So, in retrospect, it’s not exactly a startling development that a couple of Dodger players, Milton Bradley, whose explosive outbursts in the past resulted in his attending anger management classes in the offseason, and Jeff Kent, whose taciturn deportment never has earned him clubhouse popularity during his distinguished career, would wind up having a dispute. Actually, it shouldn’t have been anything more than a garden variety one, since all that happened was that Kent bawled out Bradley during a recent game against Florida for perceived lack of hustle, as Bradley had failed to score from first base on a Kent double. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe top 10 theme park moments of 2019 Not exactly a headline-high lighting event, but the sensitive Bradley took it to a different level, reacting with the rage that he had kept under control all season, lambasting Kent with a string of derogatory comments, including even saying Kent “doesn’t know how to deal with African-Americans.” The clear inference from that statement was that Jeff Kent was a racist, and that’s a terrible tag to put on a person unless the accuser can offer incontrovertible proof, which Bradley didn’t. Sure, Kent did rail at Bradley, but Kent was known to do the same to Caucasian teammates in San Francisco and Houston that he didn’t think were expending enough energy. Sure, Kent did once have a dugout squabble with Barry Bonds, but I don’t ever recall anyone even hinting that their differences were because by race. Sure, Kent is an independent fellow who marches to his own unique beat and is a fiery competitor known to speak his mind to teammates, but I’ve never heard anyone before intimate that he is a bigot. During the course of a lengthy baseball season, it’s never surprising to me when conflicts erupt among players on the same team. You put a bunch of strong-willed guys with varying personal ities and backgrounds together for seven months playing a demanding game that continually tests one’s resilience, and it’s inevitable that nerves become frayed and tempers short, especially during the sweltering days of late August. Until, of course, Milton Bradley raised the issue to reporters, turning what should have been a one-day story into a national one being warmly debated in newspapers and on the cable TV and sports talk radio shows. Milton Bradley has every constitutional right to say what he believes, but he isn’t exactly an accredited sociologist and should have been slightly more circumspect before smearing Kent with such an inflammatory label that puts Kent in a most uncomfortable position. How does one defend oneself against such a charge? Should one remain silent and not even give credence to it, which perhaps is the most prudent and dignified choice? Or should one come out and publicly deny it, as Kent has done? I like Milton Bradley, a Long Beach native and Poly High graduate, and have rooted for him since he joined the Dodgers. We’ve had a cordial relationship, and not once has he refused an interview with me. The Dodgers also like Milton Bradley. The owner, Frank McCourt, has developed a warm relationship with Bradley, as has the manager, Jim Tracy. The general manager, Paul DePodesta, probably views Bradley as one of the few positive acquisitions he’s made during his controversial in cumbency, although I’m sure there are critics who would disagree with DePodesta on that point. The team stuck firmly behind Bradley last season during his well-documented temper tantrums with umpires and fans, but Bradley’s future with it now is in serious doubt because of the latest contretemps. When analyzing who to blame for this mess, you come to the conclusion that Kent and Bradley should share in it. Knowing Bradley’s emotional proclivity, Kent should have shown more self-discipline and held his thoughts in check, but this is a guy who also has a tempestuous nature. And, in response, Bradley should not have injected race into the mix, which exacerbated which should have been a brief disagreement into a full-blown controversy stirred by an overheated media. It’s a most unfortunate occurrence, and another setback in the uneven major-league odyssey of Milton Bradley, who not only might be out for the season with a bum knee but also might be out of Los Angeles for good. What are the odds of a father and son being born not only the same day, but also sharing milestone birthdays? Well, that’s the case today with Robert Emmons, who turns 50, and his son, Brandon Emmons, who turns 21. They will celebrate the occasion by playing 18 holes of golf at Sky links, and then will repair to Joe’s Jost, where they will continue to celebrate their chronological freak of nature with a few beers. The elder Emmons, whose parents owned the old Rodd Jewelers on Atlantic, is a 1973 graduate of Lakewood High where he played football under John Ford. He now peddles furniture at Wickes in Anaheim. The younger Emmons is a 2001 graduate of Wilson High where he played baseball. He is now attending Long Beach City College, and plans to eventually enroll at Long Beach State. I interviewed the two men Thursday at Joe’s Jost, where Brandon Emmons, ever mindful that he still was a few hours away from reaching the legal drinking age, imbibed root beer, a beverage not exactly in hot demand at the sacred Anaheim St. tavern. One of the storied mixologists in Long Beach, the Hyatt’s George Cope land, will be in New York this weekend with wife Alicia Adams, where he will be inducted Saturday night into the Roller Derby Hall of Fame. Mr. Copeland is credited with being the first African-American to participate in the sport, and he played it with distinction for the old Los Angeles Thunderbirds and a lot of other teams throughout the country and Far East for 15 seasons. Incidentally, Copeland’s bar has been revamped by the Hyatt’s energetic new general manager, Sir Steve Smith, who has brought in a bunch of plasma TVs and made it into a more sports-oriented place that will carry all the Sunday NFL games. Sir Steve is a Wisconsin native who, natch, is a fervid Green Bay Packer patron. One of Long Beach’s most courageous women, Cindy Robbins after all, she’s been married to my old El Dorado Park sparring partner, Les (Baskin) Robbins, for 32 years departed Memorial Medical Center Tuesday after undergoing surgery five days earlier to repair a stomach ulcer. When ol’ Les asked his wife if she wanted to go straight home, or attend a 49er women’s volleyball practice, the longtime supporter of Brian Gimmillaro’s team chose the latter course, naturally. One of my favorite people in this business, Bud Tucker, a one-time sports ed itor and columnist for the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, passed away Wednesday from congenital heart failure at Kaiser-Permanente Hospital in Yorba Linda. Tucker was a witty guy who enjoyed nocturnal activities, and kept me up too many early morning hours during countless Ram road trips during the 1970s. He was hired by Buzzie Bavasi in 1969 to be the San Diego Padres’ first publicist, and later wrote a syndicated sports column for several Southern California newspapers, including the Press-Telegram. He and wife Bunny bought a radio station in Barstow in the early 1980s, but they had been living in Fullerton for the past few years. He was 80. Another journalistic fixture in these parts, Bud Furillo, former Los Angeles Herald Examiner sports editor and later a sports talk radio host for KABC, turned 80 last week in Ojai, where he now resides. Pat West, a longtime mainstay of the Long Beach State athletic department, has recovered so quickly from recent hip surgery that she already is negotiating stairways. … Representing the Long Beach Surf Club, Tim Whalen recently took first place in a big Malibu event, the latest of many surfing victories during his terrific career. When he’s not riding waves, Whalen can be found evenings mixing drinks at the El Dorado. Talking about birthday milestones, my loyal neighbor, Esther Fawcett a Memorial Medical Center volunteer for more than four decades herself celebrated one last Sunday when she turned 90. The good waitresses at Huff’s that morning serenaded this remarkable lady in style, and the restaurant custom ers wildly applauded one of this city’s most decent human beings who still drives her car with effort less ease. Rich Archbold was so overwhelmed by Brian Gimmillaro’s Churchillian-like speech the other evening at a Virginia Country Club gathering that he thinks Gimmillaro should become a candidate to succeed Dr. Robert (Fightin’ Bob) Maxson as the Long Beach State president in stead of a candidate to succeed Bill (Mr. Nice Guy) Shumard as the school’s athletic director. I never realized that the Boys & Girls Clubs of Long Beach have expanded from three to 10 under the deft guidance of executive director Don Rodriguez, who played football at Notre Dame High in Sherman Oaks. No doubt the brightest young sports talk personality in radio has to be KMPC/1540’s Petros Papadakis, whose shrieking wit leaves you in hysterics. If ever given a chance, I think the guy could become filmdom’s next Adam Sandler. The Long Beach Fun Couple, Brad & Canice Liebeck he’s a L.B. fireman who looks like Kevin Costner and she’s a Nordstrom’s executive who looks like a young Ellen Barkin are taking the train from Anaheim with 30 other people Saturday to Del Mar, where they plan to eat a lot of food, drink a lot of booze and lose a lot of money. In what is a classic ca reer move that befits his inclinations, Mike (The Hammer) DiMarzo has applied for work at La-Z Boy. Ever notice the more contradictory impulses that seize you, the less you know which to yield to. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!