Just got done with the Milton Bradley conference call and he sounded very much like a guy tired of answering questions about the multiple incidents in his wake. Can’t say I blame him, but those incidents are, after all, the reason the Chicago Cubs just traded him here for Carlos Silva and cash.
“I just look forward to playing baseball again in a positive environment with a good group of guys,” Bradley said.
One interesting thing he discussed was how he’s looking forward to teaming up with Ken Griffey Jr.
“Some of the things that happen to you in your life as a baseball player are kind of surreal to you and getting to play with Ken Griffey Jr. is one of them,” Bradley told me when I asked him how much interraction they’d had over the years. “There’s only two guys that I wanted an autograph from in my life and that’s Ken Griffey Jr. and Barry Bonds. I got to meet both of them and get their autograph and spend some time (with them). So, it’s been surreal and just an absolute blast for me.
“I made my first error as a Montreal Expo on a ball Griffey hit to me at Olympic Stadium back in the day. Him and Barry Larkin really razzed me about it the next day because it hit me in my back pocket. So, Barry Larkin was walking around with a glove sticking out of his back pocket. They were making fun of me. I remember all that stuff as a rookie. I’ve never been so glad to be made fun of.”
That’s a big deal, I’d say, when it comes to how Bradley is going to fit in here. Griffey rules the clubhouse and having Bradley as a fan could be a positive step in getting him to leave the off-field stuff behind and do his talking on the field.
Photo Credit: AP
“I’m just looking forward to it,” he said. “He’s had an outstanding Hall of Fame, illustrious career. He’s always conducted himself in a professional manner and represented the game well. And hopefully, those characteristics and qualities can rub off on me.”
Another thing I asked Bradley was how he viewed himself as a teammate and a ballplayer, given the negative image that’s come out about him in his various major league stops.
“I’m going to observe first before really speaking out and opening up at something until I really get to know people,” he said. “I’m honest and loyal and really like to win. I’m pretty simple, really, if you just treat me like a man.”
This is going to be interesting. I can remember that first spring training I covered for this team back in 2007 when I was the first reporter in the room to walk up and speak to Jose Guillen. Didn’t know what to expect, in all honesty. Thought he might try to rip my head off for invading his locker space. Turned out he was a real friendly guy and we had a very positive relationship that year and ever since. I still think the clubhouse lost an awful lot when he left as a free agent.
Bradley was asked whether he’s been fairly characterized by the media. In his answer, he made what I feel is an obvious reference to the Tiger Woods situation. But you be the judge.
“There’s no way that you can really be portrayed or represented,” he said. “It’s like everything in sports and being a celebrity and whatnot is in reputation and what dirt you can dish, and what you can get on someone or what someone’s looking like. I think, the last couple of weeks, it’s become apparent that people aren’t the people that they’re necessarily portayed to be because of the media.
“So, I’m glad that I’ve moved around in a sense, that I’ve been able to create relationships and really get to meet people and get to know people well to make a lasting impression.”
By the way, had a conversation with Ryan Langerhans earlier today and he told me his deal with the Mariners was all but done early this week. Langerhans had been at the ranch of Chipper Jones since Sunday and only got into decent cellphone range earlier today. He said the Mariners told his agent last Monday that they were interested in bringing him back and when Langerhans found out it was a major league deal, the contract was sewn up.
“The big thing for me is that they were offering a roster spot,” he said.,
The contract has some incentive clauses, which lends the impression Langerhans will have to win his playing time this spring.
“I think the big thing is to come in there and compete,” he said. “Whether it’s as a left fielder, or a fourth outfielder, I just want to come in and compete.”
Langerhans had just heard about the Bradley acquisition and admits he doesn’t know how it will impact him. The two were teammates in Oakland — for two days.
“I didn’t really get to know him,” he said with a laugh.