Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Bonds will break record in San Diego

Bad news for Padres fans.

Barry Bonds is going to break Hank Aaron’s all-time home run record in San Diego this weekend.

Doesn’t it figure he will do it against the Padres?

After all, Bonds has 86 career home runs against San Diego. He does not have more than 65 against any other team.

Bonds also hit No. 700 off Jake Peavy of the Padres.

And speaking of the Padres, aces Chris Young and Peavy will not pitch this weekend against San Francisco.

Bonds probably won’t hit record-breaker No. 756 Friday night against Greg Maddux. But don’t be surprised if it comes Saturday against Tim Stauffer or Sunday off Justin Germano.

Let’s hope we’re wrong. Just the thought of Bonds breaking the record in San Diego makes me ill.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Will Chargers follow patterns in 2007?

If you read the San Diego Union-Tribune, two conclusions can be drawn about the Chargers:

They have won an NFL-high 35 regular-season games the past three seasons because A.J. Smith is such a great general manager.

They are 0-2 in the playoffs during that time because Marty Schottenheimer is a horrible head coach.

So, enter Norv Turner as head coach in 2007.

This is the same Turner who is 58-82-1 as a head coach; the same guy whose offenses have ranked 13th or lower in NFL scoring during seven of his nine years as a head coach.

Schottenheimer came to the Chargers with a reputation of being a great regular-season coach without the ability to win in the playoffs. He lived up to his reputation with 47 regular-season wins in five San Diego seasons; more than doubling the team’s win total over the previous five years.

Turner has the reputation as a superb offensive coordinator who can’t motivate as a head coach. Jerry Rice, the greatest receiver in NFL history, took Turner to task during his two seasons with the Raiders for an inability to motivate.

Schottenheimer lived up to his billing in San Diego as an outstanding regular season and poor postseason coach.

If Turner follows his coaching pattern, the Chargers will not even make the playoffs this year.

Stay tuned ...

Friday, July 27, 2007

Gwynn is first true Padre Hall of Famer

Enjoy the moment!

When you watch Tony Gwynn being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday, remember that he is the first true Padre ever to be elected to the Hall.

Dave Winfield went in as a Padre, but he is the same Dave Winfield who couldn’t wait to get out of San Diego after his contract expired in 1980.

Gwynn, the real Mr. Padre, had a career that may never be paralleled in Padres history. Consider:

Eight NL Batting Titles (tied with Honus Wagner for the league record)
15-time NL All-Star
Seven Sporting News Silver Slugger Awards
Five Sporting News All-League Selections
Seven-Time Most Valuable Padre
Five Rawlings Gold Glove Awards
Five-Time NL Player of the Month
Roberto Clemente Award in 1999 for community service
Branch Rickey Award for Community Service by a Major League Player in 1995
Chairman’s Award for Outstanding Community Service by a Padres Player in 1995
Commissioner’s Historic Achievement Award in 2001
Four Consecutive Batting Titles (1994-97)
Seven NL Hit Titles
Seven NL Singles Titles
16 Consecutive Seasons with .300 or Higher Batting Average (1984-99)

Indeed, enjoy the moment Sunday!

(Source: 2007 San Diego Padres Media Guide)

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Will Arizona win NL West?

The Padres have lost five of six and are in a panic mode.

The Dodgers have lost five of seven and seem to be swimming upstream against the current.

So, how about those Arizona Diamondbacks to win the NL West?

The Diamondbacks, who have won five straight, are just 1 ½ games behind the division-leading Dodgers. They are one-half game behind the Padres; who can’t hit … and suddenly can’t pitch.

As much as the Padres might try to spin it differently, the Scott Linebrink trade for three minor leaguers with Milwaukee was not about this season. If it were, pitchers such as Jake Peavy and David Wells would not have been so outspoken about it.

Linebrink has been terrible lately, but who hasn’t among the Padres? Take away Chris Young, Milton Bradley and Brian Giles (at times), then tell me who has been shining this month.

Marcus Giles looks to be all but history at second base. Michael Barrett has yet to draw a walk in the five weeks since the Padres obtained him from the Chicago Cubs; this on a team that prides itself on going deep in the count at the plate.

It may look grim here, but how about those Dodgers and the injuries they keep piling up?

Any votes for Arizona to win the division?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Hampson is Padres' unsung hero

Without a doubt, Justin Hampson is the unsung hero of the Padres.

For the third time this season, Hampson bailed the Padres out of a desperate situation in last night’s 5-3 win at Colorado.

After Chris Young left with a strained oblique muscle before the third inning, Hampson came on to pitch 3 2/3 shutout innings.

It was the continuation of a trend whereby Hampson has been the go-to guy whenever the Padres needed someone the most.

Remember the June 16 game at Chicago when Young was ejected for an altercation with Derrek Lee? Hampson was summoned to pitch 3 1/3 innings of shutout relief.

Or how about the April 29 game when the Padres and Dodgers went 17 innings? Hampson allowed just one unearned run over the last four innings … and probably would have pitched all night if the Padres asked him to do so.

The Padres better not send Hampson back to the minor leagues again. He’s too valuable in those grunt roles that nobody else on this team seems willing … or able … to fill.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Congrats Alpine; Go, Solana Beach!

What a run by the Alpine American Little League All-Stars!

This was the best team in Alpine American history, winning both District and Sectional championships.

Only a heartbreaking 3-2 loss to Solana Beach in eight innings Monday night will keep Alpine from making a possible run at the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.

But what a year to remember!

This team had heart, and it tore the hearts of everyone in attendance from Alpine at Chollas Lake Little League when the team was eliminated.

Even then, Alpine showed its fighting spirit by coming back from a 1-0 deficit with two runs in the top of the sixth.

Congratulations go out to all team members ... and to announcers Marc Bailey and Chuck Taylor of Lite 107.9 FM in Alpine for keeping the community informed of the happenings with this magnificent team.

On a night when the Padres’ bullpen blew a three-run lead in the eighth inning (again), Solana Beach’s bullpen held tough in extra innings to secure the victory.

Best of luck to Solana Beach from here on out as San Diego County’s representative. All the folks in Alpine hope to see the classy team from Solana Beach in the Little League World Series one month from now!

(Photo courtesy of The Alpine Sun)

Monday, July 23, 2007

Stick a fork in Padres?

The Padres is dead.

(Hopefully, we’re only saying that with tongue in cheek.)

We all know this team couldn’t hit if it faced Double-A pitching.

But now, it’s obvious that the pitching staff is becoming burned out from carrying the team all season.

Or did you not watch the last three losses against the Fighting Phillies of Philadelphia?

Starting pitchers Justin Germano, David Wells and Jake Peavy allowed 15 runs in 15 2/3 innings. They were only bottomed-out by a bullpen that gave up 13 runs in 11 1/3 innings.

The Padres are also gaining a reputation around the National League for excessive whining.

For instance, the Padres kept complaining yesterday (and rightfully so) that some Phillies’ batters did not have their back foot in the batter’s box. That made television announcers Harry Kalas, Chris Wheeler and Gary Matthews on CW Philadelphia laugh aloud and wonder why the Padres were not complaining about this Thursday when Chris Young was pitching a shutout.

For now, the Padres are a laughingstock. The same thing happened last year when San Diego came out of the All-Star break and was swept by Atlanta by giving up 36 runs in three games.

The Padres were good enough to bounce back last year. This year ...

Friday, July 20, 2007

Alpine Little League stars shine brightly

Take a trip east to the San Diego County village town of Alpine sometime and check out the sky at night.

There are stars by the hundreds to be counted … which is more than you can say about city life in San Diego.

Speaking of stars shining brightly in Alpine, have you heard about the Alpine American Little League All Stars?

This amazing team has won its District and Sectional championships as it awaits a first-round game against Tijeras Creek at noon Saturday at Chollas Lake Little League in the Southern California – South Sub-Divisional.

Tijeras Creek, out of Rancho Santa Margarita, can pound the ball. In its last four games the team has scored 14, 10, 15 and 16 runs.

This came after a 4-1 loss to Long Beach in the Sectional opener, and this is where Sam Pounds comes in for Alpine American.

In his previous game, he pitched a no-hitter in the Sectional finals as Alpine American beat South Bay, 12-0.

Ryan Tanksley sparks Alpine American from his leadoff position in the batting order. The team also has the son of a celebrity in Andrew Grant; whose father, Mark, is a baseball color analyst for Channel 4 San Diego and a former major league pitcher.

No matter what happens from here on out, the back country town of Alpine has plenty to be proud of in its Little League All Stars.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Fighting Phillies are in town

These types of pitching match-ups don’t come along that often.

It’s All-Star Cole Hamels for Philadelphia vs. All-Star Chris Young for the Padres tonight at Petco Park.

What makes the showdown even more intriguing is that Hamels is a local product from Rancho Bernardo High.

Hamels will be pitching in Petco Park for the second time. He gave up three runs in 5 2-3 innings with no decision in San Diego on July 17, 2006.

“My heart was definitely beating the whole time,” Hamels said afterwards. “I haven't had that excitement in a long time. It was great to pitch in my hometown.”

Hamels (11-4, 3.83 ERA) is one win behind National League leader Carlos Zambrano of the Chicago Cubs.

Young (8-3, 1.97), meanwhile, has virtually taken over from Jake Peavy as ace of the Padres.

He leads the majors in ERA and has held the opposition scoreless in five of his last eight starts.

According to the latest odds, the Padres are a 13-10 favorite to win tonight.

Advantage, Young.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Padres throw one away

It’s easy to say the Padres threw one away in their 7-0 loss to the New York Mets last night.

Did you see the bad throw by center fielder Hiram Bocachica on the Mets’ first run? He couldn’t even hit second base on his throw home after a single.

Did you see Mets’ pitcher Orlando Hernandez score from second when Bocachica couldn’t get off a throw from center?

Or how about New York’s David Wright scoring on a fly ball to Brian Giles in short right field?

These are the types of things the Padres can work on during infield practice to correct.

Oops, forgot that teams don’t take infield anymore. Too bad for the Padres.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Peavy is fine: Or is he?

It’s just another start for Jake Peavy against the New York Mets tonight.

Or is it?

The Padres’ ace was pushed back three days in the rotation following the All-Star break because of sore biceps.

“We felt as though it's probably in the best interest of Jake and the club just to push him back a couple days, let his arm rest,” Padres manager Bud Black told Padres.com. “He went at it pretty hard in the first half, and his arm was getting a little weary leading up to the break, and we just felt as though the extra two days would benefit his arm.”

Peavy has only pitched one inning since July 5; that coming in his start for the National League in last Tuesday’s All-Star game.

The bump-back in the rotation may seem like no big deal, until you consider Peavy’s history.

There have been times in the past when the team said he had a little soreness, and that’s all turned out to be. Other times, it was more than soreness.

Peavy is 0-2 with a 3.32 ERA in his last three games. Is it a blip on the radar, or a sign to beware of possible things to come?

We’ll start finding out tonight.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Will Padres' bullpen collapse?

Heath Bell and Doug Brocail are pretty much having career seasons.

Cla Meredith and Scott Linebrink have both hit low points this year, but each is doing well overall.

Royce Ring and Justin Hampson have been adequate in their turns filling the left-hander’s role in the bullpen. Kevin Cameron must be writing a book titled “How I Spent My Summer Vacation Sitting in the Padres Bullpen.”

Trevor Hoffman is still Trevor Hoffman.

However, the Padres bullpen did implode twice this weekend. It cost them a loss Saturday at Arizona, one night after taking away any chance of winning with a poor performance Friday.

The ultimate question: Can the Padres hold up in the bullpen for the duration of 2007?

Judging on the weekend, the answer is negative. But going by the first half of the season, the answer is positive.

The next 2 ½ months will tell whether this bullpen is for real or was just masquerading during the first half of 2007.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Will Padres win the marathon?

Can the Padres continue to out-pitch everybody else in baseball?

Do they have the capability to start scoring runs more than once in a blue moon?

Will the additions of Michael Barrett and Milton Bradley mean anything to their offense?

Does Bud Black have it in him to continue being a master in utilizing his bullpen?

These questions, and more, begin to unfold when the Padres return from the All-Star break tonight with a three-game series at Arizona.

This may be a perfect time to catch the Diamondbacks. They are reeling from five straight losses, including three against lowly Cincinnati.

The Padres’ other main competitor in the NL West, the Dodgers, are making a pitch for anybody to become a starter on the mound.

Three of their top five starters are shelved with injuries: Jason Schmidt, Randy Wolf and Hong-Chih Kuo.

Maybe the Padres can distance themselves from the NL West for the time being. But no matter what happens right after the All-Star break, remember there is still a long way to go.

The Dodgers seemingly took themselves out of contention by losing 13 of 14 games coming out of last year’s break. Then they won 15 of 16, propelling themselves on their way to an eventual first-place tie with the Padres in the NL West.

The marathon is still on. Let’s see which team crosses the finish line first.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

American League Least is no beast

Sure, you’re going to be hearing Yankees-Red Sox all summer on network television stations such as Fox and ESPN.

You know what?

They are both in the American League Least, the only division with just one team having a winning record at the All-Star break.

OK, so the team is the Boston Red Sox; but give us a break. Let’s not go on and on about the AL Least until the playoffs.

This is the first time since divisions were created in 1969 that the AL Least went into the All-Star break with only one team possessing a winning record.

At the 1976 and 1989 All-Star breaks, the division had one team over .500 and one at .500.

My, how times have changed in 2007.

It couldn’t have happened to a better division.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

All-Star Game is losing proposition for Padres

Trevor Hoffman could breathe a little sigh of relief Tuesday night.

Or did you not see how American League relievers J.J. Putz of Seattle and Francisco Rodriguez of Anaheim suffered ninth-inning meltdowns in the All-Star Game?

Hoffman had the same difficulties last year, allowing two ninth-inning runs and becoming the losing pitcher.

Putz and Rodriguez both had their problems last night … and they’re lucky not to have blown the game.

The Padres did suffer another All-Star setback in San Francisco.

Chris Young became the losing pitcher after allowing an inside-the-park home run to Ichiro Suzuki.

This means San Diego has been the home of the All-Star Game’s losing pitcher for two straight years.

Since this is only an “exhibition” game (don’t tell Commissioner Bud Selig), Young and the Padres can certainly shake it off before returning to play Friday night in Arizona.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Peavy deserves All-Star honor

It’s truly an honor for Jake Peavy to be starting tonight’s Major League Baseball All-Star Game for the National League.

Peavy is the type of guy you’d like to have for a teammate because he backs you 100 percent, even if it’s your error that costs him a game.

In fact, the Padres ace is probably as good as it gets when it comes to the teammate category.

The only concern about Peavy starting the All-Star Game is that he tends to get too pumped up for these types of situations.

If he can temper himself, he should be fine – and maybe he’ll even earn the most valuable player as Padres pitcher LaMarr Hoyt did while starting the 1985 All-Star Game.

Last year’s NL starter, Brad Penny of the Dodgers, was never the same after the All-Star contest. He had a horrible second half and probably kept the Dodgers from winning the NL West outright from the Padres.

Peavy can only hope that he one-ups Penny when it comes to the second half of 2007.

And by the way, don’t forget who first predicted Peavy would start the All-Star Game in a blog titled “Peavy looking like an All-Star.” As a reminder, check out this blog from April 27.

Thank you.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Are the Padres becoming whiners?

David Wells approached the home plate umpire Saturday after giving up a home run.

The Padres pitcher argued balls and strikes, was told to return to the mound, then got ejected for coming back to argue more.

Finally, he ended his day with the childish behavior of throwing the ball against the netting behind home plate.

Greg Maddux spent Sunday arguing balls and strikes with the plate umpire. It’s obvious they’re not calling pitches off the plate strikes for him any more.

When Marcus Giles struck out to end Sunday’s 5-4 loss to Atlanta on a called strike off the plate, ESPN announcer Jon Miller said, “Those were the pitches Maddux wanted all night to be strikes.”

The unfortunate question now is: Are the Padres becoming whiners?

Perhaps that should be deferred to other teams.

The Florida Marlins certainly tired of watching Padres leadoff batter Brian Giles draw walks against them. Arguably, a lot of the pitches called balls were the same ones Wells and Maddux were begging for to be strikes.

“Brian Giles is a product of the system,” TV analyst Tommy Hutton said on FSN Florida. “I guarantee you if a few of those borderline pitches would be called strikes, he’d start swinging more.”

Maddux and Wells are being squeezed much more lately, not unlike all other pitchers. But as soon as the umpires start calling those pitches strikes, it’s certainly going to impact Brian Giles’ approach at the plate.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Padres aren't drawing any aces

Sometimes, good fortune can be way beyond your control in baseball.

Take the pitchers you face in a series, for instance.

If you’re playing the Florida Marlins, you don’t want to face Dontrelle Willis. If you are matched up against the Atlanta Braves, the last pitchers you want to bat against are John Smoltz and Tim Hudson.

The Padres just finished playing four games against Florida and now host Atlanta in a three-game weekend series.

They will end the week without having faced Willis, Smoltz or Hudson.

Talk about good fortune.

The Dodgers are playing the same teams this week. They did face Smoltz and Hudson earlier this week, and Willis pitches against them tonight.

For one week, at least, the Padres have nothing to complain about in their luck versus that of the Dodgers concerning things you can’t control.

But there is a flip side. The Padres have such an anemic offense that they make every pitcher look like Willis, Smoltz or Hudson at their best.

That has to change … or else it’s really going to get bad when the Padres are matched up against opponents’ aces again.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Black is managing quite well

Bud Black is doing a masterful job of managing the Padres thus far.

The rookie skipper has made almost all of the right moves and can be praised for two things in particular: his patience and handling of the pitching staff.

Patience was a virtue when Black stuck by rookie third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff while most others wanted him sent to the minors early in the season.

And being a former pitcher and pitching coach, Black has shown he knows how to manage a pitching staff. He certainly deserves much credit for the Padres having the lowest ERA in the major leagues.

Sure, he’s not perfect. He wasted reliever Cla Meredith on an intentional walk Tuesday night because Royce Ring did not have enough time to get warmed up while Greg Maddux was getting battered around in the seventh inning.

But that was an exception.

Black could definitely be considered a frontrunner for Manager of the Year at the halfway point of 2007.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Celebrate the Fourth ... and remember

Go ahead and celebrate. You deserve it!

Independence Day is a time to remember the fact that our nation has been under its own rule for more than 230 years.

So take in the baseball games on the Fourth of July. Enjoy the fireworks!

And remember the Declaration of Independence:

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
John Hancock

Monday, July 2, 2007

Bradley = Trouble with a capital 'T'

Milton Bradley comes to the Padres with the reputation of a troublemaker.

Make that MilTon Bradley because the guy is trouble with a capital "T."

The least of it is that Bradley has been on the disabled list six times the past two seasons. The latest came Sunday when the Padres placed him on the DL with a strained left oblique.

The Oakland Tribune noted that Bradley played up the injury not to go to Kansas City in a proposed recent trade. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that the Athletics had no knowledge of the injury when Bradley used it to scuttle the KC trade.

Bradley’s childish outbursts are well documented. Here’s a list of his on-field acts in 2004 alone; which do not include 2004-05 incidents of domestic violence charges, disorderly conduct or leaving the scene of a traffic stop:

Pulled from an exhibition game by Cleveland for not running hard; traded to the Dodgers four days later.
Throws a bag of balls on the field; earning a $2,500 fine and four-game suspension.
After a fan throws a plastic bottle at him for missing a fly ball, he throws the bottle at the feet of fans; warranting a $15,000 fine and five-game suspension.

Then there’s the Bradley who accused former Dodger teammate Jeff Kent of not being able to deal with African-American teammates. This came after Bradley (again) failed to hustle.

Bradley may have a point about Kent. But if he looks in the mirror, he will see someone with strong evidence suggesting he has problems getting along with non-black players. (Or even black reporters, such as the one from the Los Angeles Times he referred to as an "Uncle Tom.")

That could be a real issue in San Diego. The Padres have only two other black players: Mike Cameron and Terrmel Sledge. And Bradley’s acquisition may mean the end of Sledge with the Padres.

The Padres, who acquired the multi-talented Bradley without a physical, are probably going on the theory that new employees tend not to create waves within their first three months on the job. Once the season is over, Bradley can leave as a free agent.

Since moving to Petco Park in 2004, the Padres have had amazing team chemistry while being a proven winner. Bradley certainly has the potential to blow up that chemistry lab.