[If Milton Bradley only kicks one reporter's ass this year ... ]
Wow, Chicago’s patsy sports media has outdone itself in character assassination today. Steve Rosenbloom refers to Milton Bradley as “Milton Bradley— the nutbag in a nutshell.” Other Bradley adjectives in heavy rotation in Chi media: troubled, enigmatic, time bomb. Both The Chicago Tribune and The Sun-Times published a handy chronology of Bradley incidents dating back to 2004.
It’s amazing what the Chicago papers take for granted in their town. As in, a major reason not to sign Bradley is racist fans who will set him off. I guess that means sign an all-white team to appease the goons in the bleachers, if I follow the reasoning? Take note, not one of these reporters suggests Wrigley toss racists out. Sadly, race is on the table in the Bradley deal, but it’s seen entirely as his problem: not fans, not media, and certainly not (unthinkably) Jeff Kent’s.
The following all reject the Bradley deal and want DeRosa back. My advice, reread DeRosa’s blog on what it’s like to choke in two consecutive post season sweeps and rethink how indispensable he or anyone else is. There are those who would say that Bradley should look at Jackie Robinson’s example and ignore the racists with silent dignity. Me, I say, that was 1948. It’s 2008, we have a black President for God’s sake, and black players shouldn’t have to shut up for the sake of a bunch of racist drunks or cave-dweller columnists. Here’s a sampling of the de facto acceptance of racism (or omission of it, in the Deluca case) in Chicago, from some of its finest appeasers:
The Sun-Time’s Greg Couch on Bradley:
So what is he? He’s a left-handed bat. A good one. The Cubs need that.
But get used to the ticking, Cubs fans. Because Bradley is a time bomb. He’s going to get hurt. He’s going to explode with temper by attacking fans or announcers or something. He is coming to the North Side, where rumblings, unfair or not, suggest that a rogue element of fans makes things uncomfortable for black players.
He already knows that. He already thinks the world is out to get him. He called former Dodgers teammate Jeff Kent a racist and once called a black reporter an Uncle Tom.
Steve Rosenbloom on Bradley:
Bradley once accused then-teammate Jeff Kent of being racist. I don’t know what’s true there or why Bradley felt that way, but I do know that Jacque Jones and Dusty Baker said they got an earful and eyeful of racist comments while calling Wrigley Field home.
Maybe Bradley had good reasons for taking on everybody he took on, but the record is the record, and this guy’s record makes Carlos Zambrano look like Greg Maddux.
Chris DeLuca on Bradley:
Piniella believes he can handle Bradley. Maybe he can, though he nearly has lost his grip on Carlos Zambrano, did lose his grip on Michael Barrett and wants nothing to do with Kosuke Fukudome.
When Jacque Jones joined the Cubs, he was one of the friendliest, most easygoing players. After his stint in right at Wrigley — absorbing more than your ordinary share of boos — he left a bitter man. Imagine how Bradley will react if the fans turn on him after a cold start in April or a dropped fly or a slow trot down the first-base line.
Kornheiser’s Cartel on Bradley:
He accused Jeff Kent of being racist (Kent does kind of look racist, but it’s not something you go public with), and he tried to fight the Kansas City Royals television announcer last summer.
Full Court Press on Bradley:
Some drunken fan in the right-field bleachers, or field box seats in right field, will say something offensive to Milton Bradley. If players such as Jacque Jones and Latroy Hawkins are to be believed, the offensive statement is likely to be racist in nature.
I’ve attended a ton of games as a fan at Wrigley over the past two seasons, and I don’t remember an overtly racist comment being yelled at an African-American player. You hear things between fans, but nothing yelled out. But I’m not naive. I’m sure it happens. I did hear racist comments yelled at Kosuke Fukudome last season.
So what will be Bradley’s reaction when he hears the taunts? Will he run into the stands?
And then, Full Court Press Commenter #7, “Tom” (not me, I swear) on Bradley:
How come there aren’t any white sox columns or stories in the sports page today, it is all cubs and some bears and bulls and blackhawks. Are the sox still an ongoing concern or have they moved out of town? I doubt the bleachers will dish out anything bradley didn’t have to hear when visiting chicago with the rangers. But guess sox fans don’t have anything else to do but stir up race baiting, bad crowd behavior, and then smirk about it. Most of the problems in wrigley arise from sox fans who are there enjoying the fun atmosphere and aren’t used to having a nice time and minding their manners. Bradley will already be familiar with this sort of thing from sox fans.