Milton Bradley to Cubs: 'Give Me a Hamburger'

Ian EsslingContributor INovember 13, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 22:  Milton Bradley #21 of the Chicago Cubs looks on against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on August 22, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. The Dodgers defeated the Cubs 2-0.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

In one of the strangest stories to come out of baseball’s Winter Meetings this year, beleaguered outfielder Milton Bradley has apparently made a demand to the Chicago Cubs.

Given his turbulent season, most expected the demand to be for a trade. When it comes to a man who shares a name with a board game company, however, one can never count on the expected: Bradley’s demand was for a hamburger.

In a written statement to Cubs’ management, Bradley went into extensive detail about his request, calling the hamburger an “effective first step” in repaying the “enormous debt” Chicago currently owes him.

“And it better be a good one,” Bradley added tersely while speaking to reporters in Los Angeles, before pummeling a garbage can and screaming at a balled up piece of newspaper. “I don’t want none of that s--- the fans in right field eat. God I hate them.”

Front-page stories are nothing new to Bradley; the Cubs outfielder has been embroiled in headlines all year. His $30 million, 3 year contract was supposed to bring some life into the heart of the Cubs order, but after a myriad of less-than-life-threatening injuries, conflicts with fans, sniping at Cubs management in the media and finally a suspension at the end of the season, Bradley’s unproductive campaign was widely considered one of the most disappointing in baseball. Many thought Bradley’s demands were going to be simple this offseason: trade me.

Instead, it seems, Bradley has elected to use his bargaining power on satisfying his appetite. “Milton isn’t commenting on trade rumors,” his agent said in a statement. “Right now we’re only focused on one thing, and that’s getting him the juicy, flame-broiled hamburger he feels that he deserves from Cubs management.”

Cubs GM Jim Hendry dismissed the demand on Friday, calling it “at best a publicity stunt, and at worst an attempt by a burger-grubbing fiend to try and steal away a part of Chicago’s soul before departing for the Evil Empire of New York.”

“If Milton really wanted a hamburger, he could have gotten one at any time during the games all season. It’s not like he was actually playing his position.”

The demand is probably not a coincidence, given that Hendry has been trying to trade Bradley for dirt-cheap during the meetings, at one point erecting a makeshift podium and trying to auction off Bradley to the highest bidder. Former Cubs and now Nationals manager Jim Riggleman had the highest bid when he offered his 1991 Ford Taurus, but the deal fell through when Hendry found out the car was lacking an engine, tires, windshield and gas tank.

Diamondbacks GM Josh Byrnes is reportedly trying to work out a deal for Bradley that would send Chicago fourteen prospects and a 51% ownership of the Arizona team, but Hendry has repeatedly rebuffed the offer.

“We know [the Diamondbacks] are willing to make even dumber deals; heck, look at the contract they gave Russ Ortiz a few years back. We’ll wait them out til they go higher.”