[Sully, caught in the act by yrs truly in 2009 at AT&T Park's Press Box “ how he got in, I don't know. "This isn't going up on the Internet is it?" asked Sully. Weird, because every time I read a Sullivan story I ask the same damn thing. Ben Schwartz/CSTB]
*** Update: Looks like the Sun-Times’ Gordon Wittenmyer deserves some credit for pushing Byrd as “the anti-Bradley,” which Derrek Lee and the ESPN guys talk about below. No surprise, since Wittenmyer is the same guy who celebrated Jackie Robinson Day 2009 by asking Milton Bradley to shut up .***
Jeez, I thought I’d written enough about the lameness of Chicago media and Milton Bradley. If Bradley’s exit from the Friendly Confines did anything, it appears to have done some permanent damage to those who baited him from day one of his signing. Apparently, the traumatic specter of an uppity black man not “yes, sirring” and “no sirring” the paunchy middle-brows of Chicago’s sporting press can’t be shaken, specifically by the Trib‘s Paul Sullivan. With Spring Training open, Sully went right back to racially profiling a player not even on the squad anymore versus the Cubs’ new hire, Marlon Byrd. And without Bradley’s own volatile personality as a distraction, what Sullivan did all last year is now painfully obvious. Wrigleyville 23 astutely picked up on Sullivan’s obsessions here, via a Sully tweet from camp. Then, Bruce Levine and Jonathon Hood, without naming Sullivan, brought up his profiling issue (and Wrigley’s racist rep in the league) with Derrek Lee on their ESPN 1000 “Talkin’ Baseball” show:
“It’s ridiculous,” Lee told Bruce Levine and Jonathan Hood on ESPN 1000′s “Talkin’ Baseball” Saturday morning. “If it was a white guy who came over [to the Cubs] would he be [called] the ‘anti-Milton Bradley’? It just makes no sense. Marlon’s a completely different guy. He wasn’t traded for Milton. He signed here as a free agent, so why even bring Milton Bradley’s name into it? It really makes no sense and it’s just, again, the media trying to make something out of nothing.”
Bradley’s tenure with Cubs was tumultuous, with the switch-hitting right fielder accusing some fans of hurling racially charged taunts his way at Wrigley Field.
Lee said that Bradley’s accusations and similar comments from former Cub Jacque Jones don’t help in luring African-American players to the North Side.
“It’s definitely not a positive when you’re looking at coming to Chicago,” Lee said. “But I think overall, the positives do outweigh the negatives and we’re baseball players, so we’re pretty good at kind of blocking out all of that outside stuff and focusing on in between the lines. And in between the lines, Chicago’s a good place to play.”
Milton Bradley’s 2009 at Wrigley was a disaster, but at least those who wanted it that way and worked so hard for it are getting some of the credit.