Bradley, Meche and the rush to judgment

Milton Bradley was arrested on Tuesday afternoon on a felony count of making a “criminal threat.” Details have been sketchy so far (but Hardball Talk is doing a good job of keeping up on the story). “Code section 422” of the California penal code was cited.

With $12 million remaining on the three-year, $30 million deal Bradley signed with Jim Hendry and the Cubs after the 2008 season, Bradley invites many unflattering comparisons to someone who also made the news on Tuesday: Kansas City Royals pitcher Gil Meche, the default ace of the Royals staff when healthy. He announced Tuesday afternoon that he would be retiring, thus forgoing the $12 million Kansas City owner David Glass still owed him.

Superficially, the details are alike, with their ages (32 for Meche and 33 for Bradley) and the near-identical length and size of their contracts, but that’s about it. Meche is retiring because, he says, he doesn’t want to spend another year in the big leagues as a struggling reliever while recovering from surgery. The move is being played by journalists as a move by a man filled with integrity.

In Bradley’s case, the details can’t be much more frightening than they already are. Domestic violence is no laughing matter and, if the DA decides that there is enough evidence to prove the charges, things could go down the drain pretty quickly. But, unless the case leads to conviction, there is a good chance that Bradley will not lose a penny on his contract. Either way, there is hardly room for the word “integrity” in these Bradley stories.

Linking the two players in any way besides their age and contract status is counter-productive and unfair. Their similar contract terms are merely happenstance, as is their age. And the public perception of Milton Bradley is bad enough as it is; people shouldn’t be pouring gasoline on the flames—especially when we don’t know the full story. Comparing Bradley to a clean-cut Meche who is already being touted as a “good guy” for his decision only seeks to harm Bradley while doing nothing but incite controversy.

Until we know the full story behind each player, I hope that we can withhold judgment. There’s a lot to uncover and it serves no one to artificially speed up the process.

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Comments

  1. rbt said...

    I’m not trying to draw a correlation between the two players at all – in fact, if I hadn’t read it in the media, it would never have occurred to me to do so in the first place – but I’m wondering:  I can buy that we don’t know the full story on the Bradley incident, but what “full story” do we not know behind Meche?  He’s been pretty upfront about his reasons and motivations.

  2. Larry Granillo said...

    I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to imply that there was more to the story about Meche, though I see now that I did. I was mostly concerned with the full story behind Bradley.

    We don’t, however, know all the details about Meche’s retirement. Unless I’ve missed something, there’s still a chance that it’ll be revealed that Meche and the Royals worked something out and he will get to keep some of his money. Not that that is anywhere close to the type of “full story” we’re missing with Bradley…

  3. rbt said...

    Both Meche himself and Dayton Moore have stated unequivically that he is not taking any money.  I see no reason why they would state that if it were not true and they had actually worked out some sort of buyout.

  4. CircleChange11 said...

    “And the public perception of Milton Bradley is bad enough as it is; people shouldn’t be pouring gasoline on the flames—especially when we don’t know the full story. Comparing Bradley to a clean-cut Meche who is already being touted as a “good guy” for his decision only seeks to harm Bradley while doing nothing but incite controversy.”

    Seems like a strange paragrph to write in a article that brings up the two names and places them together, and then assigns the word “integrity” to one, and well “trouble” to the other.

    Is this article in response to someone comparing the two players? I ask because I never would have lumped those two together in a comparative fashion had I not read the pairing in this article.

    The article seems to compare the two players, insinuate the conclusion … but then warns about an unfair comparison. It doesn;t sound like that was the intent, so I am wondering if I am missing something.

  5. Larry Granillo said...

    rbt: Thanks. I hadn’t heard that they had spoke directly to the press yet.

    CircleChange: It was kind of anticipatory. Immediately after the Bradley news came out, I saw a good number of people (including writers) make comments about how it’s unfair that Bradley will make his $12 million this year while Meche will be forfeiting his. I expected to see the link be made in a couple of articles throughout the day, but it didn’t really happen. Which is a good thing, I think, since that’s what I was warning against – but it certainly makes this piece less relevant.

  6. threeyearsaway said...

    Meche is pretty classy for forgoing that kind of money; I’m not sure there is even a precedent for that.

    I don’t think it’s entirely out of the blue for Meche to take the season off and maybe try to rehab enough to get into playing shape in time for 2012, though it’s unlikely.

  7. philosofool said...

    @threeyearsaway Kenji Jojima is the nearest I can think of as a precedent for Bradley. He asked to be released from a big contract to play ball in Japan for what I’m certain was far less money.

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