Milton Bradley’s checkered career has received another black square.
It’s a shame a guy with such talent (very quietly, he led the American League in OPS just three years ago) has never been able to avoid issues on the field, in the clubhouse or wherever his tempestuous behavior can get him into trouble.
Many teammates have defended Bradley over the years, some saying he is misunderstood. Still, the laundry list of suspensions, arguments and off-field incidents have caused enough people to put Bradley on their list. The bad one.
Fortunately for Bradley, there are others who might draw the ire of fans at a greater rate. In no particular order, here are five enemies of the state:
1. Alex Rodriguez
A-Rod has a knack for making mundane activities annoy the crap out of people. He’s the kind of guy who can seem full of himself playing Santa Claus at a Boys and Girls Club. The massive contract is his curse, but a steroids admission, a string of Hollywood blondes, his odd-looking glossy lips and his status as the cleanup hitter for the Yankees do not help his cause.
2. Manny Ramirez
For anyone who ever won a coach’s or spirit award in high school simply because they hustled, Ramirez is an insult. He was such a problem child in Boston that the Red Sox saw fit to get rid of one of the best hitters in franchise history, just to clean up the clubhouse. When Ramirez returned to Fenway Park last June, the tight-lipped replies by a few of his former teammates spoke volumes to their lack of appreciation. The boos from fans tired of his lazy act and his steroid boost have the same effect. Some absolutely love the guy. Others most certainly do not.
3. Francisco Rodriguez
He had a pregame war of words at Yankee Stadium in 2009 and then a postgame attack on his father-in-law in 2010, not exactly a pattern one wants to keep in order to win support. He also has 268 career saves, which means there have been 268 times where an entire dugout had their own thoughts about throwing a few haymakers.
4. Carlos Zambrano
He has a little bit of Francisco Rodriguez in him, but his targets are usually Gatorade coolers. That tirade should actually win him some fans based purely on its entertainment value, but it’s getting harder for Cubs fans to stomach the $91.5 million contract that has coincided with a decline in Zambrano’s effectiveness. He may not be a bad guy, per se, but his likability factor is rather low.
5. Shelley Duncan
We all know about his uncanny resemblance to that guy from Scream. The Tampa Bay Rays know him as the guy who started a brawl in spring training a few years ago by spiking Akinori Iwamura. The Red Sox know him as the guy who was in the middle of a bench-clearing incident at Fenway Park last season, screaming (pun intended) his head off at Josh Beckett. Just doesn’t seem like someone who gets into too many wedding parties. More like someone who crashes weddings and then leaves with shrimp in his pocket and a tie wrapped around his head.
Which other players do baseball fans love to hate? Leave your thoughts below.