One of the strangest parts of Eric Wedge getting hired in Seattle was the reunion between the mustachioed grinder and the volatile outfielder, Milton Bradley. Bradley and Wedge’s history began in Cleveland in 2003 and spring training 2004. After a reported altercation during that spring, Bradley was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Franklin Gutierrez and Andrew Brown.
The major problems that Eric Wedge and Bradley had were over things like running out fly balls. You will remember that Eric Wedge was like a little league coach – not that he was wrong – in that regard. Bradley was also reportedly seen wearing a t-shirt that said “<blank> Eric Wedge.” So, yeah. He was traded.
Another strange subtext that was unsubstantiated, but heavily whispered about, was whether there were some flags on Wedge’s rep with regard to African-American players. Even with a number one starter named C.C. Sabathia on the roster, the trades of Brandon Phillips and Milton Bradley labeled Eric Wedge with a scarlet letter “R” in some fans’ minds.
Apparently, everything is just fine now in Seattle. Upon Wedge’s hiring, Bradley said that he was over what happened in 2004.
“Whatever took place was six or seven years ago and I’m over it. (Wedge) was a disciplinarian and I felt our team lacked discipline last year. Hopefully, he instills some of that.”
Wedge, it seems, has also gotten a little more laid back in his handling of a volatile personality like Bradley. Upon Bradley getting tossed from a Spring game this week, Wedge didn’t make a big deal about it.
“(Bradley) said one too many things and it was a short night for him… It is still the spring and you’ve got a lot of young umpires out here. I think he felt like he took about as much as he could take and it was time to take it to another level.”
I guess people can change. Well, except maybe the notoriously hot-headed Bradley who finds himself tossed from a game for losing his temper.