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Hot Stone League

Larry Stone gives his take on a wide array of baseball issues and weighs in about the Mariners, too.

October 14, 2011 at 12:54 PM

The sad Milton Bradley saga gets worse

bradleystretch.jpg

(Photo by Associated Press)

I’m not one to use the celebrity website TMZ as a source very often, but they do an amazing job of acquiring incendiary legal documents involving celebrities — including well-known sports figures. And so it is to TMZ I turn for the chilling details of the request for a restraining order by Monique Bradley, wife of former Mariners outfielder Milton Bradley.

Bradley’s issues have been well-chronicled, including his most recent arrest on suspicion of felony battery in late September. But the claims by Monique Bradley are absolutely frightening, starting with the allegation that during the argument at their Los Angeles home on Sept. 27, Bradley picked up a photo of a gun and told Monique, “This is the gun that I’m going to kill you with.”

When the Mariners released Bradley on May 16, it was pretty apparent that his baseball career was over at age 33. He hadn’t been a productive hitter since 2008 — in 101 games with the Mariners in 2010 and 2011, Bradley hit .209 — and the myriad of issues surrounding him made it virtually certain that no one was going to give him one more chance. And I wasn’t the only one who wondered how Bradley would cope with being out of the game and thrust back into “normal” life. I think we’re starting to get an idea, and it’s not pretty. I’ll let you read the gory details yourself, but one paragraph resonated:

In the docs, filed in L.A. County Superior Court, Monique claims Bradley has been “emotionally and physically abusive” throughout their marriage … but she would often take him back because “I genuinely believed that one day I could fix him.”

In retrospect, that was sort of the story of Bradley’s whole career. Obviously, this is taking it to another level, and vastly more serious than anything that happened in the baseball realm; but teams kept bringing back Bradley, despite his myriad issues, because they thought they could fix him. And, of course, because he had a world of baseball ability that he would flash often enough to entice teams to believe there was an All-Star lurking in there (and Bradley did, indeed, make the All-Star team in 2008 with the Rangers). He’d also flash enough charm and genuine remorse for his off-field troubles to convince teams that with enough tender loving care, he would not be a problem.

And yet controversy kept following Bradley from team to team. Now that he’s out of baseball, it has escalated to new extremes. I sincerely hope that he can control his demons, but right now it’s not looking good at all.

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