In Milton Bradley's World, I Felt Like a Prisoner

Damen JacksonCorrespondent IMarch 10, 2010

CHICAGO - AUGUST 30: Milton Bradley #21 of the Chicago Cubs follows the flight of the ball against the New York Mets on August 30, 2009 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Mets defeated the Cubs 4-1. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

I guess today is just going to be the day that black men make me weep.

That's my first thought after running through the morning news, and finding these delightfully insane, and completely narcissistic interviews with Milton Bradley and Torii Hunter.

First, we have ESPN sitting down with Milton Bradley to discuss at length, his time in Chicago. Bless ESPN, who never resists an opportunity to facilitate flinging in the name of ratings, but this piece may have been the worst thing I've seen since Bonds on Bonds.

Asked about his manager, Lou Piniella:

"The next day, he called me into his office and wanted to apologize. I felt you put me on blast, called me out in front of everybody, you're going to apologize in front of everybody."

Nice. Except for the fact that he did, on numerous occasions.

From a Chicago Tribune article at that time:

"But I told him it wasn't right, and I apologized for it. But I also told him that we just can't continue to have the shenanigans that we've put up with it. I told him he's going to hurt somebody. He's going to hurt himself. But at the same time, I did talk to him and I did apologize for that last comment."

The organization? When asked about the source of his hate mail, and where some of it may have come from the Cubs themselves, given the lack of postage:

"I would hope not, but ... who knows? I don't know. I don't even care to know."

And my favorite money quote:

"I don't think the entire city of Chicago is racist or anything like that. If you weren't booing me, I'm not talking to you."

If you like Milton Bradley, then it's all good. And if you don't, well then, you're a racist. I booed on occasion. I wonder whether that applies to me, too?

This all actually pales in comparison to Torii Hunter, who chose to go equally batsh@#$t in his interview with USA Today on race in baseball. To wit:

People see dark faces out there, and the perception is that they're African American. They're not us. They're impostors."

As African-American players, we have a theory that baseball can go get an imitator and pass them off as us.

It's like they had to get some kind of dark faces, so they go to the Dominican Republic or Venezuela because you can get them cheaper.

It's like, why should I get this kid from the South Side of Chicago and have Scott Boras represent him and pay him $5 million when you can get a Dominican guy for a bag of chips?


Let me share a couple of thoughts with you.

Inner-city kids until recently have wanted to play baseball professionally about as much as they wanted to become NASCAR drivers. The interest simply was not there, and where there was, the economics made it difficult, not the lack of interest on behalf of the MLB in recruiting these kids. 

Gloves, ball, bats, and lack of fields in most neighborhoods made baseball cost prohibitive in much of the 80s and 90s, especially when all you needed was a cheap basketball for the whole neighborhood to play that sport.

Of course the money often wasn't there, again, because NO ONE WANTED TO PLAY!!

Hmm...let's see. Top pick in the 2007 draft? David Price—black.

2008? Tim Beckham—black.

Top prospect in baseball? Jason Heyward—black.

Seems to me like baseball pretty much takes talent wherever they can find it, regardless of race. And don't even get me started on the contract that the Reds gave Aroldis Chapman.

It was a bag of chips, and all that, to boot.

You know, you grow up in the inner city, it's very easy to see racism around every corner, and in many cases, it's often very real. But watching a couple of black men cite racism over a league and its fans who that will make them millionaires MANY times over,  and more often than not, shower them in adoration is truly enough to make me weep.


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