Bradley already upended by Chicago media blitz, fans

AaronContributor IApril 24, 2009

HOUSTON - APRIL 06:  Milton Bradley #21 of the Chicago Cubs flips over after missing a fly ball against the Houston Astros on Opening Day on April 6, 2009 at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas.  The Cubs defeated the Astros 4-2.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Milton Bradley is quickly learning it’s not all fun and games in the Windy City


CHICAGO – It didn’t take long at all for Milton Bradley to implode. Is it really a surprise to anyone that this is happening in Chicago?

When Bradley first signed with the Cubs, he brushed off the idea that the Bleacher Bums and Addison Alcoholics would get to him. Guess what? It’s happening.

Fourteen games into the Cubs’ season, Bradley has played in only nine, has only one hit – granted it was an April 10 homer in Milwaukee – and has struck out seven times.

Adding insult to injury (pun intended) is, well, an injury. Sitting out of games because of illness, soreness, injury and suspension was one of the slugger’s biggest criticisms and has been regardless of the team he has collected a paycheck from. So why is he surprised that he is already being bashed by fans and media for merely living up to his reputation? The truth is, he was given a false sense of support when coming to Chicago. Did he really think he was going to be able to hide from harsh fans and a relentless group of media in the nation’s third-largest market?

With the exception of two years in La-La-Land with the Dodgers, Bradley has never played in a market as large as Chicago, and has spent only 258 games in the National League prior to his arrival in the Windy City. That’s less than one-third of his career.

The latest news out of Uncle Lou’s Cracker Jack Box is that Bradley will sit until he is completely healthy. In other words, Bradley’s career in Chicago is over.

Taking a softer approach, it’s easy to feel sorry for the guy if he is genuinely hurt. He just can’t seem to get it right. He has a lifetime pass to the injury tent and a gold-plated name badge hanging above his bed. Injuries are one thing, but when he had the opportunity a week ago to redeem himself and become the savior of Chicago (pinch hitting against the St. Louis Cardinals), he struck out looking and never even attempted to lift the bat off his shoulder. As if that wasn’t bad enough, he argued balls and strikes with the umpire and was promptly tossed from the game. It didn’t matter anyway. He was pinch hitting for a pitcher. After all, he hadn’t exactly been producing in the first place. And if he would have reached base, could he have run the bases with a bad groin?

Those aren’t even the most pressing reasons Cubs fans should be frustrated with their high-priced injury reserve. Bradley’s anger-management issues were never more evident than the show he put on, for what? To get fans excited, giving them a false sense of hope and the idea that he really cares? It doesn’t matter what level you are playing, if the count is full and you haven’t attempted to lift the bat off your shoulder, you’re getting sent back to the bench.

Keeping the previously mentioned situation in mind, here is what he had to tell the team’s Web site when he finally came out of his bunker to face at least some sort of media:

“I’m a positive person, an upbeat person. I’m trying to focus on what I’m trying to do here. My teammates are behind me and the more reporters get in my face, the more I talk, the more things get written the way I don’t say them or they’re taken out of context, and that’s when you lose teammates and you lose fans. The best strategy for me has always been to not say anything.”

Milton, perhaps you should have used that approach with the umpire that tossed you. And if you haven’t yet heard, the fans in Chicago will never get off of your backside until you produce. Just ask any of the former Cubs that have already departed for greener pastures. The good news is, to please the fickle fans, all you have to do is come up with one big hit to help rid the organization of the wrath of Wrigley and bring it a championship.

Posted in Baseball, Sports

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