Blasting Off On Milton Bradley and Racism in Wrigleyville

Jerry Burnes@@JerryBurnesAnalyst IMarch 10, 2010

PEORIA, AZ - FEBRUARY 25:  Milton Bradley of the Seattle Mariners poses during photo media day at the Mariners spring training complex on February 25, 2010 in Peoria, Arizona.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Milton Bradley continues to pound the drum of his lost 2009 season being Chicago's fault, Wrigleyville's fault, the Cubs' fault. But not his own.

Now Bradley is back with new comments, to ESPN's Colleen Dominguez, about the racial tension he felt while with the Cubs.

"Well, I mean unless you go out there and you're Superman -- you're Andre Dawson, you're Ernie Banks, you're in the Hall of Fame -- then it's going to be tough," Bradley said. "People are just the way they are."

Bradley's latest round of Cub-hating comments are possibly his most arrogant and self-serving comments since leaving the Windy City.

He compares the hate mail he received to that of former closer LaTroy Hawkins and outfielder Jacque Jones. Both were coincidentally African American but were also extreme under-performers during their time in Chicago.

What Bradley needs to understand is that with a high paycheck comes higher expectations. Especially when you choose to sign with a team that hasn't won a World Series in over 100 years.

Blaming racism and the fans, the team, and so on is cowardly. It's arrogant. Most of all, it's getting old.

I have been going to Cubs games since before I could even throw a ball and can honestly say I have never heard a fellow fan make a derogatory remark about a player's skin color.

Am I ignorant enough to believe that absolutely nobody has? No, but a few bad apples shouldn't ruin it for the rest.

If you talk to Bradley though, him, Jones, and Hawkins seem to be the only African Americans to have played in Chicago since Andre Dawson.

But what about Derek Lee? What about the left field bleachers' love affair with another under-performing African American outfielder named Alfonso Soriano? What about Carlos Marmol?

None are hall of fame-bound. All have been booed in their times at Wrigley but haven't come crying to "Mother Media" with racism claims against an entire city or neighborhood.

They understand their paychecks mean performance. All of them have owned up to their performances, and Lee is leading the example of how to bounce back from it.

Sure, the Cubs don't have a lot of African Americans on roster, but that's a disturbing trend around Major League Baseball. It's not racism; it's numbers. Fewer African Americans are choosing to play the game of baseball every year.

Yes, Adam Dunn was the Cubs fans' first choice in 2009. Yes, Cubs fans were a little tougher on Bradley, and I'm the sure the locker room had some tension. But don't try to skate away as the innocent victim here, Milton.

You hit a putrid .257, an agonizing 40 RBI, a low 12 home runs, and had a slew of problems in the field. You were the one essentially caving under the pressure of the big money and big market in a city where they love their teams. Not the fans.

And you were the one who, even by admissions of players like Lee an Soriano (also African American - Gasp! ) was a loner in the clubhouse. Or are they just racist, too?

And now you continue on fighting this losing battle, and it's not against racism. It's against Milton Bradley and Milton Bradley's track record. We've seen in it Los Angeles and Oakland too, where ironically enough, he underperformed and said he received hate mail.

I see a pattern here, and it looks better for Chicago than it does for Milton Bradley.


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