There seems to be a feeling in some quarters around here that The Times is not pulling for the Dodgers.
Well, I'm here to tell you that when I heard Eric Gagne had grabbed a Times reporter a few days ago and escorted him from the clubhouse to protect Milton Bradley, I put a call in to baseball officials. I wanted Gagne credited with a save.
It might be his only chance to ever get a postseason save, working for the Dodgers.
NOW I'D imagine we're about nine innings away from giving Bradley the chance to begin work on that anger-management problem, but I still worry about some of our e-mailers.
A number of people think Times beat reporter Jason Reid never should have asked Bradley how the fans in St. Louis reacted to his first appearance on the field after a five-game suspension for getting into it with his own fans.
They are correct, in this respect: The Times should have had someone ask Bradley that question the night before, immediately after his first game back, in the name of timely news. Tell me you wouldn't have wanted to know what he was thinking.
In cleaning up that oversight, Reid was doing something that is done 100 times over every day in every clubhouse. He asked for a player's reaction to something that had happened, or will happen, and although this particular player has been documented a hothead, the Dodgers judged Bradley mentally sound enough to put on a uniform and compete in their name.
Reid would have been negligent in his duties if he hadn't asked that question. Besides, it's all in the answer. There is no such thing as a tough question because the one answering the question controls the situation.
Bradley could have given a non-answer: "Everything will be fine." He could have said, "I'd rather not talk about that kind of stuff right now and would rather focus on the team." He could have said, "Like in most stadiums, the fans let me know they were here."
Bradley took the opportunity, however, to unload on Reid for an accumulation of grievances. If it hadn't been this question, it would have been another. Reid should have checked the batteries on his tape recorder to make sure it was running and, for backup purposes, written down everything the angry guy had to say.
We would have learned a little more about Bradley by reading Reid's story the next day.
HERE'S WHERE some e-mailers have it right, though.
There's no question Bradley has a problem, obviously a very disturbing one that the Dodgers are in no hurry to address, but what about the Times reporter who lost his composure? If The Times is going to be critical of Bradley for losing his temper, what about the reporter, who lost his?
Bradley called Reid an "Uncle Tom," and suggested he was a sellout in front of other players and white reporters, and Reid became extremely upset.
There aren't many better reporters anywhere in the country, when it comes to gathering the news and monitoring a pro sports franchise, than Reid, but in the name of fair play, Reid blew it when he stopped conducting himself like a professional.
There have been mitigating circumstances offered in the last few days. We've been told there is nothing worse that a black man can say to another black man than calling him an "Uncle Tom." We've also been told we would never begin to understand unless we were black. Hard to argue.
I believe I know the worst possible thing a white athlete could say to a black sports reporter. I'm still not sure what's the worst thing a black athlete could say to a white sports reporter, although several black athletes have made suggestions over the years, but based on first-hand experience as a white reporter, I've had a white athlete (quarterback Jim McMahon) blow his nose on me.
McMahon, the Chargers' starting quarterback, didn't like to be asked questions, which made it difficult to tell interested Charger fans what their starting quarterback was thinking. I asked a question.
"There's an answer for you," McMahon said while blowing his nose on my shoulder in a group interview in front of his locker.
I guess it's a matter of personal taste what would make you go crazier: the absolute worst name someone could call you, or someone blowing his nose on you.
I know the folks in San Diego, who weren't crazy about a particular reporter -- if you know what I mean, and I think you do -- sided with the reporter when it came to Fan Appreciation Day and the Chargers announced they were giving away an autographed McMahon football. Most of the folks in the stadium booed.
When McMahon blew his nose on me, I said, "Whoa," wrote down what happened, mentioned it in the 18th paragraph of a 22-paragraph story -- even though the incident led off the nightly newscast in San Diego -- and the next day went back and interviewed McMahon.
It's what we do, sometimes getting stand-up behavior in the toughest times from the likes of Shawn Green and Adrian Beltre, or sometimes dealing with hotheads like Kevin Brown and Bradley.
When Bradley mentioned something about picking up a bottle -- easy for me to say now -- I'd have said, "Go ahead. Last time you threw a bottle, you missed everyone." He might've laughed, although I'd have been prepared to duck.
Easy for me to say now, yes indeed, but then second-guessing is what we do here, and if we're going to pound Bradley for losing it, then the same has to be said if the guy sent to document Bradley's behavior elects to act in a similar way.
Simers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. To read previous columns by Simers, go to latimes.com/simers.