watching television in the clubhouse, took exception and did his best to 'introduce himself' to Lefebvre—only failing thanks to the efforts of Rangers' GM John Daniels and Manager Ron Washington.
Now, you can get a pretty good feel for what makes Milton Bradley tick to a different beat than the rest of us by reading Alan Schwarz's article from a few years back. This is a player who derailed a trade to Kansas City last season by revealing a previously unknown injury to Royals' GM Dayton Moore. An injury that mysteriously disappeared when Bradley was officially traded to San Diego a short time later.
Bradley has routinely taunted and antagonized fans in most ballparks in America, doing so the previous evening in Kansas City. It is all pretty much standard operating procedure for Milton.
In Lefebvre, you have a former radio guy who is still feeling his way along in daily television play-by-play. He talks too much and sermonizes at least once per game. The Hamilton/Bradley comparison was another of these sermons. They are long winded, somewhat condescending, and not worthy of much notice. As a Royals' fan, I don't even hear them anymore when I watch a game.
Bradley, of course, did hear this particularly speech and took exception.
"I'm tired of people bringing me down," Bradley said after the game, somewhere in the middle of a tear-filled tirade in the Rangers' locker room. Something of an odd statement from a man who conducts himself in a manner that implies that he could care less what people think of him.
Now, it would be unfair not to note that Bradley has a lengthy history of charitable foundations and community service. Teammates who have managed to pierce the angry outer shell talk of a sensitive guy who cares about winning. I have no reason to doubt that.
In the end, however, this story is about an announcer talking too much. Lefebvre could have easily complimented Hamilton without bringing Bradley into the equation, or he even could have criticized Bradley for his on-field displays and lack of hustle without somehow equating it to Hamilton's massive errors earlier in his life.
This story is also about a major-league veteran who refuses to let the past go. The world may have wronged Milton Bradley immensely, but it also rewarded him with the ability to play baseball for a living. At some point, don't you just have to grow up and move forward?
Who is wrong in this story? Both, neither...it doesn't really matter. What happened one night in Kansas City was the simple result of two men who drifted into the realm of idiocy at the same time.