Milton Bradley sucks. He can’t hit a baseball with any regularity. He can’t stay healthy. He is an instant rally killer. He’s getting paid $10 million a year. Those things alone make him the most disastrous free agent signing in baseball for the 2009 season. But what he said Saturday is inexcusable, and Cubs general manager Jim Hendry did the right thing by suspending him for the rest of the year.
According to this article from ESPN.com, Bradley told the Arlington Heights Daily Herald that, “It’s just not a positive environment. I need a stable, healthy, enjoyable environment. … It’s just negativity,” on his first season with the Cubs. After those comments, you can be damn sure it’s going to be his last with the team.
Bradley seems to forget that, if it were all negativity as he claims, Wrigley Field would not be crammed for every game, and those fans that are rooting so faithfully for the team every game are who pay his salary. “You understand why we haven’t won in 100 years here,” he said. I do, Milton, and it has nothing to do with the fans. It’s been because of a century’s worth of players with production like you.
Hendry said he didn’t know if the relationship could be repaired between Bradley and the team. He boldly sent the statement to the fans that nobody in the organization, including the Ricketts family (the new team owners), was going to accept this kind of behavior from unruly players. If the team’s massive payroll upgrades the past few seasons is any indication, the Cubs are attempting to build their franchise into the Yankees of the Midwest, and team officials expect players to act in a professional manner.
It doesn’t matter that this suspension business leaves the team in the unfavorable position of needing to make a deal this offseason that will result in them eating most of Bradley’s contract while receiving hardly anything in return. This shows the team is willing to pay for better chemistry, if not better production, and, most of all, a better public image.
What Mr. Bradley needs to remember is, you don’t say bad things about the fans and then complain later when they turn against you. All he had to do was keep his mouth shut and work hard and the fans would forgive his immensely disappointing year. But he kept pushing it, claiming Chicago fans and umpires alike had a racial bias against him, despite the team’s leader and arguably most popular player (Derrek Lee) being, himself, a black man. No, Milton, people hate you not because of your race, but because you’re an excuses-making dick.