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About Jon
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1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
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3) baiting other commenters
4) arguing for the sake of arguing
5) discussing politics
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The Preschool End-Around
2005-12-13 22:48
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

Some friends of ours ... their daughter was expelled from preschool last month. That's right - expelled from preschool. That was a new one on me, and the circumstances were even more reprehensible than I could have imagined. Their daughter made an innocent comment, a truthful comment but one that she, at age 4, could not disguise with guile. It was not racist or politically incorrect. It was a kid making a comment about life, and loss.

The comment compounded a personality conflict between our friends and the other preschool parents, a personality conflict that amounted to "these people are getting on my nerves." So the other parents met with the preschool administrators, without inviting our friends, and requested that the family be removed from the school. Their wish was granted.

The girl's mother brought the girl to school in the morning, and the preschool teacher came out and met them - didn't pull our friend aside, but did this right in front of the child - and stated that they could not enter the premises. It was insane - with the precious twist being that the moment it happened, our friends lost any desire to keep their daughter at the school. Any school run in that fashion was not worth learning from - kind of the opposite of the Groucho Marx rule.

"It was clear there was no way to make this thing work," said Colletti, who spoke to Bradley for the first time on Tuesday when informing him of the trade.

Dodger general manager Ned Colletti decided the Milton Bradley cause in Los Angeles was hopeless without even talking to him, as this quote from Ken Gurnick's MLB.com article indicates. The contradiction is stark. Was it that the mercurial Bradley couldn't be spoken to? That Colletti left messages and Bradley wasn't returning?

No. In the Times, Tim Brown writes that Colletti "tried everything — short of contacting Bradley."

As far as I'm concerned, that means Colletti tried nothing.

"Colletti said he spoke to players on the roster," Brown writes, "but not directly to Kent, and those around the organization, including owner Frank McCourt, and concluded that Bradley would no longer be accepted among them."

That's not an attempt at reconcilation. That's a witchhunt. And even if were to be revealed that Bradley really was, in the end, a witch, I'm not at all impressed. The Dodgers and Colletti pulled the preschool end-around on Bradley.

No, baseball isn't a court of law, and if enough people don't want someone around - including, say, the team owner - that's not insignificant. And if you decide Bradley's health puts him at risk of not being worth a contract of $3 million or so, if you're just not interested in having him around regardless of his personality, that's not insignificant.

But as long as he's on your team, how can you not talk to him?

"No glimmer of hope," Gurnick quotes Colletti as saying. "The more information I received, the more it became clear it was irreconcilable. In the conversations I had, it was so definitively strong that in his case, his interest was in moving on.

Did Colletti determine what Bradley's preference was, what was in Bradley's best interest, by osmosis?

I want to take one final look at the Milton Bradley rap sheet as a Dodger:

1) Suspended after tearing off his uniform and throwing baseballs on the field in anger after an ejection.

2) Angrily threw a plastic bottle at the feet of some fans after the bottle was thrown at him by other fans.

3) Sparred with Times reporter Jason Reid, calling him an "Uncle Tom."

4) Took umbrage with Jeff Kent questioning his hustle, then aired out his grievances in the press against the express wishes of his team.

5) Drew police investigations into allegations of domestic abuse.

Let me just say I've seen managers commit the most theatrical versions of 1), that I've seen Dodgers go en masse into the stands in a manner even more destructive than 2), that many a ballplayer has had interactions with reporters worse than 3), and as for 4), well, even Odalis Perez is still in Los Angeles today.

And 5) was rendered irrelevant by the lack of charges being filed and the signing of Rafael Furcal.

The combination isn't pretty, and I can understand the rationale to exchange Bradley for a less volatile, and promising, ballplayer. The Dodgers didn't release Bradley. They traded him. They may lose the trade - as Mark Whicker writes in the Register, "One day Milton Bradley will make someone look bad, besides himself" - but it's an open question. At least Andre Ethier looks more promising to me than Henri Stanley.

But Colletti didn't talk to Bradley? In a year in which communication between Dodger management and subordinates has been questioned time and again, Colletti didn't even have a conversation with him? Dusty Baker flew in from Chicago and talked to Bradley, but Colletti, the people's GM, couldn't make the drive down the 710?

It'd be nice to know why. Bradley's sins were not so grim that he did not deserve a conversation.

If Paul LoDuca was the heart and soul of the Dodgers, Milton Bradley was the piss and vinegar. (Which is to say, neither was completely so.) Still, their Dodger careers were very different, and their departures were very different, and yet they have the common ground of how conflicted they leave me feeling.

Comments (135)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2005-12-13 23:27:28
1.   coachjpark
Milton Bradley AND Antonio Perez for a prospect??? If Hee Seop Choi gets traded to Oakland, J.T. Snow signs with the Dodgers and other such maneuvers are made, I don't see how it's possible for me to root for the Dodgers this year... this might be the year for Oakland..
2005-12-13 23:31:47
2.   scarface
Expect Ned to release more dumb-founding quotes like that. Didn't he recently say he was unreachable on his cell-phone for several days 'cos it was owned by the Giants, right when the Stove was piping Hot? Dude, you're the GM of the Dodgers!

You can only hope that this comments are a front, and not reflective of the man's actual thinking. I say "you", because I'm a fan of both Bay Area teams, and am cackling in evil anticipation of the Ned Colletti era ;) Even as the enemy, I gotta say your blog (and several commenters) are unbelievably good. And prolific.

2005-12-13 23:33:30
3.   Jon Weisman
2 - That's kind of you, thanks.
2005-12-13 23:35:45
4.   scarface
Also, I hope there's a happy ending to that story about your friends' daughter's pre-school. Hope they had no trouble finding another decent school.
2005-12-13 23:37:03
5.   capdodger
2 I'd personally like to trade Mr. Ned back to San Francisco for a pallet of Rice-A-Roni. It would probably run the team better.
2005-12-13 23:37:32
6.   Suffering Bruin
And now, for a different viewpoint...

Being a relatively new teacher, I can relate to some of my colleagues who say, "If I could only get rid of this one kid, things would be great." There always seems to be just one kid standing in the way of a great classroom environment. Now, as a teacher, I don't buy into this. I think that 99% of the students want to behave well and want to learn. And, in my first year, I can honestly say that I'm failing 50% of the time. But I digress...

A classroom is not a baseball team. The anecdotal evidence seems to suggest that his teammates were sick of Milton Bradley. There is so much that happens on a professional team that the average fan doesn't know about. I remember when the Lakers in 1980 had Spencer Haywood. He was relegated to the bench for increasingly bizarre behavior, becamse a fan favorite and then was released from the team with a 1/4 playoff share. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said it was more than he deserved. I don't think Bradley was as bad as the drug-addicted Haywood but I don't think anybody on the Dodgers is sorry to see him leave.

I liked Milton Bradley as a player. I have no proof that he was a lousy teammate but I think Colletti talked to Dodger players and others associated with the team and found out plenty to run Bradley out of town.

By the by, what happened to Jon's friends at the pre-school is outrageous. They're lucky to be leaving but I feel for the kids who remain.

2005-12-13 23:38:31
7.   Bob Timmermann
In the words of the character called "Ned Flanders Mom" in "Hurricane Neddy":

"Yeah. You gotta help us, Doc. We've tried nothin' and we're all out of ideas."

Such was Colletti's approach to Bradley.

2005-12-13 23:41:53
8.   Jon Weisman
6 - Like I said, even with a conversation with Bradley, you could easily decide that enough is enough. But I still think you have the conversation. Especially if you're a new teacher.
2005-12-13 23:45:04
9.   dzzrtRatt
At the bottom of the last entry, I envisioned a scenario explaining why Mr. Ned would avoid talking to Bradley. My clue was his stated desire to avoid "he said/he said." Colletti might have wanted to know under what circumstances a critical mass of the Dodger players would accept Milton's return--not including Kent. You call it a witchhunt, but Colletti's words suggest it was more like a lobbying effort--an unsuccessful one. If Colletti could've gone to McCourt with support from 10-12 Dodger players (coaches, assistant GMs, etc., too) saying they'd welcome Bradley back with open arms, he might've been able to convince McCourt to change his mind. But he couldn't find that support, so there was nothing he could do but say "yes sir" to the boss.

Under that scenario, there isn't a point in talking to Bradley. What's he going to say? "I promise to be good?" "I'm still in anger management?" "I ironed things out with Jeff Kent?" Clearly that hadn't happened. It looks bad that Colletti didn't talk to him. But a conversation would not have changed anything.

2005-12-13 23:46:12
10.   Bob Timmermann
How can a 4-year old, unless he or she has some severe psychiatric condition, be that hard to deal with? They're FOUR years old!

Fortunately, I was not booted out of the preschool at the Granada Hills Recreation Center back in 1970 by Mrs. Burris or else my entire life could have come a cropper.

2005-12-13 23:46:33
11.   capdodger
6 I second SB's concern for the other children at that preschool. It sounds as if it's a breeding ground for "helicopter parent"-ism.
2005-12-13 23:50:39
12.   Andrew Shimmin
Is there any reason, particularly, to believe that everybody Mr. Ned talked to wanted Bradley gone? It makes criticism about the deal he made more difficult, so he's got an interest in that being the story. But it doesn't seem instinctively likely. I can see nobody throwing his own body in front of that train, but I don't see where most of the team would actively want him gone. I guess we know that Mr. Ned won't have the problem DePo did about failing to lay out the case against the players he was trading.
2005-12-13 23:51:15
13.   Kevin Maxwell
It seemed to me like Bradley's departure was an automatic when a)Tracey left - Bradley said that Tracey was like a father to him. I think Tracey showed a tolerant forgiving attitude toward Bradley. That trust and effort helped to keep Bradley on a semi-level plane. b) Ned said he talked to Kent before taking the Dodger job. That to me shows a respect for Kent's take on the team, which by extension, would include Bradley as well. Didn't Kent say publicly that he didn't want to be on a team with Bradley? or was that just some rumor I picked up on as fact.

I guess what I am saying is that Ned didn't need to contact Bradley. He only needed to find out what the best perceived value he could get in return for Bradley. I don't think any discussion with the player was ever intended. The relationship between Bradley was deemed irreparable by Kent, so no other conversations were needed.

2005-12-13 23:57:35
14.   Andrew Shimmin
And I guess those of us who made fun of whoever the guy was (the one who suggested that a player's being traded meant the organization had given up on him) will get to rue the episode. If the Dodgers trade you, you've been given up on.
2005-12-13 23:58:29
15.   Suffering Bruin
Teacher, yes. GM? I don't think so... but I don't know enough. As a new teacher, the student always gets a second chance (and third, fourth, fifth...)

I would be less than shocked if several Dodger players confided to Colletti that Bradley had to go. Colletti doesn't want to say that to the press because it's calling publicity to the players who talked to him and it also makes him look weak.

Bradley became the Dodger's version of Terrell Owens: less obnoxious to be sure but a teammate who was more trouble than he was worth. I'll bet a box of Stan's doughnuts not one Dodger comes out and says, "This is wrong. We're going to miss Milton Bradley."

And this will be the last time I put money on anything Ned Colletti does.

2005-12-13 23:59:18
16.   Robert Fiore
I've been meaning to take issue for a while with the notion that DUI is morally equivalent to spousal battery. DUI is a reckless act, and creates the potential for injury, not injury itself. (If a ballplayer seriously injured someone while driving drunk I would think his career would be over.) The player with a propensity for drinking could ultimately hire someone to drive him around. Spousal abuse is an act of cruelty, and of a stronger person attacking a weaker one. It reflects on character in a much uglier way than mere recklessness. I'm not saying that Bradley is guilty of spousal abuse, and I realize that Furcal actually has been guilty of DUI, but I do want to point out that they're not equivalent. Physical damage is not the only criterion. And the fact that no charges were brought doesn't necessarily mean nothing happened.

I notice that Jon's argument in favor of Bradley seems to hinge on giving Bradley the benefit of every doubt, and taking the most liberal possible view of everything he's done. It has some of the earmarks of a battered wife trying to rationalize a bad marriage. Notable for its absence is any consideration of how this psychodrama affects the team. If the pertinent issue is not how Bradley feels about his teammates but how his teammates feel about Bradley, then Bradley doesn't need to be consulted.

2005-12-14 00:00:12
17.   Strike4
Given the frequency of Bradley's public outbursts, it's easy to imagine a ton of other conflicts and embarrassments inside the clubhouse. So, the list of five may really be a list of fifty or whatever. If Colletti was polling whether important Dodger people could continue to work effectively with Bradley and their answer was convincingly no, then what's the point of asking Bradley's opinion. It wouldn't and shouldn't affect the g.m.'s decision, and might lead to more public agita for the Dodgers. It made sense to move him now and get it over with.
2005-12-14 00:06:21
18.   rageon
Wonderful post Jon. The line about Ned not talking to Bradley until the trade was something I had noticed and thought was pretty pathetic on the GM's part. Your paragraph concerning the communication among the Dodgers over the past year pretty much says it all.

Is it just me, or does the old secondbasement with 1 year left on his contract have way too much power on the team right now? There are very few players who I'd say desearve to be consulted on personel decisions, and Kent's not one of them.

I've never heard of someone getting kicked out of a preschool, but when I was 4, my family was forced to switch churches because the former church refused to allow me into Sunday school any more. And yes, it reminds me of the Simpsons where Bart tried to impress Lovejoy's daughter by going to church.

How did it get to be 2am so fast? Oh that's right, I made the mistake of starting to watch the second season of 24 for the first time. Seriously, that show is like crack. It's a good thing the DVD's only have 4 episodes.

2005-12-14 00:07:52
19.   Improbable88
great stuff...just great. spot on.
2005-12-14 00:11:09
20.   Andrew Shimmin
15- The first appearence of everybody wanted Bradley gone is in the Plaschke crapfest, today: "It was around this time [just before the 'Kent is a racist' flap] that two Dodger veterans met in McCourt's office to complain about Bradley"

There were two Dodger veterans on the team last year? Odalis and Izzy? Gagne? Whatever. I'll believe it when I hear it from the horses' mouths. Until then it's just McCourt saying, "I had no choice; this was the best deal available!"

2005-12-14 00:11:54
21.   Robert Daeley
This was in absolutely no way a witch-hunt. If anything, I'll bet it was a mandate -- get rid of Bradley -- one of the todo items given to Colletti when he was hired.

You tried to dismiss Milton's five transgressions, but you've sort of disproven your own point -- you had to list five or more other people's problems or actions to equal Milton's.

I'm going to miss Milton's passion. I'm not going to miss his melodrama and egocentrism.

2005-12-14 00:13:13
22.   coachjpark
I'm a senior economics teacher. A student spit in my classroom after I caught him cheating on a quiz. I suspended him from my class for two days. After thinking about trading this individual for a junior US history students and a promising sophomore AP European history student, I just could not pull the trigger on the deal....
2005-12-14 00:15:40
23.   Kevin Maxwell
18
24 in our house must resemble what household living rooms were like back in the days of radio. The anticipation...the event...light the pipe. Today bought my son the S4/DVD set as one of his Christmas presents.
2005-12-14 00:16:07
24.   rageon
16 I respectfully disagree. If think DUI is a crim that is drastically overlooked and underappreciated for its seriousness. Why is it only considered a serious crime when a person gets hurt? If I decided to fire a gun into a park once a day hoping that I never actually hit anyone, I think people would universally say that I did something dangerous and needed to be put in jail. And that's essentially what a DUI is, and society seems to think it's no big deal. I won't get into spousal abuve vs. DUI on the seriousness scale, but I believe they are both terrible things. But keep this in mind, Bradley was never even charged. Furcal was convicted, twice.

There's no excuse that a guy making millions a year can't afford to hire a cab when he drinks.

Or maybe I'm just uppity today because I screwed up some info today that indirectly helped someone get their DUI charge dismissed.

2005-12-14 00:18:54
25.   rageon
23 I saw my first episode about a month ago and was hooked immediately. Now I'm rushing to see them all before the new season starts.
2005-12-14 00:19:52
26.   natepurcell
everyone keeps forgetting how much this helps our AAA club.

PCL champs 2006 baby!!!

2005-12-14 00:24:41
27.   Kevin Maxwell
My oldest boy expelled from his preschool when he was 3. It seems that he corralled all of the toys and balls into one of the empty playpens. Then he held the fort by intimidation and force from all comers. Thank god they didn't feel it necessary to involve the ATF....
2005-12-14 00:28:40
28.   natepurcell
http://mlb.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/mlb/draftday/search.jsp?sc=team&sp=oak

if you go there, there is a link to ethiers scouting video.

just a little glimpse of him.

2005-12-14 00:30:03
29.   Kevin Maxwell
25 The hardest part about having my sons S4/DVD gift is that it has the prequel to Season 5 on it.
The prequel for season 4 that was on S3/DVD was sooo cool. http://www.fox.com/24/
2005-12-14 00:37:30
30.   alex 7
Here's what I find odd. Bradley was traded for 2007 help. If Ned is working with 2007 in mind, which seems to be the case, why not trade the guy who will be gone by then (Kent) yet can fetch you much more in return?

So yes, either McCourt ordered it or there really was a dislike for Bradley throughout the clubhouse. The former seems much more plausible.

2005-12-14 00:38:10
31.   trainwreck
I happen to think there is a level of bs with the whole Bradley situation. I think Ned interviewed people but from the beginning of the Kent fiasco, McCourt wanted him gone and Ned had to get rid of Bradley through trade or non tendering him. I really wish Bradley success (even if he was not goin to my other team, the A's) and I know his hard play attitude will fit in with the A's.
2005-12-14 00:38:11
32.   dzzrtRatt
It's five public transgressions. We don't know what stayed in the clubhouse. Maybe nothing. But the lack of a clamor defending Bradley from the Dodgers must've been meaningful.

Bradley even admits in the Times that he's tough to be around unless the team's winning. Well, Milt, only one team wins the World Series. Only eight make the playoffs. By definition, half the teams are likely to be under .500. This is part of being an athlete. Ask Andre Dawson. Don Mattingly. Nolan Ryan. Steve Carlton. Jeff Bagwell. Mike Piazza. Ernie Banks. They had to put up with a lot of losing. Even Henry Aaron and Willie Mays--combined I think they appeared in the postseason only seven times. Not everyone's lucky enough to be Derek Jeter--a great player on a great team. Sometimes, you're Mike Sweeney, or Ken Griffey, Jr., or Tony Gwynn.

2005-12-14 00:38:45
33.   Andrew Shimmin
I was kicked out of after-Kindergarten day care. I was on the slide and the kid in front of me refused to go down the slide. He just sat there, taunting me, with his big, stupid face. So I choked him a little tiny bit, and the teenagers running the program sent me to the corner till my mom came. I was not welcome back. I regret nothing. This is not to be compared to Jon's story, since I really did deserve to be tossed (I'd have done it again in a heartbeat).
2005-12-14 00:47:18
34.   Steelyeri
Wonderful piece, Jon. This is one's an instant classic. I really enjoyed reading it.

Somehow, it made me feel better knowing that I'm not the only one thinking the situation was handled poorly.

2005-12-14 00:51:57
35.   Steelyeri
33- (lol)

Did you get traded for a youger kid with better character?

2005-12-14 00:53:16
36.   Andrew Shimmin
32- You're right, we only know about the five things that became public. But it's mighty suspicious that we're being fed a bunch of new stuff, unattributed, the day he gets dumped. Dumped for a player who isn't likely to be as good as Bradley will be this year.

And, it looks like the leaking stuff to the Times strategy panned out. Damned if the Times isn't carrying the McCourts' water today. The whole thing really seems to have worked out well for them. McCourt's problem was naivete, trusting that dastardly laptop-ed anti-chemist. Bradley is the irredeemable villain. If he wrote the story, in what way would it have been different?

2005-12-14 00:56:42
37.   Andrew Shimmin
36- That last he refers to McCourt.

35- No, but my twin sister ended up having to come with me to the new place, so there's an Antonio Perez angle I didn't think of.

2005-12-14 00:58:15
38.   dzzrtRatt
36 Well, keep in mind that one of the transgressions was Bradley's personal attack against a Times reporter--using an epithet far more inflammatory than any used against Kent. Reporters pretend to be above it all, but the Times has not forgotten that one, I'll wager.

"Whoever's leaking..." If I read the comments correctly, it's players. Camille Johnston would have no credibility whispering into Tim Brown's ear about something like this. And I doubt she's got the schwack to call up, say, Olmedo Saenz and ask him to drop a dime on Milt. I bet the Times has been collecting these stories for months, and were ready to drop them like a big stink bomb if the Dodgers re-signed Bradley.

2005-12-14 01:01:35
39.   dzzrtRatt
I was part of a gang when I was in kindergarten. There were two gangs. We had snowball fights, claimed playground equipment as turf and would toss enemies off the jungle gym, and every so often we had fistfights and someone got a bloody nose. This was in the early 60s, though. A time more tolerant of anti-social and violent behavior among toddlers.
2005-12-14 01:02:30
40.   sanchez101
i dont understand why everyone is so pissed about this Bradley trade, not that long ago we all assumed that he was going to get non-tendered. Now we got a nice outfield prospect, and all we had to do was throw in a redundant player like Perez (the only difference between Aybar and Perez at this point is that Aybar can play a credible 3B). Ya, it sucks that we had to trade a good player like Bradley, but its not like the Dodgers were the first team to dump him, in fact the Dodgers are the third team to do so.

I dont know why people are so ready to jump on Colletti, even for things that he hasnt even done yet. There was one rumor that JT Snow got some interest from the Dodgers, thats it. We've heard many similar rumors this offseason that turned into absolutely nothing. I seriously doubt that the original JT Snow rumor was even true. I havent even heard a single rumor about Randa, just that some sportwriters think that is a logical pairing, he's not coming either. And yet people are getting mad and claiming that Colletti is a terrible GM because of this. For every rumor about Snow or Pierre we hear one about Abreu or Mueller. Why are the rumors about bad players cause to get angry while the rumors about good players mean nothing?

For the record, im okay with Jacque Jones. I really dont like that we would have to give up a draft pick, but for the right price he can be a very usefull player. Looking into Furcal's true value after his signing, it seems that defense really is a great place to invest your money. Jacque Jones might be the best defensive corner outfielder in baseball and could easily play centerfield. This is important considering Bradley is officially gone. Forget that the only true centerfielder on the roster is Jason Repko and while Drew can play CF, how many games can he be counted on for. Look at Jacque Jones as a CF and he looks a lot better. Even if he plays LF or RF, the Dodgers most obvious need is a full time outfielder. So what if much of his value was in his defense, wins are wins, and defensive wins show them selves in pitchers ERA. Jones would not only provide the Dodgers with a decent bat for 145 games, but his defense would also help the pitching staff, the other glaring need the Dodgers currently have. If the value of pitching has become insane and you cant find good values anywhere, doesnt it make sense to invest instead in defense?
Jones over the past 4 years has been worth an average of 4.1 WARP, which on the open market is worth roughly $8 million. Rumor has it that KC offered Jones $15/3yrs. Looks to me that Jones is an $8 million player whose best offer is for $5 million. Isnt this the definition of undervalued? This is why i wont be devestated if Jacque Jones ends up in LA.

2005-12-14 01:04:45
41.   bhsportsguy
In the end, I don't think it is too unusual for management to ever speak to players, I know DePo got some heat last year about not telling players directly about being traded and then I saw a story where Stoneman did the same thing.
Another thing A Martinez said today is that what Bradley said about Kent, in terms of his moodiness and being a loner in the clubhouse, etc., is all true and no one would deny it. It wasn't until he inserted race and also made public the dispute after being told by his "father" Jim Tracy and other management people to keep it in house, where it became a problem and probably the last straw.

I am not saying that Ned should have not spoken to Bradley at all, personally I think he should have spoken to all the players once he came on the scene but Milton can pick up the phone too.

But Milton does not deserve the treatment that Plashke gave him today but at least the McCourts can now read the sports section again.

2005-12-14 01:06:45
42.   bhsportsguy
Sorry I left out a word, I don't think it is too unusual for management to never communicate with players until they are moved.
2005-12-14 01:21:17
43.   Andrew Shimmin
40- It's bad form, dumping on the guy who just left. I wasn't reading in real time, but it looks like most of the gripes about the Bradley deal this morning/afternoon were in the vein of not getting as much as commenters thought he was worth. Some of the guys who took Bradley's side during the Kent/Bradley fracas reasserted their dislike of Kent, but that was a minority (awkward word, in context). After the Colletti conference call, and after the Times posted it's hit pieces, Jon put up this post. I wonder if I'm not the most angry about it, but then, I have long standing anger issues.

If dzzrtRatt is right, if the Times was sitting on this garbage waiting to have another Schwarzenegger moment, it might make me even angrier. We'll probably never know, though. If he was a worse guy than the Times let on, but they were stockpiling the stories in order to really give him the business after arbitration?

It's bad news reading Plaschke before bed. Especially for those of us with anger issues.

2005-12-14 01:25:19
44.   oldbear
40. I completely disagree on Jacque Jones. Here's why he'd be a bad signing:

#1. .249/.319/.413 line in 2005. Playing in a hitters ball park. Jacque Jones has had a significant drop off in production over the last 3 years.

#2. Dodger Stadium already takes away Doubles/Triples. So if Jones value is in his defense, it wont be fully realized playing in a park that wont fully use his skills.

#3. You say he'll play 145 games. One question. What happens if he breaks his wrist?

There are no positives to signing Jacque Jones. That guy is a poor hitter whose best skill (defense) isnt needed in a park that already plays to the pitchers. In addition, he's past his peak and wont likely get better.

Jacque Jones would be about as bad as signing Corey Patterson in my books. Probably worse bc one could argue Corey PAtterson might get better.

2005-12-14 01:48:00
45.   sanchez101
44. okay,
#1. he improved from 2004. more importantly, Jones set career highs in walks, isoP, and XBH %, and had the 2nd highest isolated slugging % of his career. He suffered from a bad batting average, but had otherwise his best offensive season.

#2. No, he makes it even harder for opposing hitters to get those hits, there are plenty of singles, doubles and triples hit in Dodger stadium that could be caught. If Dodger stadium by itself automatically eliminated those things, why does the pitching staff struggle so much. Following your line of thinking, we should just let Choi or Saenz play the outfield, Dodger Stadium would take care of all those doubles and triples for them. And if you hadnt noticed, the Dodgers only play half their games in Dodger Stadium.

#3. Oh, so i guess the Dodgers shouldnt sign anyone because they might get injured. I said Jones should play 145 games because he's averaged 147 games played over the last 6 years.

can you argue with the total value of Jones' production over the past three-four years. According to BP Pecota forcast, which is very conservative, Jones will be worth 7.7 wins from 2006-2008. Valued at $2 million per win, he would be worth $15.4 million over that three year period, or just more than what the Royals recently offered him. Show me another free agent that can be signed for less money than his Pecota forcast shows he will be worth.

Jones would be a fairly minimal investment (by FA standards) for the Dodgers, $5-$6 per year million tops. im not saying that jones would be a great signing or would make the Dodgers a contender. im saying that Jones has some significant value and is underated by people that only pay attention to OPS. he would help the dodgers at the right price.

2005-12-14 01:55:20
46.   Eric L
45 Didn't the pitchers have a bit of a problem coughing up gopher balls last year?
2005-12-14 02:23:49
47.   GoBears
Wow. Weird day on DT. I read the "Colletti didn't talk with Bradley" bit, thought about the Beltre-DePodesta episode, and thought "I betcha Plaschke/Simers forget to ream Colletti for doing the same thing they indicted Depo for doing. Then I read here (I stopped reading the LAT years ago) that Plashke was (horrors!) consistent on this one. He DID get on Colletti.

So then, I think, "well, while he's not hypocritical in this instance, he's still dumb. Colletti should only have felt compelled to speak to Bradley if he thought that (1) the problems with Bradley were all 'he-said-he-said' stuff, or (2) that the problem was not that the other players and the owner didn't want Bradley, but that MB didn't want to stay, but might be persuaded to change his mind. Maybe all of his consulting convinced him that (1) was false, and I think everyone knew that (2) was wrong.

OK. so at this point, I'm pretty sure that Plaschke is just being consistently dumb. Then I read Jon's post, and Jon also thinks that Colletti should have spoken with Bradley. Hmmm. Congnitive dissonance. Brain hurts. My only way out is to think that Jon's starting point is compassion, which I admire, and not a suggestion that a Ned-a-tete with MB might have solved the problem, which seems overly optimistic.

Hope you all enjoyed my ruminations about others' ruminations. I have a hard time thinking Colletti did anything wrong here, but I'm having an even harder time dismissing Jon, who always strikes me as very thoughtful. This is the sort of confusion that can lead to a psychotic break.

2005-12-14 02:35:59
48.   GoBears
16 I also disagree that DUI is somehow less serious, although I'm sure we all agree that spousal abuse is extremely serious. I understand that the law draws distinctions between crimes based in part on their consequences, which probably explains why I'm an academic and not a lawyer. To me, attempted murder and murder are the same crimes. The former is punished less severely because the perpetrator was ineffective, but the intent was the same. I know we have a lot of lawyers here, so I imagine others understand this distinction better than I do.

Same with DUI. Whether you hit a tree or a person or nothing at all, I don't see the difference. To get convicted for it, then do it again (often enough to get caught at least once more and convicted once more) is pretty darn serious, whether you kill someone or just get pulled over for weaving.

As for the effect such behavior should have on an elite athlete's career, I'll not get moralistic. Seems to me that if the courts say you're a free person, then it's up to the market to decide your value. I think the St. Louis Rams have a star pass-rusher (Little?) who DID hit someone while driving drunk. Maybe more than once, and maybe killing the victim (I don't remember the details). And he's still playing. Compare that to, say, John Rocker. In both cases, the market spoke. Fans were willing to keep paying to see Little (and Furcal), but not Rocker. I don't know whether that's right or wrong - just putting it out there.

2005-12-14 02:43:19
49.   GoBears
Jacque Jones is Raul Mondesi without the upside (or, correspondingly, the risk of dashed expectations).
2005-12-14 05:42:28
50.   D4P
Jon - Have you listened to Ned's conference call? I get the impression that you have not, and that you have only read (from other articles) partial summaries of the call. I would strongly recommend that you listen to the call in its entirety (it's some 18 minutes long). It was interesting, and I think you might (just might) feel a bit differently about Ned's handling of the Bradley situation after listening to Ned's explanation.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2005-12-14 05:49:18
51.   Wayne Wei-siang Hsieh
I for one feel no special need to feel outraged for the sake of Milton Bradley.

Sure, many players are guilty of 1 through 5, but how many combine all 5 at the same time? And how many have his long record, that goes back to multiple organizations. And throw in Bradley's chronic injury history, and my attitude is a giant yawn.

Furthermore, I'm sorry, but I don't quite see the analogy to preschool--Bradley is what, 28 years old? How does his long troubled history relate to a four-year old? And haven't his problems been hashed out over and over again? We seem to be focusing so much on the conflicts with Kent, and forgetting Bradley's problem with previous organizations, his previous scuffles with umpires, and all other sorts of things. This is not a Kent vs. Bradley thing, this is a Bradley problem.

I for one am ready to move on with all of this. The trade in baseball terms isn't a great move, especially in the short term, but in the long term, we need OF depth on the farm, and it's not a total loss. Anyhow, I just can't feel especially indignant about this whole episode.

WWSH

2005-12-14 06:00:26
52.   mountainmover
Milton Bradley = Ron Artest

Well, not in every respect, but the similarity is striking. I was big MB proponent up until the Racist incident. I think we forget that Milton's mouth has gotten him arrested more than once, he's had run in's with his manager, teammates, wife and fans. Guys like Milton will melt down again, sooner or later. I am glad he is gone! He is very talented, and could be a superstar, but I am betting that he will sabotage his efforts to be one. We should cut all ties with those kinds of players. Furcal had 2 DUI's and has (allegedly) put it all behind him. You need all your fingers and some of your toes to count Bradley's transgressions. Bleeding heart liberalism withstanding, it is a recipe for disaster to keep Milton Bradley in LA!

Ron Artest had everyone convinced that he had changed. The team accepted him back. The fans accepted him back. Team management stood behind him and then he sticks it to them-again! Milton Bradley is of that same ilk!

2005-12-14 06:06:08
53.   mountainmover
...and on the pre-school issue: My wife and I and several other parents were accused of getting a little boy kicked out of my son's pre-school a couple of years ago. The fact was that we never talked with anyone about it. The fact also was that this parent and child created untold drama everyday that would have led to our removing my child from the pre-school had the other one not been removed. In actuality, it wasn't the child so much as it was the parent. The mother over dramatized everything and this spilled over onto the child (a hangnail turned into cancer). There are 2 sides to every story.
2005-12-14 06:07:43
54.   deadguy
51 - Leonard Little did kill someone while driving drunk back in 1998. He was suspended for 8 games by the NFL. In 2004 he got caught with another DUI.

As for the trade, it was fairly obvious that the Dodgers were never going to use Perez for anything, so throwing him into the trade is a handy way to avoid having to do the paperwork involved with cutting him. Or, to put it another way, a Maserati that just sits in the garage under a cover is clutter, not a car. (And no, I don't think Perez is a Maserati, but...oh, the heck with it.)

Besides, it's no wonder his performance tailed off last year - his usage patterns after that hot start look like a seismograph on Mt. St. Helens.

As for Colletti's behavior as regards Bradley, I'd be fine with it if it weren't for all of the gerrymandered attempts to claim that it was an attempt to keep Bradley around. If you want to trade him, trade him. Everyone expected it anyway. But the whole tortured logic of "Gosh, I wanted to keep him around and make it work out out but everyone I talked to said I shouldn't so I didn't talk to him until it was over" sounds suspiciously like a lot of high school breakups I witnessed back in the day.

2005-12-14 06:08:32
55.   deadguy
My bad, that was for 48.
2005-12-14 06:10:17
56.   bearlurker
I hate this trade, but I don't fault Coletti for not talking to Bradley. Coletti should have just kept Bradley without talking to him. The guy Coletti needed to talk to was McCourt, and talk to again and again until McCourt agreed to let Ned offer Bradley a contract. Maybe Andre turns out to be a star, but this is still a bad trade because Ned sold low on two of his players and bought high on the one he was acquiring.

40--There are reports that JT has been offered a contract by LA. There were a couple of very good posts pointing out JT's success against RHP, and his career numbers exceed Choi's accomplishments in this regard.

Jones is a downgrade from Bradley. You're grasping at straws, claiming Jones finally improved his eye at this stage in his career. Jones put up crummy numbers in the Homerdome. With Jones, we will get Repko production for Kent money.

2005-12-14 06:21:16
57.   dagwich
There is no doubt in my mind that McCourt had a short list of conditions for hiring a GM, and one of them was to trade or non-tender Bradley during the offseason. All this discussion about "talking to Milton" is just some PR happy talk and blather. Milton was as good as gone as soon as Depo was kicked to the curb.

I'm sorry he is gone, though, as I loved the passion and fire. On a team full of plain vanilla he was the mango chile....not always the flavor you want, but at certain times really a great choice.
2005-12-14 06:31:50
58.   TFD
[All: Comment from lurker ahead, beware, may be outside the scope of normal comments.]

Jon: This is one of those issues that the non-Jamesian crowd looks at and just shakes their collective heads in disbelief at the way people stick-up for a headcase based on his pure production.

I mean really, how can anyone look at the Bradley situation and decide anything other than he had to be traded? (I'm not trying to be a smart-ass, I really don't understand.) Talking to Bradley himself wouldn't have helped a thing. Coletti's job was to determine within the team environment could he stay and be a productive hitter/player? This is exactly what would happen in a work environment with a co-worker who has always had severe 'team' issues even though they were productive employees.

The merits of the trade can surely be debated, but to call the way Coletti handled this a 'witch hunt' is just plain lunacy. (Sorry, I'm just sayin'.)

Not to go all beer-and-tacos, but judging objective information based on large sample sizes is one thing, but to extrapolate that into the "there is no such thing as clubhouse chemistry, etc" just doesn't work.

[And to all, I do know the '86 Mets hated each other and all the stories that went on in that locker room.]

2005-12-14 06:50:02
59.   Sam DC
I commented in the last thread on the -- to me -- bizarre statement by Colletti that he did everything he could to make it work and yet he didn't talk to Bradley until the deal was done. I understand the points people are making that if the decision was made, it was made, and talking to Bradley couldn't have mattered. But I really disagree. I sometimes have the misfortune to supervise other folks. Talking to people affected by decisions before they are made is just something you do -- you have to do -- to effectively lead. I really believe there is no other way. A lot of times your mind is pretty fixed and the discussion is very unlikely to change things -- and it's fine to tell tell people that -- but folks consistently care about this in their workplace.

And then to not do that basic thing, but claim you did everything possible to make the situation work is just in my opinion ridiculous.

2005-12-14 06:52:27
60.   HomeDePo
Deepest apologies to your friends, Jon.

Truly ridiculous for something like this to happen...

2005-12-14 06:53:12
61.   Vishal
[58] i think that's a gross simplification. obviously, bradley had some emotional issues. sure, he was a bit of a headcase. but he also had a lot of good qualities as well; it's not like his personality was all disruption, all the time. his enthusiasm, passion, and desire, and the way he wears his heart on his sleeve can be pretty endearing if you saw him play on a day-to-day basis. if all you did was hear about his troubles, then sure, you'd think he was just a raging lunatic.

anyway, i for one liked bradley for a lot of reasons, and they certainly weren't all related to his potential and his production. i don't want to speak for anyone, but i think that goes for a lot of his supporters here.

as for colletti, i think the point is that if you're honestly trying to keep someone on your team, and if there are any problems between team members, you sit down with everyone involved and try to iron it out. colletti didn't do that, and the fact that he didn't makes it pretty clear that there was no real attempt to keep bradley a dodger, so for colletti to claim that he "tried everything" is patently absurd.

2005-12-14 06:57:28
62.   Penarol1916
53. I completely agree, especially when it comes to discussing one's children. I take the story that was relayed to Jon with a large grain of salt based mostly on the fact that it was relayed by the parents of the said child.
2005-12-14 07:09:18
63.   Sam DC
Don't see if others commented on this, but it's interesting that Plaschke today (i) acknowledges his own past statements and that he has changed his mind and (ii) calls Colletti out for claiming he wanted it to work but not bothering to talk to Bradley. Now, I've got no brief for Plaschke's column (the things have really just become hard for me to read), but he's taken a lot of hits here for shifting gears without acknowledging his past statements so I think he should get a little credit for doing the right thing on this issue.

(ducks)

2005-12-14 07:11:02
64.   Gold Star for Robot Boy
Jon, you forgot mark on Bradley's rap sheet:
6) Did 1-5 while knowing he was under a microscope because of his reputation, earned while with his previous organization.
After a while, you have to reach the conclusion Bradley doesn't get it.
2005-12-14 07:21:47
65.   Sam DC
ON a little further thought, I'd like to walk back 63 a few steps, because I do think this particular case is a very easy one for Plaschke or anyone to acknowledge past statements that turned out to be wrong, just because the situation got so complicated and all the blame is so easily heaped on Bradley's shoulders. But he least he did make the acknowledgement.
2005-12-14 07:24:52
66.   Steve
How can Plaschke change his mind no less than twice about Milton Bradley, and yet still be wrong every time he does it?
2005-12-14 07:30:31
67.   Gold Star for Robot Boy
66 - THAT'S talent!
2005-12-14 07:33:14
68.   regfairfield
58 By doing this, who do you hurt? Milton Bradley? Not really, he'll make the same amount of money through arbitration, and he gets to move to a better team.

Does it hurt the Dodgers? You bet. When you let yourself get outright scammed like this, it hurts the team, which in turn lessens the attendance, which means less money for McCourt. The losing also leads to, oh-oh, bad chemistry.

Bradley clearly has issues, but the effect that those issues has on the team are negligable at best. This isn't Gary Sheffield saying he's going to let a few balls go by him, this is just a talented player who has a few issues. The upside most definately outweighs the downside.

2005-12-14 07:33:49
69.   Steve
67 -- I seriously doubt that. :)
2005-12-14 07:38:52
70.   Vishal
[69] unless hackery is considered a talent. but then that would be like me saying "i have a talent of playing the trumpet very badly".
2005-12-14 07:40:42
71.   Jon Weisman
Working backward ...

53, 62 - It's precisely because there are two sides to every story that my friends should have been spoken as well. Maybe they were in the wrong. But it's not like anyone took the time to let them air their side, with the stakes laid out.

59 - I agree.

16 - There's no point in trying to decide which is more serious - DUI or domestic violence. Both are plenty serious. I will point out that driving under the influence has the potential of killing a number of people in one shot. As I've discussed before here, eight members of my family were in a van that was struck by a drunk driver going 80 mph on a city street. That's plenty serious for any discussion. The fact that Furcal's DUI history is dismissed with "oh, but he's friendly," is not easy for me to swallow.

General note - I wrote above that I understand the case for trading Bradley, so make sure you note that as you make your comments. At the same time, make sure you also understand there is a case for keeping him. You don't have to agree with the case, but it is certainly there.

This post is about communication, and as far as I can see, no one has made the case for not talking to Bradley. No one has shown me any harm in it. And if you're not going to talk to him, then don't pretend that you tried everything to salvage the situation.

Several people took umbrage with my use of the word "witchhunt." I'm not sure why. I'm not dismissing the possbility, at all, that Bradley deserved to be thrown in the river. I'm not saying that the people doing the throwing weren't justified. I'm not saying that there had to be a trial or a Kangaroo court. I'm just pointing out that there wasn't one.

2005-12-14 07:40:59
72.   JROBB
I just listened to the conference call and came away again impressed with Colleti. He is confident in his ability and doesnt feel the need to prove to other people that he is qualified. He seems sharp and knows what he wants and will not make uncalculated moves.

Looking at the comments about how Coletti should have talked Bradley before making a move and just talking to everyone else, I think it was unnecessary for him to talk to him. The bridge of return was already burned in Milton's eyes. If he does stay healthy, Oakland is looking tough for next season.

2005-12-14 07:44:59
73.   Bob Timmermann
I just listened to the conference call and came away again impressed with Colleti. He is confident in his ability and doesnt feel the need to prove to other people that he is qualified. He seems sharp and knows what he wants and will not make uncalculated moves.

That's probably true, but Colletti's predecessor had almost identical traits.

2005-12-14 07:48:01
74.   Slikk
Ah -- getting up this morning was so nice knowing that Bradley and his antics are gone from Los Angeles. It's a good day! And Jon, it's time to let it go, my friend.
2005-12-14 08:00:13
75.   Aug C
In a roundabout way, we ended up giving up prospect Franklin Gutierrez, 22 year-old with a 2005 AA line of .261/.322/.423 for the 23 year-old Ethier. (Except we also lost A. Perez)

I kind of like it...

2005-12-14 08:02:00
76.   RELX
I have no feelings either way about Bradley. Yes, he was a problem, but he didn't come to my house and throw things, so I don't really care. On the other hand, I don't think he is ever going to become a great player, so I don't think from that perspective that is was too big a loss. One thing that bothered me was his comments on the way out, such as:

"It's not going to change me, who I am, being outspoken, being real, being a great ballplayer. … I'm just glad Oakland realized that."

`When I feel disrespected or feel someone in a position of authority is abusing that authority, then I don't react well to that,'' Bradley said on a conference call Tuesday.

``I don't know where the impression I don't fit in comes from,'' Bradley said. ``As far as me and my personality, I'm charismatic. I'm quiet. I observe a lot. I don't just come out and speak about something. I really put a lot of thought into something before I speak on it."

``I'm approachable. You want to talk to me, you want to ask me something, you can. I may not look like I want to talk, but you'll be surprised by the response you get.''

These comments make it sound as if Bradley really has no idea of the impression that others have of him. Instead of being volatile, he thinks he is some sort of outspoken guy. I think that the Dodgers believe that he hasn't changed at all since they got him, and these comments make it seem as if he doesn't think he has to change.

As far as Colleti talking to him, who cares? I mean, MB is the one with the long rap sheet, not Colleti. I think MB has been "talked to" enough. Instead of playing up to Bradley, which Tracy and McCourt did and which didn't work, Colleti just made the decision. While he may have "disrespected" Bradley in the process, according to MB, it doesn't seem that Bradley feels he ever "disrespected" the Dodgers, does it?

MB reminds me of Carl Everett. Everett was a great talent, had a ton of personal problems, was often injured, and has gone from team to team. I think MB will have a similar kind of career.

2005-12-14 08:04:53
77.   Warren
I'll make the case for not talking to Milton Bradley. The case is simple: nothing he could have said would have been relevant.

After the disastrous 2004 Bradley said all the right things including: "I'll seek anger management". Then he came back in 2005 and caused tensions to get high when he refused to play rightfield, then the racist remarks, then ignored his manager, etc.

So if Colletti spoke to Bradley what would he want to hear? That Milton had made peace with Kent? That he wouldn't cause trouble? That he and his wife had resolved their issues? I mean honestly, what could Bradley have said that Colletti could have 1) believed and 2) cared enough about to take yet another chance?

The plain answer is there was no reason to talk to Milton. His actions over the last two seasons speak all that we need from his side.

I hope he gets it together and has a great career. Perhaps having a child is the thing that will finally snap him into reality. But his time in LA was done when he slapped Jim Tracy in the face. That guy put his neck on the line for Bradley time and time again. To disrespect him, his "father", was the final straw for me.

2005-12-14 08:05:49
78.   RELX
As far as Colleti's comments about really wanting to keep Bradley, etc., that is PR BS that we are all used to in sports, and which we all have learned to ignore. You know, like Stan Van Gundy quitting the Heat to be with his family.
2005-12-14 08:06:26
79.   Warren
Oh and finally, his parting shot of "I won't change who I am" speaks volumes too. That further convinced me that Colletti made the right move.
2005-12-14 08:07:12
80.   alex 7
Carl Everett comparison...not bad.

Here's what I care about: today, the Dodgers are a worse team than they were two days ago unless MB was so horrible of a teammate that it brought down the team's performance. I highly doubt that.

2005-12-14 08:08:41
81.   Warren
What did Milton add to the team last year? You either get the quiet, injured, unproductive Milton, or the loud, angry, repulsive, productive Milton. I'll take neither.
2005-12-14 08:10:59
82.   Slikk
Vazquez & cash just got traded to the ChiSox for El Duque, Luis Vizcaino, and prospect Chris Young.
2005-12-14 08:12:18
83.   alex 7
Wasn't Milton quiet and productive for the first half of last year? Just arguing a point, no real reason for it.
2005-12-14 08:12:35
84.   Jon Weisman
74 - I know that remark was in all friendliness, so please take this one in the same way. But I'm going to be fine as far as letting go of Bradley - I don't think it's necessary to tell me it's time to do so when not even a day has passed since the trade.
2005-12-14 08:13:55
85.   Improbable88
Milton Bradley may have some temper issues, but no one has ever questioned how well-spoken and intelligent he appears when away from the immediacy of competition. Some would even say he appears level-headed and wise. Nevertheless, on the field he somehow has managed to forsake this intelligence, to lose himself completely in a child's game, to lack the perspective of an adult merely particpating in a child's game.

Milton Bradley has just welcomed his first child, a baby boy into this world.

If you don't think this gives an intelligent, young man the persepctive to stay out of trouble on the baseball field or any other one of live's more selfish, indulgent endeavors...then you're wrong.

Milton Bradley, baseball citizen, shapes up next year. If it so happens that his knee also shapes up, it will be a double slap in the face.

Great stuff Jon.

2005-12-14 08:16:28
86.   MartinBillingsley31
http://postgazette.com/pg/05348/622193.stm

For what its worth this newspaper says mueller is going to choose the dodgers over the pirates.

2005-12-14 08:16:45
87.   Penarol1916
71. Again, we don't know if there was an attempt to talk to the parents, if the parents had been talked to about incident like this before and been warned, like I said, I just don't trust people when they are defending their children, I've never come across a situation where the parent will leave out various details that make their case less compelling, which is odd, given that I give more benefit of the doubt when someone is just defending themselves.

As for those of you saying talking to Bradley doesn't matter, I say it does when you are claiming that you tried to do everything you could to fix the situation, the best explanation for this is that Colletti is just putting out the usual PR BS.

2005-12-14 08:17:10
88.   Dolphin 7
77. I agree completely. The time has come in professional sports where players like Bradley no longer need to be reasoned with or reached out to. He should have been gone the second he freaked on those fans in 2004. But hey: The guy has potential! The guy is gritty! Well, he's also a fellow everyone had to keep an eye trained on, no matter how friendly he was the day before. There are few places in the workforce where a boss would have come to you to mediate your dismissal--especially after calling a collegue racist, and throwing a plastic bottle at a customer. We'll hear from him again.
2005-12-14 08:18:10
89.   Aug C
OF COURSE from an immediate talent standpoint we lost out. But please wake up from this alternate universe where it doesn't matter at your job how you interact with your workmates. At some point, your issues outweigh the positive qualities that you bring to the table. MB is a pretty good player, not a great one, who gets hurt pretty often. We got him on the cheap because he pissed Cleveland people off, and now we're sending him away on the cheap because he pissed LA people off. As it turns out, we got a legitimate prospect in return.

This is like the decision to fire DePo; I personally wouldn't have made either move, but considering the circumstances (again, please wake up from your alternate universe where the management doesn't care about PR), I can respect both decisions and understand why they were made.

2005-12-14 08:22:03
90.   blue22
Trading Milton, even for the prospect, does not automatically imply that the team is forsaking 2006. On the radio this morning, the NY media seems to think LA is a very strong player in both the Nomar and Damon hunt, and per 86, maybe landing Mueller.

An OF can still be had, whether its a short-term solution like Reggie Sanders, or a trade for someone like Brad Wilkerson (Rangers still want Broxton?).

With the weak division, you'd think that Ned can build while still competing.

2005-12-14 08:24:04
91.   Vishal
[81] he got injured because he was quiet? that's a new one on me.

[77] did he flat out refuse, or did he just say that he would prefer to play centerfield? i recall that he worked things out pretty amicably with drew, without any loud confrontations... and besides, he was the better centerfielder anyway, so he should be the one in center.

and as far as the outspoken stuff, that's obviously in reference to his speaking out about jeff kent, the incident that directly precipitated his departure. without that incident, he's still a dodger. since the other posts are about bradley's "slap in the face", etc.. i'll say that from bradley's perspective, he likely was quite bothered by kent's statements and attitude, and when nobody on the dodgers staff took that problem seriously enough he went public with it. i think bradley honestly views the kent spat differently than his temper outbursts, which he seems to regret. he feels he was in the right on this one. you may disagree, but that's why he said what he said. kent has a long "rap sheet" of this type of shenanigans too, remember.

2005-12-14 08:24:22
92.   dzzrtRatt
Jon, I took no umbrage at your description of the Colletti process as a 'witchhunt.' I was just challenging your metaphor. A witchhunt implies Colletti talked to whoever he talked to in order to seek out more damning information to justify a predetermined outcome. You could be right, but I just don't see it. More likely, as I've said, he had been ordered to trade him by McCourt, and didn't want to. His last-ditch effort was to try to line up third parties on the team who he could cite as saying they wanted Bradley to stay, and that this might be persuasive to McCourt to change his mind.

In an effort like that, it would be possibly counterproductive to talk to Bradley, because that would imply that Colletti and Bradley were conspiring together to change McCourt's mind.

Either Colletti didn't find enough pro-Bradley sentiment on the team (or stronger anti-Bradley sentiment than he expected), or he did find it, but McCourt wasn't persuaded by it. That's my speculation.

2005-12-14 08:42:25
93.   Daniel Zappala
I don't get why so many people on this site are Dodger fans first and A's fans second. I am equally a Dodgers and Angels fan, having lived in both OC and LA, and truly can't rank one over the other. I have recently been more excited about the Angels because of their better management (and success), but would truly be conflicted if they met in the World Series.

I have also lived in the Bay Area, but would never imagine myself a fan of the Giants or A's. I'm curious as to why people here like the A's -- is it because you lived near Oakland for a while, appreciate their management, or something else? And how did you react in the 1988 World Series?

2005-12-14 08:44:38
94.   TFD
Jon: Good comment. Let me make the case for not talking to Bradley:

Tomorrow I take over the (significant) division of a Fortune 30 company. One of my VPs is well known through the business press (WSJ, Fortune, Forbes) to be a major pain-in-the-ass. He treats people like crap, dumps all his duties on subordinates, flies off the handle in meetings, refuses to answer voice-mails from important colleagues in less profitable divisions, and has skated by on two HR issues with female employees.

Now tomorrow, he's mine, and I know all this coming in. The flood of evidence is overwhelming that A.) His part of the division continually meets goals, and B.) He continually ensures that eveyone else doesn't meet theirs. Oh, and C.) (and most importantly) the division would make oodles-more-dough were he not in his position - - again a generally accepted fact among the management of the company.

What would I do? Can his ass in a month as soon as I identified someone within the organization who would be most appropriate for the job. Period. End of story.

Why do I need to talk to him besides to tell him, along with HR, that he's gone? Not one of my comrades would disagree with me, either.

Why is this significantly different than what Coletti has done?

2005-12-14 08:48:40
95.   MartinBillingsley31
msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/5167690

Take it for what its worth but it say that the dodgers have made offers to mueller, lofton, and sanders and that the dodgers could find out today if mueller and lofton are going to sign.

2005-12-14 08:56:07
96.   SMY
Mueller, Lofton, Sanders. So I guess we are really restoring Giant "tradition" then. Outstanding.

I have to imagine that a team with Kent, Cruz, Mueller (or David Bell), Lofton, and Sanders would have the highest number of former Giants to play on the Dodgers at one time.

2005-12-14 08:56:13
97.   Vishal
[93] my first real exposure to the A's was actually in the '88 world series. i was of course rooting for the dodgers, as i was raised to do, but i definitely admired the oakland team. i thought eckersley was awesome, and they had good pitching, rickey henderson, and the bash brothers... they were exciting. and then the next year they beat the hated giants in the series! so i always kinda liked them but i didn't follow very closely. but then i didn't follow baseball very closely for several years after the strike. eventually i lived in the east bay for a few years ('99-'03) so i got a little better appreciation of them and started being more of a fan; they seemed like a team of blue-collor nobodys who won anyway, which was cool. and then moneyball came out and explained their success a little more clearly and i gained a whole new respect for them, and it pretty much snowballed from there. plus, they currently have a very charismatic team, so what's not to like? if the A's and dodgers met again in the world series i'd be a little torn but no matter who won i'd be happy.
2005-12-14 08:58:01
98.   Vishal
[94] explain how B) and C) fit bradley.
2005-12-14 09:02:58
99.   Bob Timmermann
96

That might be an L.A.-S.F. era high for Dodgers-Giants swapping, but back in the Brooklyn-New York days, players went between the two teams a lot.

The usual case was that when the Giants were good, the Dodgers had old Giants who were washed and vice versa. There were some exceptions, like Sal Maglie.

2005-12-14 09:04:08
100.   Sam DC
94 If you did what you describe, would you go before the shareholders and say you did everything you could to mediate the problem or find a way to make it work?
Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2005-12-14 09:07:28
101.   Penarol1916
94. That comparison as with any other comparison of a regular workplace (and even other sports) with baseball is invalid.
First yours, what facts do you have to back that Bradley made other players less productive? Also, how is his position going to be much better now that he is gone. Your example shows that the VP isn't productive in that an the productivity of an office and company depends much more on teamwork and getting along than a baseball team where much of what you do is based entirely on you.
If you must draw these infantile office/baseball team comparisons, the only one I see as valid is that a productive baseball player is like a great salesman. I've seen many instances where a salesman is a horrible human being and nobody can stand him, but he is kept on because he produces. That is a much more apt comparison to Bradley's situation than someone who manages people and whose treatment of them directly affects their productivity.
Look, I don't have too much of a problem with trading Bradley for pennies on the dollar, but I do have a problem with is people making poor analogies and Colletti's PR BS that he did everything he could to try to fix the situation.
2005-12-14 09:08:45
102.   Slikk
84 - I understand what you mean, I guess from my standpoint I let go of Bradley about a month ago. Of course, it wasn't hard for me to let go.
2005-12-14 09:09:10
103.   Sushirabbit
For what it's worth, as a real fan of yours, I think this is the worst thing I've ever read on the blog. Very Murrow-esque. Throw out a bunch of opposites and attempt to push the real people into the caricature, for dramatic effect.

In some ways, that's the Plaschke method, too, though obviously he's a less capable thinker (he clearly 'borrows' from DT) and a very much less capable writer. I expect more from this place.

Sometimes I think people here have never been on a really close team or group. Baseball teams, especially MLB level have to be like a family, or at least a military unit to survive. Just my own view-point, but I think what cooked Bradley was when he went public. As a team, you have to keep personal stuff like that within the team, because you know the Murrows of the world aren't going to see it with the best interest of the team (or either party) at heart, they just want to scoop some sort of compelling story, even if it has no basis in facts.

If you want to view Kent as a white red-neck christian racist-- easy enough-- Bradley as a thug with a chip and entitlement-- easy, too-- Coletti as a stuffed shirt-- yeah-- but unfair to everybody.

It bothers me alot more here, where I expect more of people, because most of the time everyone seems rational and capable of grasping both sides.

Having been in similar situations, in close quarters with 20+ people for weeks at a time, I can say it was also better for the "bradley-like" personality to be cast out... (better for that person, not just the team)

But that was not baseball, and neither is pre-school.

2005-12-14 09:13:43
104.   Bob Timmermann
I'm doing this systematically, but it looks the 1992 Dodgers squad had three former Giants.

Dave Anderson
Todd Benzinger
Jim Gott

2005-12-14 09:20:40
105.   Sushirabbit
101. I disagree completely with you. What makes the colletti/bradley to himself/bad employee ANALOGY infantile?

There are records of the incidents and he has spoken with other members of his team/staff.

2005-12-14 09:21:01
106.   Penarol1916
103. What is your problem with Murrow? How do you know that every MLB team has to be close?
2005-12-14 09:23:13
107.   Gold Star for Robot Boy
An upside to signing Lofton and/or Sanders: These guys have made a career of getting flipped for prospects at the trading deadline. Of course, that would mean the Dodgers are out of contention...
2005-12-14 09:23:34
108.   Izzy
I didn't see this above, so forgive me if I missed it, but I heard on ESPN radio a half hour ago that Mueller signed with LA for 2 years.

The question is really whether Bradley deserved to be talked with. My answer is not at all. It is at the employers discretion. Because he's already been talked with probally a dozen times. This didn't happen overnight. He is an employee, and now he is not. The end. It's better for him anyhow. He just needs a new beginning somewhere else, with the fresh understanding that there are consequences for the things we do. I just think we should have gotten more for him.

izzy

2005-12-14 09:23:43
109.   Bob Timmermann
Actually there were three former Giants on the Dodgers last season: Kent, Cruz, and Alvarez.
2005-12-14 09:24:56
110.   Jon Weisman
87 - The point of this post is not to speculate about the preschool situation. The point is to advocate communication. I don't really understand the need to point out that maybe the story I got from my friends is biased. Of course it's going to be biased.

94 - You're being honest. Colletti wasn't. You're saying there's nothing to work out. That's fine. (Believe me, I've encountered the same thing at my work.) Colletti was saying that there might have been something to save. That's the difference.

Colletti was either fibbing to the press or to himself.

I don't want to make this a bigger issue than it needs to be. If Colletti hadn't said, "I tried everything," I wouldn't have written this column.

2005-12-14 09:26:09
111.   Penarol1916
105. Well, there is the fact that the analogies have been poorly constructed, the most detailed involved someone managing others and thus their treatment of others directly affects their productivity, how does Bradley affect someone else's productivity? The fact that most activities on a baseball field require are individualistic, while individual performance in an office setting is very difficult to evaluate apart from how one interacts with others. The analogy is just so incredibly not applicable I can't understand why you would take it at face value.
2005-12-14 09:27:00
112.   Daniel Zappala
I wouldn't give much credit to Plaschke for "admitting past mistakes". If you read through to the punch line at the end, he paints himself as only "naive", while the Dodgers are "negligent". This to me is the most irritating thing about Plaschke, more than his writing style -- he sets himself up as arbiter of the universe, judge of all that is right and wrong.
He is mean-spirited and petty. I broke down and read one column, but will go back to not reading him again.
2005-12-14 09:30:20
113.   Jon Weisman
103 - I'm interested in your criticism, truly, but I'm not understanding it. I'm not disagreeing with it - I'm not making sense of it.

I don't understand the Murrow reference. I don't understand "Throw out a bunch of opposites and attempt to push the real people into the caricature, for dramatic effect."

This - "If you want to view Kent as a white red-neck christian racist-- easy enough-- Bradley as a thug with a chip and entitlement-- easy, too-- Coletti as a stuffed shirt-- yeah-- but unfair to everybody." - I don't know what part of anything I've ever written you got that from.

And all I can do is repeat what I've repeated since I wrote this. This post is about communication. It's not about the pros and cons of keeping Bradley. Is that not clear? Let me know if it's not clear.

2005-12-14 09:30:41
114.   alnyden
Jon, I'm not sure why you're not giving Coletti the benefit of the doubt here. There are many circumstances that would have rendered talking to Milton useless. What if every player on the team said "I won't play with that guy", if Kent said "Trade him or me" , and/or if McCourt said "Get this guy off my team." Sure, he could have put on a show and pretended to try to mediate a situation that couldn't be mediated, but to what end?

Also, signing Furcal does not invalidate problems with Bradley as you have suggested. Every situation is different. Could it be that Furcal has made mistakes and accepted that he has to change, while Bradley has not? Bradley talked a good game about "anger management". And yet, 2005 was not a good year to be one of his teammates or his fan. The Kent situation, and yes, I blame Bradley, was another stain on an already disastrous season. Just how much effort do you want to put into managing this guy's problems?

If you want to be upset with the trade, and how we got a raw deal, that's one thing. But to blame Coletti for the end result of a situation that took years to play out, and that Bradley himself has many chances to change seems a bit unfair to me.

2005-12-14 09:33:39
115.   D4P
Jon - Have you listened to Coletti's conference call, or have you only read about it?
2005-12-14 09:34:40
116.   Jonny6
Bradley has a persecution complex, plain and simple. He will be a great asset to the A's... until his next meltdown, which will come as surely as the sun rises in the east. His comments indicate that he really didn't learn a thing from his entire tumultuous experience in LA; it's still everybody else's fault but his. As far as some kind of new found attitude due to the birth of his son, I seriously doubt it. I have two beautiful little girls at home and I may be the sweetest guy you can imagine when I'm around them, but after eight hours at the office I can be just as big a jerk as always. Bradley's son won't magically prevent him from being an idiot on the field or erupting in the club house.

On to the next topic... Do people really believe that a DUI and spousal abuse are equivalent? That absolutely floors me. I can't think of a more black and white issue than spousal abuse. As soon as you raise your fist in anger against your own spouse, you have crossed a clear legal and ethical line that is very difficult to redeem yourself from.

Meanwhile, drinking and driving is awash in shades of gray. Driving is a dangerous activity. Tired drivers, distracted drivers, and just plain bad drivers can all cause accidents. Drinking and driving is allowed, up to a point, and where exactly that point lies is a big societal struggle. Don't get me wrong, drinking and driving can obviously have grave and serious repercussions, but the horrific crash scenes that we all desperately fear are primarily caused by the serial offenders that race around with a .20 BAC with complete disregard of how their actions will negatively affect others. I would have hoped Furcal, and all drunk drivers, would learn his lesson after the first DUI. He should definitely lose his license, and if it ever happens again the league should dismiss him, but there is no way that being one drink over the legal limit is the moral equivalent of beating your wife.

2005-12-14 09:36:15
117.   greenchris
77 & 103, I agree with you both. Baseball is a team game. As much as I, as well as other Dodger fans, saw the potential for great contributions, Bradley's actions spoke enough about his true character which ultimately could have been detrimental to the team going forward.

I don't think Colletti had to speak to Bradley at all. Speaking to those who know Bradley within the Dodger organization was enough to base the decision to trade him. You weren't going to change Bradley by having a conversation with him. He hasn't changed in two years, what's going to make management think he's going to change now. Domestic abuse, racist allegations against the media and his team, throwing a bottle at fans, etc., the Dodgers don't need that garbage. Would the Yankees put up with that? They didn't even like A-Rod playing poker...glad he's gone!

2005-12-14 09:39:54
118.   Daniel Zappala
OT: One of the great stories for hockey this season (and there aren't many) is the promise Gretzky has shown as a coach in Phoenix. His trade to LA and his time there were the only years that I was a hockey fan. What a great guy.
2005-12-14 09:42:32
119.   Sushirabbit
I'm sorry, that I've been so.. blunt.

112 yeah, exactly. How is what Jon did any different? Do we KNOW what Coletti did or did not do? Or why he might not have needed to talk to Bradley?

105 Well look at it another way: Why is Bradley more important than the rest of the team?

108My problem with Murrow is partly his recent glorification and partly his crap methods which have become part and parcel of media "journalism".

I still think the world of this place. I think I'm a crank today. I have alot of respect for Jon and all DTers, so take everything else I say with that in mind.

2005-12-14 09:43:22
120.   Jon Weisman
114 - I'm starting to feel like this column was a failure, as it continues to be misread. And the responsibility for that falls upon me.

You write: "But to blame Coletti for the end result of a situation that took years to play out, and that Bradley himself has many chances to change seems a bit unfair to me."

Somehow, my column has led you to make this statement. I don't know why, as I do no such thing in my column. I don't know where I blame Colletti for anything other than not talking to Bradley. I don't even necessarily have a negative view of the trade.

But you're not the only one having a negative reaction, so something must be wrong.

As for other comments:

"signing Furcal does not invalidate problems with Bradley as you have suggested."

I never suggested that. What I did say was that it closed the door to bad character alone being cause for termination. Bradley has other issues.

"Could it be that Furcal has made mistakes and accepted that he has to change, while Bradley has not?"

Yes, though the question could easily be phrased the opposite way?

115 - I've only read about it.

2005-12-14 09:44:56
121.   Xeifrank
Ahh! The Bradley thuggering debate again. And the Spousal abuse vs DUI debate, and people convicting Bradley without knowing all the facts. Perhaps he abused his wife, perhaps it was she who abused him. Who knows. I just hope they can work things out for the sake of their newborn baby. DUI is one of the most selfish crimes I can think of. Liquoring up and putting everyone else's life on the road at risk. DUI pisses me off more than what Bradley may or may NOT have done. vr, Xei
vr, Xei
2005-12-14 09:46:45
122.   Daniel Zappala
Jon -- Writing something for the public, and then subjecting yourself to detailed scrutiny and feedback from a wide audience is a bold and brave thing to do. It's what makes blogging so much more challenging than traditional print media. And you don't even get paid to do it! Keep up the great work.
2005-12-14 09:49:49
123.   Jon Weisman
Thanks, Daniel. Did you change your screen name?

New post up top.

2005-12-14 09:50:09
124.   D4P
This is a bit out of the blue, but someone (I think Vishal) posted a link to an article yesterday that was written soon after the Bradley-Kent affair. The article, while not absolving Milton of responsibility, was one of the few I've seen that doled out to Kent his share of blame in the affair and also commented (in some detail) on his previous "jerkiness." According to the article, Kent repeatedly called Milton an "idiot" in the dugout after Milton failed to score from first on Kent's double. Ostensibly, Kent gives 100% on the field and wants his teammates to do the same. He evidently felt that Milton wasn't giving 100%, and confronted him about it.

That got me to thinking about Kent's views of his other teammates, and his desire to win a championship. In particular, I started thinking about how Kent might view Choi, and whether Kent thinks Choi is a championship-caliber first baseman. I don't recall the specifics, but does anyone else remember that play early in the season when Choi (playing 1B) got in the way of a throw to first (I think from the catcher to Kent, covering the bag)? I remember thinking that Kent seemed pretty annoyed at Choi, and that that was the kind of play that Kent wouldn't tolerate in a teammate.

Long story short, I wouldn't be surprised if Kent (1) wants Choi to be replaced, and (2) told McCourt/Colletti as much.

2005-12-14 09:53:46
125.   molokai
110
Just can't agree with the "Colletti was either fibbing to the press or to himself" comment. Now were going inside a mans head and calling him a liar based on no inside information whatsoever. If at the end of the day he did his due diligence and found that Milton had to go then having a conversation with him would change nothing.
2005-12-14 10:05:17
126.   Midwest Blue
Jon - I get your point. But I don't agree. I can easily accept that Ned felt he did what needed to be done w/o talking to Bradley. We may never know why he thought that was the best way to handle it. But I wouldn't presume that not talking to Bradley and saying that he did "everything he could" are contrary statements. So I hope that makes it clear for you and for everybody, the actions and statements of Ned are not necessarily contradictory in my mind.
2005-12-14 10:06:25
127.   Midwest Blue
BTW: Dan Patrick just announced at the top of his show that he may have a scoop about the Dodgers and the Yankees in 20 min.
2005-12-14 10:12:57
128.   Daniel Zappala
123 Yes, just added my first name.
2005-12-14 10:51:04
129.   Jon Weisman
125, 126 - I hear you. I'm willing to agree to disagree.
2005-12-14 11:00:34
130.   alnyden
Jon, it was innacurate of me to conclude you blamed Cloetti for the situation. You're right, you never said that. My main point was that you are not giving him the benefit of the doubt where he deserves it. It seems to me there are plenty of good reasons, listed in post 114, that talking to Bradley would not have made any real difference.

"What I did say was that (signing Furcal) closed the door to bad character alone being cause for termination."

I have to respectfully disagree that signing Furcal closes the door. There are different levels of bad character and every situation has to be judged on it's own. As for Bradley, I think he was given more than enough opportunity to turn his act around. As for Furcal, I don't really know if he's changed or not. Again, I am giving Coletti the benefit of the doubt here.

I think at the heart of this Bradley debate is the fact that you, along with the rest of us, were really rooting for a happy ending. We all want to see a guy get the best of his problems. I think a big part of your reaction is disappointment. Once again, Dodger fans do not have a happy ending. I would argue, however, this was the risk Depo took getting a guy with problems and the risk did not pay off. Hopefully we are not repeating history with Furcal.

2005-12-14 11:04:28
131.   Jon Weisman
130 - I think that's fair for the most part. Like I said in 129 and in my new post this morning, we can disagree about the talking to Milton issue.
2005-12-14 11:15:13
132.   Fletch
Downright a terrible deal. Not discussing the personnell issues the Dodgers, with a new GM & manager nonetheless, is bush league. You sit down with Bradley and discuss and set groundrules. If he can't abide, then you deal him.

The trade is awful. Doesn't do anything for me or the team. Also doesn't give us a hint into the plans Colletti has for the team. Another assumption there, that he actually does have plans.

2005-12-14 11:52:25
133.   Midwest Blue
132 - I like the Bill Mueller signing and I think another outfielder (or two) is in the offing. Until Ned signs those, we won't have a clear picture of the offense and therefore it would be premature to judge the impact of the Bradley trade.

I'd still like to see Ned put a deal together to get Abreu and then another starter (Garland?) I know that people have said that might be dead, but Bradley to the A's was supposedly dead, too and that seemed to get new life quickly.

2005-12-14 15:48:43
134.   norcalblue
I'm trying hard--very hard-- to accept this trade as the best deal Ned could get. Here's what I see:

1. Ned's assessment that MB could not be accepted back in the clubhouse is clear evidence that he intended to non-tender the man next week, absent a deal that improved the team.

2. In effect, Ned saw the deal as Perez for Ethier. Given the soon-to-be-announced signing of Mueller, Perez was clearly odd man out. Ethier, a legitimate prospect, was better than anything Ned could get for either Perez/MB--individually or collectively.

3. Moving MB to the American League made Oakland the preferred partner even if Pittsburgh or Chicago has come up with a player comparable to Ethier--which they did not.

2005-12-14 15:52:35
135.   norcalblue
110-I'm there. Given the individuals inside (Kent, Drew) and outside (McCourts) the clubhouse that Ned is undoubtedly including in this reference, nothing MB could have said would have mattered.

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