So, remember when Milton Bradley went all crazy in his first at-bat at Wrigley? That was fun. On April 16, in the bottom of the sixth with the game tied at 4 and the bases loaded, Bradley took what appeared to be an obvious ball four, which would have walked a run in. Instead, umpire Larry Vanover punched Bradley out. Bradley went, well, how should we put this? He lost his s--t.
He freaked out. He turned to Vanover, started yelling, and Vanover immediately threw him out of the game. Later, Bradley was given a two-game suspension for allegedly bumping Vanover in the altercation. So went Milton's first at-bat at Wrigley Field as a Cub. Fun stuff.
Cubs fans might wish to just forget the whole thing -- perhaps let its memory wash away with the whole of Milton's April -- and that would be fair. But Bradley's MLB appeals hearing came up Wednesday. Guess what? Milton's still right about the suspension:
The hearing was done by conference call with Bradley and a Cubs representative at Minute Maid Park. Also participating were Vanover and a representative from the umpires' organization, plus officials from Major League Baseball. The tape of the incident was replayed.
"I watched the whole video for the first time [Wednesday]," Bradley said. "You can see when I walked around the catcher, there was no cursing on my part, not threats. [Vanover] took off his mask and walked toward me. You can actually see me stepping back. You'd need a forensic expert [to see a bump].
"I'm a 220-pound guy. If I bump into you, there's going to be a reaction. I wasn't happy about being tossed. It was my first at-bat at Wrigley. It was not what I wanted.
Cubs.com actually has video of the play live on their site, and you can see what Milton's talking about: He certainly screams at Vanover, sure, and whether or not he's cursing is hard to say. But it's pretty obvious that Bradley didn't bump the ump, and if that was the cause for his two-game suspension, that's not right.
In the end, it's just a couple of games, so if Bradley has to serve them anyway, fine. So be it. But good for him for standing up to Major League Baseball when he's in the right. Past issues aside, Bradley deserves this decision.
Eamonn Brennan is a Chicago-based writer, editor and blogger. You can also read him at Yahoo! Sports, Mouthpiece Sports Blog, and Inside The Hall, or at his personal site, eamonnbrennan.com. Follow him on Twitter.