September 24, 2007

I Never Thought I Would Say I Agree with Milton Bradley

For those of you who have been under a rock for the past two days (or just immersed in the NFL), you missed an incident in San Diego on Sunday. Here's the quick rundown...

Milton Bradley is called out on strikes. He lingers at the plate staring into the air, clearly disagreeing with the call. He finally flips his bat in the air and walks back to the dugout. Next time up at bat, the home plate umpire asks Bradley if Bradley had flipped his bat at the umpire after the strikeout. Bradley responds that he had not. The home plate umpire tells Bradley that the first base umpire told him that Bradley had flipped the bat at him. Bradley then singles. Bradley gets to first base, and asks the first base umpire, Mike Winters, if he had told the home plate umpire that Bradley had thrown the bat at him. Winters replied that he had done so. Bradley told him he had no business inferring that. At that point, conversation ceases, fan in the stands yells that Mike Winters sucks, or something to that effect. Bradley points to the fan and nods affirmatively. At this point Mike Winters says something highly inflammatory, according to the Padres' first base coach. Bradley, who we all know has a short fuse (and who Winters surely knows has a short fuse) absolutely loses it to the point of having to be restrained by his manager. In the process, Bradley tears his ACL and is out for the season and the playoffs, a crippling blow to the Padres.

Don't get me wrong... the officials in professional sports who engage in such shitty behavior or make such horrible calls and need to be reprimanded are in the distinct minority. For every crappy official, there are five good ones. But there are also five good ones in the minor leagues, in the NBDL, in the NCAA, or elsewhere, who should take the spot of that crappy one in the pros.

Hi, I'm Mike Winters. I enjoy long power trips and baiting players into flipping out so I can eject them. It's fun. And now the rest of my crew is going to cover my ass so nothing will happen to me!

Bottom line is that Mike Winters should be suspended for the remainder of the season, and into next season. He should not be allowed to work any postseason games. What he did is inexcusable. Umpires and officials are supposed to take control of the situation. They are never supposed to engage in behavior that causes the situation to spiral out of control. Especially here, where it appears that Winters intentionally provoked Bradley. Bradley compares this situation to that of Joey Crawford taunting Tim Duncan and being suspended for that. I wholeheartedly agree. Officials need to be held accountable, most especially for unprofessional behavior such as what we saw in San Diego on Sunday. I would also say that officials need to be held accountable when they make truly deplorable calls (i.e. Rich Garcia in Yankee Stadium in October 1996), but I worry that this makes them gun-shy in pressure situations. There may be a balance that can be drawn there when a call is objectively blown under any stretch of the imagination.

But Mike Winters needs to be gone. And any official in any sport who would dare to engage in any similar behavior need to be gone as well. It's easy to go on a power trip when you're in charge. I hope Selig grows a pair and disciplines the right person in this situation, because I'm sure Bradley will be facing a suspension whenever he heals from his injury.

And sorry for my prolonged leave of absence. Private sector lawyering demands a lot more hours than public service. Glad to see brother Russell stepping it up though!

11 Responses:

Dewey said...

Ridiculous. Awesome. Hilarious. All of the above.

Almost makes me want to care about baseball again, but then I remember two words: Peter Angelos.

J-Red said...

I know the whole backstory, and the fact is that Bradley has earned his reputation.

Yeah, the first base umpire fucked up, but who among us hasn't worked with a fuckup? Did your boss have to restrain you?

Anonymous said...

I am from Detroit, and I have only two words to say....Rasheed Wallace. The guy isn't wrapped too tight on his best day, but throw him into heat of the moment and all I have to say is DAMN! So the first base ump was pulling his chain, and who else hasn't. That is part of being an adult...the ability to walk away and maybe kick the batboy on the way in. The point get payed to play not throw a fit in the heat of the moment that could cost you the game and hell of alot more.

"ben" said...

I guess this will be the third comment in a row saying the same thing.

I think Mike Winters should be held accountable for his actions.

However, if Milton Bradley doesn't go "Yahtzee" on Winters, and get pulled down with a "Twister," this doesn't make the news.

Have there been any "Clues" as to what Winters said? I wonder if it was racial, a la Roberto Alomar spitting.

Anytime you have someone like Bradley, it's a "Risk" and this is going to happen. That's just "The Game of Life."

By the way, I'm really "Sorry!" for all these stupid jokes about his name.

Jeremy said...

Apparently the Padres first base coach stated that Winters called Bradley a "fucking piece of shit." Todd Helton who was standing on first base called the conversation between Winters and Bradley one of the most interesting he's ever heard. Now, if it's true that the umpire said that, does this change any of your minds? Granted, I'm not excusing Bradley. But I'm saying an official in any sport has ZERO BUSINESS doing that.

"ben" said...

No, that doesn't change my mind at all. I said Winters should be held accountable for his actions. I'm not going to make up exactly how he should be disciplined, but I'm down with any combination of a fine and suspension.

And I still think other adults wouldn't have necessarily reacted like Bradley. Calling him a generic bad name is fairly tame. Unprofessional, yes, but fairly tame.

J-Red said...

You could read the lips. He called him a "fucking piece of shit".

I always heard Hirschbeck (or whatever his name is) called Alomar a faggot or pandejo.

"ben" said...

Oh. I always heard it was a racial slur. But maybe that was just Alomar trying to better justify it.

Jeremy said...

Well according to a well-placed source that I have, Hirschbeck may not have been too far from the truth. But that is definitely not for a blog entry because I'm not going to get us sued.

"ben" said...

Look, we all know Alomar swings from both sides of the plate.

What? What'd I say? He's a switch hitter, you can look it up.

J-Red said...

Public figure Jeremy. Do you have malicious intent. Jeez. What do they teach at Maryland?

Summer is here and there's never been a better time to try your hand at online sports betting. Place your bets on your favorite horse with horse racing or even try your luck with your favorite football team. Enjoying sport is just a click away!