08.28.07

Jenkins : In Praise of Milton Bradley

Posted in Baseball at 8:15 pm by

The SF Chronicle’s Bruce Jenkins raises the bizarre spectre of Barry Bonds As David Brent (“the Giants continue to make excuses for Bonds, a veritable domineering boss who gets too drunk at the office party. They overlook every disgraceful move and bow to the shrine of his home runs. That has to end. His teammates aren’t going for it, and neither is any fan who ever seriously played the game.”), while offering a rare tribute to player typically described (around here, anyway) as a ticking time-bomb.

Stodgy football coaches like to say three things can happen when you put the ball in the air, and two of ‘em are bad. That’s how it is when you take a gamble on Milton Bradley: He can get in a perpetual foul mood, eventually self-destructing. He can get injured — a lot. Or he can lift your team to great heights, which is exactly what he’s doing in San Diego right now. Not that the A’s have any regrets; it’s too late for that. Bradley hates Billy Beane, and I’d imagine the feeling is mutual, so there’s no way that relationship was going to last a moment longer than it did. But Bradley was a force with the Dodgers, he was by far the A’s best player during last year’s ALCS against Detroit (his final-game performance was the stuff of greatness), and he has singlehandedly revived the Padres — in their run production and in their spirit. They’ve won five out of six as this is written (Sunday), and his power hitting has resurrected a lineup believed to be deceased. We all know there isn’t much value in a long-term association with Bradley. His history strongly suggests otherwise. But the Padres have a four-game lead in the wild-card standings right now, and if Bradley and pitcher Chris Young (back issues) stay healthy, they’ll be right back in the playoffs.

If nothing else, White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski and hitting coach Greg Walker have now firmly established that Boston’s Manny Declarmen throws a cut fastball.

While the ‘Lil Wilpons are gunning for a doubleheader sweep against Hudson Valley this evening, Tri-City’s Carlos Ladeuth has a no-hitter thru 7 innings against Vermont. This comes one night after teammate Thomas Vessela took a no-no into the 7th against Aberdeen.

While the Florida State League hosted rehab stints by Pedro Martinez and Mark Mulder last night, high Class-A’s classiest performance Monday came from Phillies prospect Andrew Carpenter, who tossed a 7 inning perfect game in Clearwater’s 2-0 win over Fort Myers. Carpenter’s bid was nearly broken up by Ron Gardenhire’s son, Toby, who nearly ended up with a bloop single in the 6th inning.

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