UPDATE: Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu tells Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times that Milton Bradley will have to learn how to deal with distractions:
“It’s tough,” Wakamatsu said. “There have been players in the past who’ve had to deal with it. I played with Barry Bonds and Barry Bonds was as good as anybody in the game at dealing with that. It’s about the club. It’s not about things that aren’t about pertaining to baseball. And that’s what we’re going to try to focus on.”
11:58 AM: With a middle finger, of course. Milton Bradley flipped the bird to fans in Arlington during the fourth inning of Friday’s 6-2 loss to the Rangers. Lookout Landing has the uncensored photo, if you think you can handle it.
Bradley was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts on Friday. He struck out swinging in the top of the fourth, so it’s safe to say he was probably being heckled by the crowd. If you are surprised by this incident, you were probably also shocked to see the sun rise this morning.
By the way, Bradley is 1-for-17 (.059) with seven strikeouts to begin his tenure with Seattle. He’s probably not a very happy guy right now. But again, I’m not sure he ever is.
As you get ready for Memorial Day weekend and whatever it entails for you and yours, take some time to read an excellent article from Mike Bates over at The Hardball Times.
The article is about Eddie Grant. You probably never heard of him. He was a journeyman infielder — often a backup — from 1905 through 1915. If you have heard of him, it was likely not for his baseball exploits, however: it was because he was the first active baseball player to die in combat, killed in the Battle of the Argonne Forest in October 1915.
Michael tells us about more than Grant’s death, however. He provides a great overview of his life and career. And notes that Grant didn’t even have to go to war if he didn’t want to. He was 34, had the chance to coach or manage and had a law degree and the potential to make a lot of money following his baseball career. He volunteered, however, for both patriotic and personal reasons. And it cost him his life.
Must-read stuff indeed. Especially this weekend.
The Cleveland Indians will unveil a Frank Robinson statue at Progressive Field on Saturday.
Robinson’s tenure in Cleveland was not long, but it was historic. On April 8, 1975, he became the first African-American manager in Major League history. He was a player-manager. One of the last ones, in fact. He spent two years in that role and then a third year — a partial year anyway — as a manager only. Robinson would go on to manage the Giants, Orioles and the Expos/Nationals, compiling a career record of 1065-1176 in 16 seasons. He is now a top MLB executive.
Robinson was, of course, a Hall of Fame player as well, lodging 21 seasons for the Reds, Orioles, Dodgers, Angels and Indians. He won two MVP awards and hit for the Triple Crown in 1966. Overall he hit 586 home runs – 10th all time – and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982. For an inner-circle Hall of Famer with that kind of resume he is still, strangely enough, underrated. I guess that happens when your contemporaries are Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Mickey Mantle.
Anyway, congrats to Frank Robinson for yet another well-deserved honor in a career full of them.