Things could be going better for new Mariners outfielder Milton Bradley, who was ejected for a second time in three days Friday night after exchanging words with home plate umpire Jon Merry following a questionable called third strike.
Seattle manager Don Wakamatsu immediately came to the defense of his outfielder, and seems to think umpires are targeting Bradley specifically. Here’s what he told the Seattle Times’ Geoff Baker after Friday’s 2-6 Cactus League loss to the Reds:
“To me, it’s almost like a witch hunt,” said Wak. “I mean, it’s almost embarrassing to me when egos get involved to the point where they don’t
even give a guy a chance. … Again, I think it’s pretty blatant that some guys have it out for him.”
The conspiracy talk may be overdoing it, but it’s pretty evident that Bradley’s reputation is going to leave him with little leeway in arguments no matter the jersey he is wearing. He needs to be careful this season, because we’re sure Wakamatsu and the rest of the Mariners’ management team will quickly tire of defending his actions. Bradley, 31, batted .257/.378/.397 last season for the Cubs. He’s just one year removed from a career-best .321/.436/.563 batting line.
It’s always a bit deceiving to see offseason workout photos of players who are said to be getting into great shape because guys in those pics are wearing compression shirts and crap and we’re used to seeing them in baseball uniforms. I remember pics of Miguel Cabrera and David Ortiz in the offseason looking svelte, only to see them in uniform come spring as their familiar beefy selves. Uniforms are often loose and billowy and the players wear a couple of layers when they’re suited up, so at least visually speaking it’s better to compare apples to apples.