Memo to Milton Bradley: Cubs Fans Hate Bad, Not Black

Tab BamfordSenior Writer IAugust 27, 2009

CHICAGO - JULY 26: Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) joins Chicago Cub fans in cheering Milton Bradley #21 after Bradley scored a run on a play at the plate in the 3rd inning against the Cincinnati Reds on July 26, 2009 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Last night, after the Chicago Cubs lost by nine to the lowly Washington Nationals, Milton Bradley decided it would be a good time to throw the fans under the bus.

Bradley, who has not played up to the expectations associated with his three-year, $30 million contract, claimed that he's facing adversity, hatred, and even racism while playing in the Cubs outfield.

In response to the fans' alleged attacks, Bradley has decided to take the low road. While being cheered on Wednesday night after a big two-run home run, Bradley taunted the fans by making hand gestures while walking back to the dugout.

Way to make friends, Milton.

Bradley came to Chicago with a track record littered with run-ins with fans, the media, and umpires. Indeed, because of his mouth and actions, Bradley, one of the more talented hitters in the game, hasn't been with the same team for more than one season since he broke in with Cleveland.

I have some very simple advice for Bradley: Shut up and perform, and the fans won't hate you so much.

The way Bradley speaks about the alleged verbal abuse at Wrigley, one would think the fans were coming up with something out of thin air and taunting him for no good reason at all.

Yet the day after he trashed the fans to the local Chicago media, there he was making hand gestures again after hitting a home run.

Bradley has done nothing to win fans in Chicago, but he has certainly created a list of reasons for fans to give him a hard time.

When he arrived in Chicago, he claimed he was a changed man. He said there wouldn't be injuries or issues with umpires or a bad attitude.

He then pulledย a hamstring in spring training, missed time, and then got ejected after his first at-bat at Wrigley Field in his Cubs career.

Since then, he has regularly talked back to fans both at home and on the road and has been shown shouting back into the stands on a number of occasions.

On Wednesday, again, he taunted fans in the stands that he thinks shouldn't taunt him.

I'm not saying that drunks in bleachers don't say things that are out of line, and the Cubs do have a history of players, like LaTroy Hawkins and Jacque Jones, who have claimed the outfield at Wrigley isn't a racially sensitive area.

But what do Hawkins, Jones, and Bradley have in common? They all underperformed their contracts.

Bradley didn't start hitting the ball until August this year, and he expects fans hoping for a third consecutive division title to sit by and watch the Cubs continue a free-fall out of contention without being upset. Then he instigates taunting, only making matters worse for himself.

What Cubs fans are seeing now is the same Bradley that's worn out his welcome in San Diego, Oakland, Los Angeles, Texas, and Cleveland before arriving here. It's the same Bradley that has never had his talent questioned, but also never received a multi-year contract offer.

He's a clubhouse cancer who's locked up for two more years and $20 million more to play near bleachers he, according to his quotes in the Chicago Tribune, can't get away from fast enough.

While there might be some regrettable words thrown around from the bleachers, there is one truth I think all Cubs fans can agree on: The fans at Wrigley don't hate Milton Bradley because he's black. They hate him because he's got a big mouth and doesn't know when to shut it.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.