Kap's Corner

The Last Words I Hope to Ever Write About Milton Bradley

I had pretty much closed the book on the Cubs' worst signing of the last 20 years, and one of the worst in franchise history after Milton Bradley was traded away last December. However, I feel compelled to address the ridiculous garbage that spewed out of his mouth in an interview with ESPN's Colleen Dominguez at spring training. In the interview he basically blames everyone but himself for his awful 2009 performance, both on and off the field, even going so far as to wonder if Cubs personnel were sending him hate mail.

Let's go through his thoughts here and dissect how deranged this person really is.  Here is Bradley on if Chicago is a tough place to play if you are African-American: "Well, I mean unless you go out there and you're Superman -- you're Andre Dawson, you're Ernie Banks, you're in the Hall of Fame -- then it's going to be tough," Bradley said. "People are just the way they are".

Are you kidding me? Have you ever heard of Derrek Lee? Lee is well liked and respected and loves playing in Chicago. So much so that he stated a couple of weeks back when I interviewed him at spring training that he wants to retire as a Cub. Want a less successful player who is African-American and was well liked and loved playing here? What about Doug Glanville? He was a solid, but unspectacular player who had two tours of duty with the Cubs and now makes his home in the Chicago area.  

Fans want players who play hard, are reasonably successful, and represent the team positively. Milton did none of that. He made no effort to fit in with his teammates, he was distant with the media from day one, and he was a lousy baseball player. He claims that he was told he had to hit 30 home runs, but I can tell you that was never expected from him. The Cubs wanted him to get on base, drive in runs because he he would have opportunities hitting in the middle of the lineup, and they wanted him to play a decent right field. 

Cubs General Manager Jim Hendry met with the media on Wednesday in Mesa, AZ and here is what he had to say about Bradley's latest comments. Hendry has consistently taken the blame for the signing, repeatedly characterizing the acquisition as a complete and total mistake. However, after trading Bradley so he and the Cubs could get a fresh start, Bradley just can't keep his mouth shut. Hendry finally had enough of Bradley firing on the organization and met with the media in Mesa.

"We're all brought up in life to accept responsibility when we fail, and to judge people by how they act and how they carry themselves when things don't go well," Hendry said.

Bradley told ESPN some of the hate mail he received had no postage, suggesting it could've been sent in-house.

"Obviously, that couldn't be further from the truth," Hendry said. "I think maybe it's time Milton looks at himself in the mirror. It is what it is. He just didn't swing the bat. He didn't get the job done. His production, or lack of (production), was the only negative."

As for the hate mail that Bradley claims he received without a postmark, Hendry said people drop off mail at the front desk at Wrigley Field, which could explain why there was no postage on the alleged hate mail. He added that Bradley never mentioned the claim to anyone in the organization, and that the Cubs said the organization "couldn't have bent over backward any more than they did for the entire season, before (the suspension) in St. Louis."

Milton Bradley has no one to blame but himself for his poor performance in 2009. He was given the first multi-year contract of his career and he failed miserably. He was a sullen, moody person to deal with and never did anything, or made any attempt, to fit into the community or the locker room.

Could someone have said something racially motivated to him? Absolutely, however the rantings of a few lunatics were not the reason that Bradley had such a terrible experience in our city. He failed to produce on the field and continues to make excuses for his poor play. Milton Bradley, you need to look at yourself, not everyone else, when you try to figure out why the Cubs were so desperate to rid get rid of you.

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4 Comments

CubsW said:

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Actually the worst signing in the last 20 years is still playing left field for this baseball team. Bradley had the fourth highest OBP on the team last year, behind only Fuld, Lee and A-Ram, so he did get on base. He may have not been a good teammate, but the expectations for his first year in Chicago were unrealistic based on his historical performance.

joeydafish said:

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CubsW, is right or in the words of Santo EXACTLY right.
What GOOD GM would sign a player like Soriano with deficient defensive skills to play in the NL for EIGHT YEARS thereby handicapping the teams manueverablility and limiting the subsequent GM's (THAT sounds good)effectiveness??? Hendry would....BAD. BAD. BAD.

Kirk Mango said:

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Hey Dave,

Great post!!! Especially this, "he basically blames everyone but himself." This attitude is a little too pervasive in sports, and not just at the elite and professional levels but more importantly at youth levels.

I cannot begin to tell you the number of times I have heard parents of athletes express the same feelings about their offspring, that their lack of success was somebody elses fault. This is also somethint I see regularly as an educator in our public school system. As I said above, it is pervasive.

I allude to perpectives that enhance the opposite of this thought process in my book "Becoming a True Champion" (http://becomingatruechampion.com/) and in my blog here at ChicagoNow "The Athlete's Sports Experience" (http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/athletes-sports-experience/).

Best

Kirk Mango

dansram said:

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You know Kap, I totally agree with you, though it took me a little bit to get there. I thought fans got on him a little too quickly at the beginning. It made him look as if he was pressing, which made him look like he was going in to a downward spiral.

That being said, he WAS being selfish. He did something stupid by making contact with an Ump. No matter what he thought the Ump did or said, YOU NEVER MAKE CONTACT WITH AN UMP! A short time later when he got injured, he should have taken the suspension for making contact with the Ump, but acted selfishly and didn't. Instead he sat out with the injury, and THEN had to sit out because of the suspension. But, since it was SO early in the season, I let it go, hoping he'd come around. He never did. He continued to press. Unfortunately I do believe it had SOMETHING to do with us getting on his case so quickly.

However, he is a professional. (Stop laughing, it's true! He is!) He should have ignored the 'negativity'. Bradley mentioned Andre Dawson, calling him a ‘super man’, which he was. But what made Dawson ‘super’ was his ability to let his game speak for him. If Dawson, on a rare occasion, had a bad game, he never blamed anyone but himself. When Bradley began to blame the fans, media, the umpires and just about everyone else, that’s when he lost me.

Do I think Cub fans launched racial taunts/slurs in his direction? Unfortunately, I do. It is reprehensible and, in this day in age, SHOULD NEVER HAPPEN. However, I think it is the exception, rather than the rule. Just as I don’t think all Sox fans will drunkenly charge the field to attack Tom Gamboa, or any one else, for that matter.

I do hope, however, we as Cub fans JUST LET IT GO. I hope he has a good season with Seattle, but I also hope Silva has a better one with us! Furthermore, I just wish everyone from Cubnation would just stop talking about Bradley, or writing about him, or especially listening to him. He’s in Seattle for a reason. The only further place we could’ve sent him would’ve been Japan!

Kapper, keep up the good work and GO CUBS!

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