The 5% Nation of Milton Bradley
I was there the night Milton Bradley went board-game on Bruce Froemming. Let’s set the stage, shall we? Top of the eighth, Tribe trails Oakland 4-2. Jody Gerut hits a one-out double off Mark Mulder to bring up Bradley. Milton works the count to 3 and 1, at which point Mulder throws a fastball above the letters that Froemming calls a strike. Two observations about what occurred next:
- Bradley was right. My seats were right behind home plate and I can say with some degree of certainty that the pitch to Bradley was high. Bradley, visibly steamed about the call, watched a third strike sail past him with disgust. Some (such as BP’s Joe Sheehan) have reported that Bradley was upset about the third strike, but it was the second strike which was the more questionable of the two. Plus, Bradley clearly raised his arm across his chest after being called out to indicate that it was the second pitch which raised his ire. None of which excuses Bradley’s ensuing tantrum, unless of course …
- Froemming deserved it. Bradley has a well-earned reputation for volatility, one that he did nothing to dispel on this occasion. But as mad as he was, Milton was returning to the dugout after saying his piece to Froemming. He had not yet been ejected and it looked as if cooler heads, like that of third-base coach Joel Skinner, may prevail. But Froemming wanted none of that – he continued to glower at Bradley as he was escorted off the field, holding up the game and escalating the tension. And then something lit Milton’s fuse. He tossed his bat then his helmet toward home plate. Froemming ejected him and Bradley nearly jumped out of his jersey trying to get at Froemming. I was not near enough to hear what was said between the two men, but it wouldn’t be the first time that Froemming has shot his mouth off. We should expect better from a 33-year veteran umpire.