Game Over: Controversial Chicago Cub Milton Bradley Suspended for Rest of Season

Damen JacksonCorrespondent ISeptember 21, 2009

CHICAGO - AUGUST 28: Milton Bradley #21 of the Chicago Cubs hits the ball against the New York Mets on August 28, 2009 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Cubs defeated the Mets 5-2. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Filed: Sept. 19, 2009

In a surprise move, the Chicago Cubs have suspended outfielder Milton Bradley for the remainder of the season over controversial comments made about the organization and its fan base to the media.

With the move, Bradley's career as a Cub has, in all likelihood, drawn to a close. Outfielder Tyler Colvin is expected to be called up from Double-A on Monday to provide outfield help.

The crux of the matter is comments made in an interview recently with Bruce Miles of the Daily Herald. In it, Bradley makes a number of negative comments about the team and its fans, including the following:

"It's just not a positive environment. I need a stable, healthy, enjoyable environment. There's too many people everywhere in your face with a microphone asking the same questions repeatedly. Everything is just bashing you. You got out there and you play harder than anybody on the field and never get credit for it. It's just negativity. And you understand why they haven't won in 100 years here, because it's negative. It's what it is."

In defending the suspension, Jim Hendry released the following statement:

"There have been a lot of issues that we've lived with during the year, but the last few days became too much for me to tolerate, to be honest with you. I'm not going to let our great fans become an excuse, I'm not going to tolerate not answering questions from the media respectfully. Whether you feel like talking or not, it's part of our jobs. I'm not going to allow disrespect to other people in that locker room and uniformed personnel."

Now that we've the official stuff out the way, let me frank; this isn't about those comments. I was at the game Thursday, where Milton Bradley pulled himself from the game in the sixth inning.

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The players and organization would have you believe that this was a pre-planned event, an arrangement made earlier in the game with the Cubs trainers. I call bull%#$%@#!!

It's one of the joys of being at games with a great seat, a good camera, and a big lens. You get to see things that you never see on TV. There didn't appear to be one person in the dugout who wasn't caught by surprise when Bradley headed in.

We walked in, talked to no one, and headed down the tunnel, where he had a conversation with someone, I believe trainer Mark O'Neal. The Cubs appeared to debate who to send in before grabbing Bobby Scales, who, to me, didn't look like he had been down the tunnel warming up.

I've talked to a few folks who were also at the game, and they saw much the same thing. I suspect that was really the straw that broke the proverbial camel's back, with the Cubs putting on a good face to keep things manageable in the clubhouse for the duration of the season, and hopefully not further minimize Bradley's trade value.

And he will be traded. With a third year likely taken off the table due to his injury, his contract becomes a very manageable one-year deal, in the $12 million neighborhood. And even if 2011 becomes guaranteed, you'd like to think that someone—likely in the AL—will be interested, especially if you're just giving him away.

Some reports have considered Toronto and Kansas City as likely destinations. I think that's a stretch, especially given that any talks with Toronto would center on taking the albatross that is Vernon Wells' contract off of their hands.

There will be others, though, as teams will try to dump their own bad contracts, and hope that Bradley has an inspired, bounce-back season in 2010.

Personally, I suspect that the likeliest destination will be either 1) New York, where  Omay Minaya's desire to dump the Luis Castillo contract—and need in LF—will outweigh the Bradley factor, or 2) Washington, in which case Jim Hendry would cry uncle, hold his nose, and get Adam Dunn to replace Milton in right field.

Whatever the case, Bradley is gone, and his tenure may mark the worst case of hubris that I've seen in a non-political setting. Expecting Milton Bradley to be healthy, productive, and reasonably well adjusted in Chicago for three seasons was something that 20-year old bloggers knew wasn't going to happen.

That a knowledgeable baseball man, given time enough to do his research, would not only think otherwise, but would bid against himself for the right to take this risk is nonsense.

Jim Hendry probably needs to start worrying about whether he gets shown the door, too.


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