KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP)—Milton Bradley stormed out of the Texas Rangers clubhouse after an 11-5 victory Wednesday night over Kansas City and bounded up four flights of stairs looking for Royals television announcer Ryan Lefebvre.
Bradley, who led the AL with a .333 batting average heading into Thursday’s games, heard what he considered derogatory remarks made by Lefebvre on a TV in the Rangers clubhouse.
General manager Jon Daniels and manager Ron Washington were close behind and intercepted Bradley, who was the designated hitter Wednesday, before he reached Lefebvre.
“I don’t want to get necessarily into the details,” Daniels said. “He was upset. Someone who doesn’t know him was passing judgment on TV. It was obvious he was hurt by the comments.”
Bradley never reached Lefebvre, although he was within about 20 feet of him in the TV booth before being led back down to the clubhouse.
“There was no incident,” Daniels said.
Upon returning to the clubhouse, Bradley screamed at teammates and broke down in tears.
“I’m tired of people bringing me down,” Bradley said. “It wears on you. I love you guys, all you guys. I’m strong, but I’m not that strong. All I want to do is play baseball and make a better life for my kid than I had.”
Several of Bradley’s teammates consoled him after he calmed down.
Lefebvre, who is the son of former major league manager Jim Lefebvre, said he met with Daniels and Washington about his on-the-air comments, but did not talk to Bradley. Lefebvre said the comments were intended to praise Josh Hamilton, who missed nearly four years of professional baseball with cocaine and alcohol additions, rather than tear down Bradley.
“It was a conversation about how Josh Hamilton has turned his life around and has been accountable for his mistakes,” Lefebvre told The Associated Press. “Right now, it seems like the baseball world and fans are rooting for him. … It doesn’t seem like Milton Bradley has done the same thing in his life.”
The oft-injured Bradley has a history of losing his temper.
He slammed a plastic bottle at the feet of a fan in the right-field seats at Dodger Stadium in 2004 after someone threw it on the field. With San Diego in the pennant chase last September, he tore the ACL in his right knee when he was spun to the ground by Padres manager Bud Black, who was trying to keep him from an umpire.
He was suspended for five games after slamming the bottle, and had a four-game suspension for tossing a bag of balls onto the field after an ejection. There was a dugout confrontation with Cleveland manager Eric Wedge during spring training in 2004 before getting traded to Los Angeles.
Bradley claimed umpire Mike Winters baited the player into the confrontation and directed a profanity at him last September. Winters was suspended the final five days of the regular season and didn’t work the postseason.
“We weren’t singling out Milton Bradley,” Lefebvre said. “We also spent a lot of time complimenting Milton Bradley, but that’s not what he heard when he was in the clubhouse.
“We weren’t tearing up Milton Bradley. I told (Washington and Daniels) this wasn’t a Milton Bradley rip session, but just based on the pictures we’ve seen in this series of him walking to the dugout all the way to right field, dropping his bat, making gestures to the fans in right field and above the dugout and taunting them. He’s the only person in baseball I know that does that type of stuff.”