Following up on a story from January, the Associated Press reports that that former major league outfielder Milton Bradley was convicted today of abusing and threatening his estranged wife.
A spokesman for the Los Angeles city attorney’s office says Bradley was convicted Monday of nine misdemeanor counts, including assault with a deadly weapon and spousal battery. He faces up to 7 1/2 years in jail at his sentencing scheduled for July 2.
Prosecutors say Bradley threatened and attacked his wife five times in 2011 and 2012.
Authorities say Bradley pushed his wife against a wall and choked her after she asked him to stop smoking marijuana in front of their two children and wanted his friends to leave their home.
You can read more details in this story from Andrew Blankstein and Robert J. Lopez at the Los Angeles Times. Bradley wore out his welcome in baseball a couple of years ago, mostly due to his anger issues, but this is terrifying and depressing all at the same time.
On Monday, Baseball America reported that MLB is prepared to expand to Portland and Montreal. We talked about that at length yesterday. One of the most common responses to that piece has been “Portland? Really?”
There’s good reason for that response. Baseball-to-Portland has been talked about for years, but there has never been any real traction. Past initiatives have failed, significant public funding for a stadium seems to be a political impossibility and, heck, Portland wasn’t even interested in keeping its Triple-A team, turning its stadium into a much more successful soccer venue and not missing the Beavers all that much.
It would seem, however, that the reports are not mere speculation and there is a genuine baseball-to-Portland initiative afoot once again. From the Oregonian:
On Tuesday, former Trail Blazers broadcaster Mike Barrett confirmed to The Oregonian/OregonLive that he is part of the Portland group.
“I am officially involved with a campaign to bring Major League Baseball and a stadium development to Portland,” Barrett said. “There is also a formally organized, sophisticated and seasoned management group running this initiative. We will keep you fully apprised of any/all developments as this project progresses.”
One guy — a broadcaster no less — saying he’s part of a group is not exactly a major needle-mover, of course. But it does contrast with past Portland initiatives that have been well-publicized grassroots affairs. While those may have been more broad-based and while their public nature may have provided some refreshing transparency, the simple fact of professional sports ownership in the 21st century is that well-monied groups who play things close to the vest are more likely to make waves. We’re in an age when technocratic hedge fund-type guys make things happen in this arena, not in an age when flamboyant public personalities do.
None of which is to say that baseball in Portland is a lock or that expansion anywhere is a short term proposition. It’s just to note that, yeah, there is a bit more going on, it seems, than just pointing at a map and saying “yeah, a team would make sense here.”