Unless you have been living under a rock for the 2009 MLB season, you know that the Chicago Cubs have failed miserably to live up to expectations. If you ARE living under that rock, you have probably still heard Milton Bradley’s constant complaining and overall bad attitude that has done anything but help the team’s situation.
Bradley signed a three year, $30 million deal this off-season after completing one of the best seasons of his ten year career in Texas the season before. The switch-hitter batted .321, got on base at a career-best .421 clip, hit 22 home runs, and drove in 77 runs.
He was expected to be inserted into the lineup as the Cubs’ fifth hitter and play every day in right field. He came in saying his goal was to win a World Series and how he believed the Cubs could obtain that goal this season. Fast forward to September, and it’s obvious Bradley has been nothing but trouble for the North Siders this season.
His latest tirade occurred yesterday after the the Cubs dropped their second game in a row to the Milwaukee Brewers. Bradley led off the sixth inning with a single to right field, and then promptly took himself out of the game without saying anything. He walked into the dugout and went straight to the clubhouse without saying anything.
Bradley’s knees have given him trouble this season so many believed this was again the reason for his departure. After the game, the story picked up a little momentum and began to raise eyebrows.
Lou Piniella did not appear at his post-game press conference and Bradley walked away from reporters when they came to ask him about the self-managing he did. Then, Bradley came back to reporters and began a verbal back-and-forth battle in which he refused to ask any questions and ask the reporter “if he had anything else.”
Reporter: Why did you come out of the game?
Bradley: I got knee inflammation. I got two knee surgeries, and that happens when you got knee surgery, in case you don’t know. What else you got?
Reporter: It flared up?
Bradley: What else you got?
Reporter: How long will you be out?
Bradley: What else you got? You got anything significant?
Reporter: An injury is significant.
Bradley: What else you got? What else you got?
Reporter: Was there a problem after you came out?
Bradley: What else you got? I mean, you got any real questions?
Reporter: Lou wouldn’t do a postgame; that’s pretty rare for him.
Bradley: If I had a choice, I wouldn’t do it, either. What else you got?
Reporter: Trying to find out what happened.
Bradley: You got some baseball questions, I can answer them. But [if not] I ain’t got nothing for you.
Reporter: So you came out because of the knee?
Bradley: You got anything else? I mean, broken record.
Reporter: That was a strange scene.
Bradley: It’s strange? It’s strange when a guy hurt comes off [the field]?
Reporter: Yeah, I didn’t see a trainer, didn’t see the pinch-runner go out there first.
Bradley: OK, it’s strange.
Reporter: The scene was?
Bradley: I’m out.
Bradley then left the locker room in disgust and has not spoken since. I am not a Cubs fan and would never wish to be, but if I was, this would be the last straw for my relationship with Milton Bradley. Not only is he failing to produce after being given a huge contract, but he is being detrimental to the team and seems to be in a constant rift with someone.
Yes, it has to be frustrating for the Cubs to have one of the highest payrolls in baseball and be below .500 without any major injuries (compared to the Mets, for example), but the way Bradley acts is uncalled for and is clearly affecting the team.
Rumors have swirled Bradley’s whole career that he is a bad teammate and that his attitude affects everyone else. He reminds me a heck of a lot of Terrell Owens, who seems to breed trouble wherever he goes. Whether it’s throwing a bag of baseballs on the field, tearing your ACL while your manager holds you back from killing an ump, trying to find a radio announcer in the press box after a game, or disrespecting a reporter trying to do his job, Bradley is plain and simple a bad egg.
He’s not making Piniella’s job any easier and it’s clear there is not enough room for two hotheads in the Cubs clubhouse. They do not mesh and when things go poorly, it’s a recipe for disaster. The Cubs need to admit their mistake (good luck with that, Jim Hendry) and move forward without Bradley.
Sam Fuld is proving that he can be a serviceable outfielder in the Cubs lineup and Kosuke Fukudome and Alfonso Soriano are tied up in contracts that will keep them in the outfield. The Cubs don’t need Milton Bradley on the field and they sure don’t need him off of it, either.