Milton Bradley: The Most Paranoid Man in Sports

Patrick MauroAnalyst IMay 26, 2009

MESA, AZ - MARCH 06:  Milton Bradley #21 of the Chicago Cubs runs to first base during a Spring Training game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at HoHoKam Park on March 6, 2009 in Mesa, Arizona.  (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)

The Kinks sang the line "paranoia the destroyer" in their 1981 song Destroyer. He was only 3 years old at the time, but it was as if they had Cubs’ outfielder Milton Bradley—who should use the tune as his entrance music—in mind when penning those words.

"Silly boy you got so much to live for
So much to aim for, so much to try for
You blowing it all with paranoia
You’re so insecure you self-destroyer

Playing for his seventh team in 10 years, Bradley was in the news a couple weeks ago drawing a two-game suspension (reduced to one on appeal) for "aggressively arguing balls and strikes" and he’s at it again.

The latest in his saga are claims that MLB's umpires are forcing him to swing at balls out of the strike zone.

"Unfortunately, I just think it's a lot of 'Oh, you did this to my colleague,' or 'We're going to get him any time we can," Bradley told the Chicago Tribune. "As soon as he gets two strikes, we're going to call whatever and see what he does. Let's try to ruin Milton Bradley."

I can picture the secret gathering of umps—meeting in an underground lair, feasting on an endangered species and sipping the blood of children—laying out their diabolical plan to ruin Mr. Bradley’s season.

"Self-destroyer, wreck your health
Destroy friends, destroy yourself
The time device of self-destruction
Light the fuse and start eruption..."

Mr. Bradley’s history includes several incidences with authority figures, yet little inclination to look in the mirror and ponder why.

In Cleveland, he and his manager couldn’t get on the same page.

He told SI after being traded to the Dodgers in 2004, "It was strictly a problem with Eric Wedge. Some people want to be bigger than they are. I can't respect somebody that has nothing to go on."

During that 2004 season in LA he would be ejected from four games, draw a four-game suspension for throwing a bag of balls on the field during a tantrum, and that September be suspended the remainder of the year after a plastic bottle was thrown on the field in his direction and he nearly went Ron Artest on a fan in retaliation.

The following season he criticized teammate Jeff Kent for not being able to deal with black players.

Also, while with the Dodgers, Bradley wound up spending three days in jail after a run-in with police during a traffic stop. Those same police responded thrice to Bradley's home on domestic violence calls, although he was never arrested or charged.

During the 2007 season, Bradley tore his ACL while his Padre manager Bud Black tried to separate him from an umpire he was arguing with about whether he threw a bat at a different ump in a previous at-bat.

Last season, Kansas City Royals broadcaster Ryan Lefebvre compared him to the Rangers’ Josh Hamilton—whose career got sidetracked by drugs—prompting him to go after the guy before being stopped by manager Ron Washington.

Bradley didn’t care for the comparison and thought someone who didn’t know him shouldn’t be arriving at that type of conclusion.

You didn’t need to know Mother Teresa or Jeffrey Dahmer to understand what type of people they were.

That said, Bradley does get a raw deal in the media, but he brings it on himself and exacerbates it by refusing to talk, and, when he does, babbling about how the press "makes stuff up" and that a conspiracy exists to prevent him from succeeding.

"Dr. Dr. help me please, I know you’ll understand;
There’s a time device inside of me, I’m a self-destructin’ man;
There’s a red, under my bed;
And there’s a little green man in my head;
And he said, you’re not goin’ crazy, you’re just a bit sad;
‘cause there’s a man in ya, knawin’ ya, tearin’ ya into two ..."

I hope the Cubs payroll includes a good shrink.

"It's just unfortunate. But I'm going to come out on top. I always do."

He does? I don't see any rings on his fingers. And he’s a Cub, so that won’t be changing anytime soon.

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