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Milton Bradley works on his birding skills. (Photo courtesy SeattleDawg18)

Milton Bradley, maybe you vaguely remember him bringing his unique skill set to the North Side Nine last season, is playing his part to perfection once again.

Just a few weeks ago, the explosive former Cubs outfielder equated himself with the likes of Kanye West and Ron Artest as baseball's bad boy:

"If I was a musician, I'd be Kanye West. If I was in the NBA, I'd be Ron Artest. In baseball, they've got Milton Bradley. I'm that guy. You need people like me, so you can point your finger and go, 'There goes the bad guy."

OK, Milton. What finger were you talking about pointing again?

Bradley, now blessing the Seattle Mariners with his talents, didn't waste any time getting into the controversy column this season. During a game Friday night at the Texas Rangers, also a former home for the hot-headed one, Bradley was caught on camera answering fans' taunts with a bird flip. The Dallas Morning News' Rangers Blog reports on the incident, which apparently was scrubbed from the tape-delayed broadcast.

Milton was unavailable for comment after the game and Mariner's manager Don Wakamatsu could only muster what will be the first of many "no comments" this season.

So, if you're keeping track, Bradley now has one finger flipped on the season, matching his hits through Friday night. Serendipitous.

Cubs fans, you're gonna miss the big lug this season, aren't you?

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It's always nice to see Dwyane Wade make a stop in his hometown of Chicago, but this might be a little over the top. Wade and the Miami Heat were forced to make an emergency landing at O'Hare International Airport early Sunday morning when a member of the cockpit crew went into a diabetic coma.

Not what you want hear coming out of the cockpit.

Of course, the world found out via Twitter, with DWade doing the reporting honors - never mind the slip on facts - at his official page:

Hey everyone pray for our pilot. We just had a emergency landing in chicago. He went into a Coma. God bless this man and his family

Turns out is was actually a mechanic on board, not the pilot, but suffice to say it was a bit of a scramble. Miami Heat trainers administered aid as the plane landed and the man, who became ill while in the cockpit, was taken to a hospital for further treatment.

The team was returning to Miami after beating the Minnesota Timberwolves 97-84 on Saturday night.

Sadly, Wade could not stay in town to breathe life into the Bulls' playoff push while he was at it. turns out he had to jet for more important things:

Ok taking off to Miami. Gd nite tfam. I need to get some rest gotta go support my homie @andyroddick 2morrow in championship match

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Boston Celtics guard Ray Allen had a bad turnover Wednesday night.

No, not on the court. His Twitter account was hacked and some jokester posted a sexually explicit, NSFW message that went out to the lights-out shooting guard's followers.

Ray ended up having to change his account name - from @sugarray20, which ironically fit the fake message sent pretty well - to @greenrayn20.

Allen was understandably upset and said he may even have to close his account.

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That would be a shame. The recent trend of athletes turning out in droves to be more accessible to fans has been refreshing. It brings some added fun to both fans and players that can interact a little more freely and makes games personal to follow again.

First, a full disclosure: I grew up in Virginia singing "Hail to the Redskins" and worshiping at the alter of Hall-of-Famer John Riggins as the team dominated all before them in the 1980s.

So I now know how fellow Pros(er) Kyle feels watching the Lions. Somewhere between sick to my stomach and just plain heartsick. It's a bumbling team that at one time not long ago was the class of the NFL - OK, similarity with the Lions ends there - that's become a conundrum of underperforming talent and a league laughingstock that winless teams look forward to on the schedule.

But I'm nowhere near as upset as Riggins, who currently is hosting a video series and lighting up Twitter with his ideas on why the Redskins have become one of the worst teams in the league. "Head" coach Jim Zorn ("he could be a good high school coach") and General Manager Vinny Cerrado ("He should go on radio ... be an analyst") receive the brunt of the Diesel's wrath.

And as if that weren't enough, he's also taking his assault on Daniel Snyder's (the worst NFL owner ever?) heaping pile of steaming football team to "Inside the NFL" on Showtime reports Brad Biggs.

Keep on blasting away, Riggo, like you did back in the day:

You can say what you want about Chad "Ocho Cinco" Johnson - and pretty much every angle has been covered. He's talented, mercurial, off-putting, arrogant, annoying, selfish, entertaining ... blah blah blah.

Been covered.

But this is actually pretty cool of him, even if there is, of course, a huge self-centered aspect to it. See, Ocho Cinco has turned himself into quite the lifecaster. Using Twitter, Facebook, Ustream video broadcasting and other measures, he puts himself on display as much as possible, using the various platforms to chat with fans and get himself spread across the Internet.

And it's the Twitter aspect that comes into play here.

Johnson has expressed interest in live tweeting during games for the Cincinnati Bengals, a notion the NFL has flatly ruled out. So instead, he's devised a contest for his Twitter followers where he'll fly one fan to each home game - don't count on any playoffs, people, this is the Bengals - to be his designated Twitter stenographer. Through a series of hand signals, Johnson will get his message out - or try to - and give a fan a chance to see the game up close and personal.

And, of course, he promises some end zone shenanigans, which is no surprise coming from one of the more innovative touchdown celebrators in the league.

Is this much ado about nothing? Yeah. But really it's just a bit of subversive fun at the end of the day. And, of course, if it bothers you ... don't follow and you won't be harmed.

How Chad Ochocinco plans to tweet during NFL games (Mashable)

twitter-nfl-chad-ocho-cinco.jpgAs with every August, the forthcoming NFL season has us looking forward with great anticipation to Sunday gamedays. But the proliferation of Twitter usage among NFL players this year means we're suddenly equally excited for  the Sunday nights and Monday mornings following games.

The reason? Gridiron Twitter!

We've seen, via the likes of Shawne Merriman, Chad OchoCinco and Terrell Owens, exactly how much trash-talking can be accomplished in 140 characters or less. And that's long before the first snap of the 2009 season. The athlete Twitter feud was non-existent a year ago, but now we're finding these types of headlines on a weekly basis.

And it's only going to get worse/better.
As I sat and watched this year's ESPYs at the Wrigleyville Rockit, through the litany of mindless commercials, this Under Armor offering featuring Devin Hester caught my eye:

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No, Tony LaRussa did not tweet you.

St. Louis Cardinals manager and wine enthusiast Tony LaRussa is cardinal-red in the face, but it's not another key loss to the Cubs that has him mad.

Fanhouse reports that the skipper, who is also lawyer, is suing Twitter on trademark infringement and "dilution, cybersquatting, and misappropriation of name and likeness."

The fake Twitter account, @TonyLarussa, has since been taken down, so we can't get a look at the impostor genius that was being extolled there. Sadly, that leaves us with the real thing in the meantime.

The lawsuit includes a screen shot of three tweets. One posted on April 19 said: "Lost 2 out of 3, but we made it out of Chicago without one drunk driving incident or dead pitcher."

Cardinals pitcher Darryl Kile died of a heart condition in his Chicago hotel room in 2002. Cardinals reliever Josh Hancock died in a 2007 auto accident, and the medical examiner measured his blood-alcohol level at 0.157 -- nearly twice the legal limit.

One month earlier, La Russa was found sleeping behind the wheel of a running sport utility vehicle in spring training with a blood-alcohol level of 0.093 percent. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence.


Orlando Magic's Dwight Howard goes in for the dunk in front of Boston Celtics' Paul Pierce during Orlando's 101-82 win in Game 7 on Sunday. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)

Who does your average athlete thank after a big win?

God? Yep, pretty high on the list.

Mom/dad? Sure, you'll get that sometimes.

The Fans? Often the cheers of the crowd will be given crazy credit for a team's ability to win or lose.

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But high-flying Dwight Howard took it to a new level after his Orlando Magic dispatched the Boston Celtics Sunday afternoon in Game 7 of their Eastern Conference Semifinal tilt, 101-82.

Dwight gave a shoutout to his Twitter followers in a post-game interview with TNT's David Aldridge.

Howard is a very social media savvy guy, it seems. In addition to his 61,000-plus followers on Twitter, he also has a Facebook page and blog to interact with his fans. But unless those thousands of dedicated No. 12 jersey-wearing supporters are either suiting up for the Conference Finals against Cleveland or kidnapping LeBron James, that may be the last thanks they get.

Still looks like a Fail Whale for the Magic with Cleveland winning in 6.

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