Well here's some shocking news. Maybe, just maybe, it wasn't Milton Bradley's fault after all.
I'm sure that most of you have either seen, heard, or read about San Diego Padres outfielder Milton Bradley's run-in with first base umpire Mike Winters on Sunday afternoon (it's the run-in that brought about the Astros dumping Jason Lane on the Pads).
Bradley got into an argument with Winters after he discovered that Winters had accused him of tossing a bat at the home plate umpire. After a loud of exchange of words, Bradley charged after Winters. In the tussle, Padres manager Bud Black tackled Bradley before he could get connect with the umpire -- arguing with an umpire is a lot less of a suspension than making physical contact with an umpire. Bradley tore up one of his ACLs in the tackle, and will miss the rest of this season, as well as most of next season.
Following the incident, Bradley claimed innocence and stated that it was the umpire's fault. Bradley has a reputation for causing problems -- that's why the Padres picked him up after the Indians, Dodgers, and A's gave up on him -- and he's had multiple suspensions. So it was easy to make fun of Bradley.
However, both Black and the Padres first base coach Bobby Meacham squarely put the blame on Winters. Meacham said he'd never heard things like he did on Sunday -- statements coming from the umpire and directed at the player. And Black said that it was obvious Winters was trying to bait Bradley into a confrontation. Both agreed that Winters directed profanity at Bradley.
And it appears that Major League Baseball agrees with the Padres in that MLB punishment czar Bob Watson has just suspended Winters for the rest of the season. Winters is the first umpire to be suspended since 2003.
There's no word on whether Bradley's going to face punishment from MLB, though it can be argued that a career-threatening injury may be the most appropriate of punishments. -- John Royal