Bradley: Reporter pushed 'fan treatment' issue

Updated: October 8, 2004, 11:03 AM ET
Associated Press

ST. LOUIS -- Milton Bradley was back in the Los Angeles Dodgers' lineup Thursday, going 2-for-3 with a home run, double and walk one day after a clubhouse confrontation between the outfielder and a reporter he called an "Uncle Tom."

Rich Levin, a spokesman for the commissioner's office, said major league baseball officials had made several telephone calls on the matter. Levin said there will not be an investigation.

"We're satisfied the two sides are working together to resolve the situation," Levin said in New York.

Several fans booed Bradley in each of his four plate appearances on Tuesday, when the Cardinals beat the Dodgers 8-3 in the opener of their best-of-five NL playoff series. That was Bradley's first game following a five-game suspension assessed for a bottle-throwing tantrum during a win over Colorado in Los Angeles.

Jason Reid of the Los Angeles Times asked Bradley on Wednesday about his treatment by St. Louis fans.

Bill Dwyre, the Times' sports editor, said several reporters in the Dodgers' clubhouse Wednesday said Bradley didn't like Reid's question. According to eyewitnesses and Reid's tape, Bradley said, "You're an Uncle Tom. You're a sellout."

Reid, who is black, took offense and began yelling at Bradley, who also is black, Dwyre said.

"We're terribly unhappy on how and why this happened," Dwyre said in a statement. "We back our reporter from every angle of this. We also agree with the Dodgers in the sense that this is something that can, and will be worked out between these two people."

Bradley declined interview requests after the game, and Reid declined to answer questions. Bradley's fourth-inning homer off Jason Marquis tied the score 3-all.

Bradley, speaking to Los Angeles' KCBS-TV on Wednesday claimed Reid kept pushing the issue and wouldn't leave him alone.

"He was just one of those guys who wants to keep harping on it," Bradley told KCBS-TV. "I told him what I felt about the situation and I told him how I felt about how he was choosing to handle it. ... He took offense to that and ... started getting physical with me. He had to be restrained by several people in the clubhouse as, you know, I was walking away to leave the situation alone."

Major league officials planned to review the confrontation to determine if an investigation would be required.

Lon Rosen, the team's executive vice president and chief marketing officer, said that "ultimately this is an issue that needs to be settled between the two individuals, and we will work with them toward that end."

"I think our focus here should be exactly what we're here for, that we're playing a very important baseball game today," Dodgers manager Jim Tracy said. "That's where the focus needs to stay. The situation where it wound up yesterday is something where the two individuals need to get worked out."

A Fox Sports Net Midwest television crew filmed the incident but erased it at the insistence of a Dodgers spokesman, FSN reporter Brent Stover said.

Bradley last week apologized for the bottle-throwing tantrum and said he would seek help for his anger problems.

He was suspended for four games earlier this season after throwing a bag of balls onto the field following an ejection.

Bradley hit .267 with 19 homers and 67 RBI during the 2004 season. He went 1-for-3 in Game 1.

"That has nothing to do with the team, so we're just focusing on winning ballgames," Dodgers closer Eric Gagne said. "That's not the first time it's happened and it won't be the last time, so we're just going to go on and take care of business and take care of baseball, get on the field and focus on baseball."

Bradley hit a 461-foot homer Thursday that tied the score 3-all in the fourth and doubled in the fifth, grabbing his left hamstring but staying in the game. Bradley walked in the second and struck out in the eighth.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press