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Milton Madness

Milton Bradley
And we thought the opening road trip was bad. The Mariners are in a bad free fall right now, and they are bound to hit rock bottom soon. The offense is failing spectacularly, the bullpen blew the one lead handed to it in the losing streak, and as of last night, the defense isn't so sure-handed, and players are leaving mid-game.

Or, at least Milton Bradley left mid-game in one of the more puzzling moves you'll ever see. Although Don Wakamatsu did not say why Bradley was pulled, it is clear that it was not an injury.

Let the speculation begin. There are reports that Milton just left, but the honest truth is that we will never know exactly what happened beyond that. As far as I'm concerned, we have no right to know either. There is a reason fans can't buy tickets to go in the clubhouse.

Obviously, we don't see ballplayers leaving like Milton Bradley did last night, and there aren't other ballplayers with a well documented past like Milton's either. It is easy to say this is the latest meltdown of his, and who am I to say it isn't?

I have a sneaking suspicion this one is a little different though.

We don't know what happened last night, but we know that Milton Bradley was at a team function today. He went to an elementary school, as scheduled, with Sweeney, Griffey, Ichiro, and Wak. By all accounts, Bradley gave a moving speech about what motivates him. According to a tweet by Jim Caple, Bradley said that his mother growing up put bills in two piles - bills she could pay, and bills she couldn't. That is what motivates Milton Bradley, according to the man himself.

There were also conversations today, in which Bradley asked for help with something "very personal and emotional."

That's where things get mysterious, and I doubt we will ever know more. However, I think it is safe to say that whatever Bradley is fighting had something to do with his disappearance last night.

More importantly, Milton's actions last night had nothing to do with the media, his teammates, or the organization. The facts that Bradley still showed up for a team function, and also asked for support from the organization, both assert that there are no riffs between him and the organization.

That doesn't excuse what Bradley did last night, and it doesn't make him any less of a headache or distraction. However, if a riff was forming, this situation would be toxic. It isn't. It's challenging, and unfair to the rest of the team, but I think this clubhouse is capable of handling it.

What happened last night was bad. Whatever Milton is going through is bad. The situation isn't cancerous though, and that's what I think makes it different (especially from Chicago).

As an M's fan, I know enough now to breathe easier than I was late last night. The situation, both on and off the field, has to get better. It can though.