Milton Bradley really needs to let this go – Bradley continues to berate the Cubs and the city of Chicago in a recent interview with Colleen Dominguez of ESPN. Bradley was a complete failure for the Cubs after signing a 3-year, $30 million deal. Instead of being a steady run-producer that the Cubs expected he would be, he performed horribly at the plate and in the field, and became a cancer in the club house. The Cubs finally had enough of Bradley’s antics towards the end of the season, enough so that GM Jim Hendry suspended Bradley on September 20, 2009 for the rest of the season. Hendry invoked the suspension because of Bradley’s conduct that was deemed to be detrimental to the team.
Bradley was coming off a career year with the Texas Rangers – .321 batting average, .436 on-base percentage, 22 HR’s 77 RBI’s and 78 runs scored – when the Cubs lured him to the city of Chicago. Right from the start, Bradley deflected questions about prior stories of his “bad attitude” problems and he often blamed other people for those outbursts and tirades. Bradley started off the season hitting poorly and struggling with an injury and his overall offensive numbers were atrocious – 12 HR’s, 40 RBI’s, 61 runs scored and a .257 batting average in 393 at-bats. Bradley never once took responsibility for his poor play.
After his indefinite suspension, the Cubs ultimately traded Bradley to the Seattle Mariners for Carlos Silva. The Cubs put Bradley in their rearview mirror, but Bradley just couldn’t let it go at that. In spring training this week, Bradley sat down with ESPN’s Colleen Dominguez and gave a scathing report on the Cubs organization and the city of Chicago as a whole. Here are some pertinent quotes: “It was pretty bad. I would have rather tore my knee up and gone through rehab all over again then have to deal with that… When you get paid a lot of money to play this game, they expect miracles. And when you don’t go out there and perform like that, then people don’t like it. People don’t want to see a guy that’s brash and cocky and a little arrogant and kind of does his own thing making a lot of money. They were like, ‘He doesn’t deserve that.'”
Bradley said race played a role. He said he was often racially taunted when in the field and he implied that he received hate mail from within the Cubs organization – “I could see from the envelope. I could just tell, you get an envelope, no address on it, no postmark. it’s just in your mail. How does that get in your cubby hole? I don’t know how that happens.” Bradley went on to express his fears for himself and his family: “I was worried about my family, about my kids. The worst part of it all, the last straw is when I found out that my kid has been called a derogatory name at school… I was a prisoner in my own home. I pretty much stayed at home, ordered in every day, never went anywhere.”
Bradley clearly has some issues. The Mariners are his 8th team in 11 years. There is a reason clubs decide to part ways with Bradley after only a short time on their squad. We’ve also confirmed with the Cubs that fans/individuals can drop off mail to the players at Wrigley Field without any postage or return address on the mail. Assuming the letter/package does not seem threatening, the Cubs do pass that mail onto the players. So the fact that Bradley got letters without postage and without a return address is not all that uncommon. And it doesn’t mean that it came from someone within the Cubs organization. Hearing slurs at Wrigley Field is obviously inappropriate, but as an athlete, they have to accept that fans are going to do stupid things at the ballpark. I’m sure Bradly has heard similar things in all 29 other major league cities in which he has played games. It’s unfortunate that this occurs, but racism clearly does still exist in our country, and it doesn’t necessarily make that city “bad” as a whole. It’s just a few “bad apples” that give the city a bad name.
The Cubs had been trying to stay clear of the Milton Bradley subject this spring, but his latest comments forced GM Jim Hendry’s hand. He called Bradley’s assertions that the Cubs sent Bradley hate mail “absolutely ridiculous.” He went on to say the following – “That couldn’t be farther from the truth. I think it’s time maybe Milton looked at himself in the mirror. It is what it is. He didn’t swing the bat; he didn’t get the job done. His production was the only negative, or lack of… We have a long hsitory of quality people who want to play here. I don’t believe in the last seven or eight years, under this regime, we lost a free-agent player we wanted to keep. And that still is the case.” Hendry pointed out that Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez have both indicated that they want to end their careers here in Chicago. The Cubs also signed 2 players this off-season – Marlon Byrd and Kevin Millar – who are represented by the Levinson brothers – Bradley’s agents. Hendry made it clear if things were really as bad as Bradley said, it would be highly unlikely that the Levinson brothers would advocate their clients signing deals with the Cubs to play in the city of Chicago.
This is a complete waste of time. I’m sick to my stomach writing this post – it’s probably the longest post I’ve written in about 6 months. Hearing Bradley’s response to Hendry’s statement today just goes to show how lost Bradley is. I can’t believe the guy even said this – wait, yes I can: “I have nothing bad to say about Jim Hendry. He gave me $30 million. God bless Jim Hendry and his family.”
Good riddance Milton. We look forward to plenty of strikeouts from you in June when the Cubs visit the Mariners in Seattle. Better keep a close eye at the plate -we wouldn’t want you to get hit…