Bradley Rips Beane, Brings Up Race Issue

By John Shea and Susan Slusser
Updated: August 5, 2007

SAN DIEGO — Perhaps this is what happens when a team performs below expectations, but all is not sweetness and light around the Oakland A’s these days.

For several weeks, there has been a lot of grumbling in the clubhouse, which has increased as the A’s place in the standings has plummeted. Then, on Saturday, former Oakland outfielder Milton Bradley delivered a blistering assessment of A’s general manager Billy Beane in a published report and he expounded on the topic Saturday in an extensive conversation with The Chronicle.

“Billy just has a way of thinking he’s smarter and better than everyone else, and I don’t take kindly to the better-than-you attitude,” Bradley said at Petco Park before the Giants played the Padres.

“I don’t think Billy cared about how I was. He knew he could use me for cheap and get a lot out of me. So he used me up last year and couldn’t use me up any more. He always told me, when you’re out on the field, you make me look good. I guess I wasn’t out there to make him look good enough.

“I don’t like to be lied to. Tell me the truth. You tell me I’m not an everyday player, and I just have to laugh at you because there’s not a player they’ve got over there that’s better than me. It’s just a joke.”

From the day Bradley was designated, June 21, there had been rumors of a spat between Beane and Bradley during a June 20 meeting.

“He already made up his mind before we went into any kind of meeting,” Bradley said. “He tells me, ‘If I don’t see you in the office before you leave here today, then your bags are packed.’ I called my agent right then and there, ‘Get on the horn, find some other team. Because I don’t want to be here any more.’ ”

Later, according to several sources, Bradley yelled at Beane, “Get out of the clubhouse, no one wants you here. You’re not a player, you’re not the manager, everyone’s sick of you coming in here.”

On Saturday, Bradley said, “I didn’t appreciate a lot of people being in the clubhouse. There were too many people in there. It’s not big enough for all that. Every time you look around, (Beane is) walking in the clubhouse, and then he has a smart comment to say to somebody.”

“He told (Bobby) Kielty, ‘Oh, you’re stealing money.’ Guys are working hard. Nobody wants to be hurt. I guess he forgot about that because he doesn’t play anymore. It’s just, every other day you come in the clubhouse, all the doors to the training room are closed, the office is closed, everything’s a secret, and meetings all the time. It just gets old.”

Beane said Saturday that he did not hear Bradley’s rant, and he reiterated that Bradley was moved because his playing time was going to drop off after he came off the disabled list. Perhaps the main reason Bradley was considered expendable, however, was that he could not stay healthy: He was on the DL five times in his year and a half with Oakland.

Bradley said during his meeting with Beane, “I just told him, ‘I didn’t appreciate (manager) Bob Geren not telling me I was playing until an hour before the game on the last day. I was told I wasn’t going to be activated until we went to New York, and then an hour before the game all of a sudden I’m activated so you can designate me, trade me or put me out there to show I can play so you can trade me.’ Then you try to push out to the fans that it’s injuries or I’m not an everyday player or all this stuff. If I play half the season, I put up better numbers than anybody they got. It’s just nonsense.”

Beane said Saturday he does not wish to engage in a public debate with Bradley and said only, “I wish him well, I wish him good luck. That’s really it. Milton is in a good situation.”

Bradley hinted to the Oakland Tribune that there were other factors involved in his departure, mentioning that other black players, such as Terrence Long, Chris Singleton, Jermaine Dye and Frank Thomas also have moved on in recent years.

Long and Singleton, however, both had public disagreements with former manager Ken Macha over playing time and communication, and Dye reportedly had a strained relationship with Macha. Thomas left for Toronto because he was offered more money and years there and he always has said complimentary things about Beane.

Shannon Stewart, the A’s remaining black player, said, “All I can say is that Billy Beane has given me an opportunity to play when most teams wouldn’t. I don’t think it’s a black/white issue. I’m here playing and Billy has been good to me.”