Milton, the Media, and sensationalizing


Milton Bradley has problems. We know this. We have known it essentially since he came into Major League Baseball. There is no reason to point this out. He’s a crazy bastard who yells and screams and has issues, but he takes walks, hits the ball, and plays ok defense. We know all we need to know about him already.

Why, then, does the media insist on creating the news instead of reporting it?

Ok, yes, it is a story to say that Milton Bradley packed up his things and literally left the stadium during a baseball game. I understand that. But why do we have to get analysis from people who are just looking to get their name out there? From journalists just looking to stir the pot and rock the boat so they can gain some notoriety for breaking a controversial story?

As a journalist, I understand that it is dangerous to make assumptions, and I am doing just that by assuming what these journalists’ motives are. Though, they did all make assumption about Bradley’s motives and character before they had all of the facts about the issue.

So, assumption or not, this needs to be said. The sports media wants to make mountains out of molehills, usually so that specific journalist can gain popularity in hopes of getting a bigger job. The sad thing is, this usually works.

My goal is to one day be a sports journalist or columnist, and if I am ever reporting in that way, I expect my readers to call me out on it. I want to report the news and analyze the players’ play. Not analyze someone’s character based on seeing them play a game for three hours a night, then listen to them tell me some cliches. I don’t know enough about someone to make a judgment based on that kind of information.

When journalists do things like what they did to Milton today, calling him selfish and a bad guy without all the facts, it reflects poorly on all of us who write about sports. I definitely respect Mike Salk and Brock Huard in this town, but they lost a little bit of my respect by contributing, with the rest of the Seattle media, to blowing this way out of proportion.

It seems that if Milton breaks his bat on a strikeout, or tosses his bat six inches too high on a walk (or in some cases, a called 3rd strike that he thinks is a walk) the sports media is quick to scrutinize and paint it as though it is the worst thing a player can possibly do.

Why do you think he hated the media in Chicago?! Did you, the Seattle Sports Media see why he acted the way he did in Chicago?

When a man has a temper, and is emotionally volatile, perhaps we shouldn’t criticize him for the little things. If Ken Griffey Jr. broke his bat in anger over a strikeout, no one would make a big deal of it. They’d be surprised, Griffey would say something, and it’d be forgotten tomorrow.

But not with Milton. Journalists know they can get a soundbite out of a guy like Milton, because they know he gets mad easily. Then, they criticize him for getting mad. Well, I have a few questions for these journalists.

-Have you ever gotten mad at something seemingly insignificant?
-Does it bother you to have your behavior scrutinized from time to time?
-Would your level of anger escalate if you were criticized, questioned, and egged on about every mistake you made?
-Would you consider it fair if baseball players called you immature, irresponsible, and selfish? (Because based on what I’ve seen said about Milton, you are no more mature, responsible, or selfless.)
-What came first, the chicken or the egg?

There are writers who constantly strive to stir the pot. Tracy Ringolsby, Bill Plaschke, Geoff Baker, Jay Mariotti, Woody Paige, etc. They all can do their job reporting the game, but when it comes time to analyze, it is nothing but venomous, uninformed garbage.

Sorry Geoff, I used to respect you (a lot, even), then you wrote that mock conversation post. I didn’t ever want to include you on a list like this, but you gave me no choice by showing that, sadly, you have just as much hubris as the other names. I don’t like to personally attack in my writing, but sometimes, you just need to be called out when you do something that makes one lose respect for you. When anyone does something worth of being called out over, in my opinion, it is deserved.

In this situation–and many others–it is deserved.

Shame on you, Seattle media.