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Milton Bradley Confirms Initial Prognosis: His Signing Was a Mistake

Tab BamfordSenior Writer IApril 24, 2009

"In the past, I haven't tried to be outspoken, I didn't try to be friendly. I was just in there trying to play baseball, and that's all I want to do. I found that if you rub people the wrong way, they get the wrong impression. If you don't talk a whole lot, they assume things."

Really Milton?

"If we can get away from all the negativity and going back four, five years and the stuff I did—I'm just focused on what I'm doing now. I can be a positive influence, and I think I'm a good guy."

C'mon... seriously?

"You might catch me on a day and I might blow you off, but hopefully that's few and far between."

Now let's just get real here. Few? Far Between?

The quotes above are from the press conference when the Chicago Cubs introduced Milton Bradley to the Chicago media in mid February. He spoke further about being a "changed man" and even went so far as to joke about this being a "new beginning."

Bradley also assured the media that day that he was healthy and ready to compete for a championship. He said the clauses in his contract that required him to play every day weren't a concern, and that his temper wouldn't get in the way.

Fast forward to today. Bradley's been ejected, hurt, booed at home, and is now boycotting the media.

What does the overpaid star have in store for us in May?

When the Cubs signed Bradley to a contract in January, I was critical. Very critical. So far as to exchange articles with writers, like my esteemed colleague Ricky Butts, regarding the depth of my discontent with the acquisition.

Bradley made promises almost as big as the contract he received from Jim Hendry, the only general manager in baseball naive enough to sign him for longer than one season. There would be no problems.

Until tax day.

I know this will be viewed as a knee-jerk reaction. And I know that there will comments posted on this story saying I'm a bad Cubs fan for saying what I'm about to say. But here it is.

I'm done with Milton Bradley. I want him gone, attitude and all. I couldn't care less if he plays in this city again.

If you read my articles about the Chicago Cubs, I try my best to place my emotional response to issues into a statistical or logical context. Sorry on this one; there's nothing in logic or statistics to back up an argument to keep him in Chicago.

On Thursday, the Cubs lost a game to the Cincinnati Reds in large part because Micah Hoffpaiur was playing right field poorly. They haven't scored enough runs to win games because their batting order has fluctuated daily. There has not been a consistent day from the Cubs in weeks.

Bradley is to blame.

Last year, when the Cubs had the best record in the National League, they had the ability to put Mark DeRosa, a player who carries himself with as much class as anyone in the game, at second, short, third or right field. He would play anywhere manager Lou Piniella asked him to, and he would play it well.

But now DeRosa's in Cleveland. Hendry needed to clear salary space to afford Bradley.

Last year, when the Cubs had the best record in the National League, they had a consistent batting order that only changed when Piniella swapped Jim Edmonds for Reed Johnson or Henry Blanco gave Geovany Soto a break. The chemistry on, and off, the field was as good as it got in the game.

But now one of the highest paid players who is supposed to be on the field every day is barking about the fans, ignoring the press, and slumping at the plate. Well, he's slumping at the plate whenever he feels healthy enough to actually make an appearance.

Last year, when the Cubs had the best record in the National League, the only thing getting booed at Wrigley Field were the Cardinals. Or Brewers. Or Reds. Or whomever the Cubs were playing that day. Now, fans have a legitimate beef with one of the Cubs' players.

If Bradley was smiling, hustling, working hard and playing every day, I would accept a slow start. I have questioned Derrek Lee's declining skills, but he's out there every day being a leader and playing defense. I'll accept that effort.

Geovany Soto hasn't hit the ball in a week. He's missed time with an injury, too. But he's still trying hard and respectful of his teammates, the fans, and the media. I'll accept that.

But when you pout, show poor judgement on the field (when you're on it), and then have a bad attitude towards the fans and media when they react to issues that you had assured them wouldn't be an issue just two months ago, you deserve what you get.

If Bradley is a changed man, then he needs to demonstrate whatever change as happened. It's been three weeks, and he looks like the same injury-prone head case he's been in Oakland, San Diego, Texas, and every other team that's only put with him one season.

Bradley was, and is, a mistake.

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