On the morning after teammate Milton Bradley unleashed a public tirade against him – albeit without using his name – Dodgers second baseman Jeff Kent told his side of an incident that took place between the two after Saturday night’s win over Florida.
Kent was anything but repentant.
“Most of what happened stays in the clubhouse, but I will respond (to Bradley’s comments),” Kent said. “I’m one of the veteran players on this team, probably the only veteran. When things happen, something needs to be said. I’m not one to hold back. How other players respond to that is something I can’t control.”
The incident reportedly took place in the clubhouse immediately after the game, when Kent confronted Bradley after Bradley failed to score from first base on Kent’s seventh-inning double, a hit that scored Hee-Seop Choi from second to tie the score. Bradley eventually did score on a bases-loaded walk by Jayson Werth, putting the Dodgers ahead to stay.
Bradley apparently took exception to what Kent said, and what one source described as an “ugly” confrontation ensued. That led to an impromptu, closed-door meeting involving the entire team, but neither Kent nor manager Jim Tracy would say who called it.
More on the indicident from MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick.
Kent said “clubhouse etiquette” prevented him from revealing all that was said in the 20-minute meeting, but he offered no apologies and, rather, insisted he was carrying on a baseball tradition.
Said Kent, “I expect ballplayers on any team to be on the same page, and if they’re not on the same page and not playing the game for the right reasons, that’s where a veteran player needs to step in and make a statement and make the adjustment to motivate and to drive and to push. If you don’t have that player, then you’ve got guys shooting from the hip and not playing for a championship.”
Kent, who generally keeps to himself in the clubhouse, said incidents like the one on Saturday night “happen all the time — veteran players policing the clubhouse, although I hate to say it that way.”
The Dodgers don’t know how lucky they are to have a sure-thing Hall Of Fame second baseman who is clearly unconcerned about whether or not he collects another RBI. We’ve already seen Lt. Dangle give Hee-Seop Choi a very public dressing down this season, and perhaps LA would be well advised to consider the Bad Lieutenant as a player-manager for next season?