Right fielder Milton Bradley has been suspended by the Cubs for the remainder of the 2009 season. GM Jim Hendry says that he was suspended after “learning of the players remarks in the Daily Herald”. I won’t go into the details, but you can read the article here. I would guess that most people who hear about this would not be surprised. Honestly, it relieves me. And I certainly hope that they find a way to trade him in the off season. Milton Bradley, in my opinion, has been a “chemistry breaker” for years.
Some would say that the media and fans have unfairly formed an opinion about him and haven’t even given him a chance in Chicago. Even if there was 1 ounce of truth to this, Bradley has created the media perception by himself. Whether its tearing his ACL after going after an ump, or kicking and punching the water cooler around in the clubhouse, players undoubtedly started to get weary of Bradley and his bad temper. It does nothing but alienate Bradley from the rest of the team, and it keeps him from playing to his ability. From a fan standpoint, when you try and chase after fans in the stands, they aren’t going to like you! From a media standpoint, when you call someone from the press “Uncle Tom” that is not going to help your perception either! Its what my Dad always calls the “echo effect”. The echo effect is to “respond to and treat others as you would want them to do to you”. Bradley has dug his own grave in this department.
Should we mainly focus on a players stats and ability on the field? Absolutely. But we can’t ignore or forget a players behavior, either – especially if it is detrimental towards fans, the media, and most importantly the team. And clearly, the Chicago Cubs must have felt the same way. Bradley said that “I need a stable, healthy, enjoyable environment. There’s too many people everywhere in your face with a microphone asking the same questions repeatedly. Everything is just bashing you. It’s just negativity.” The problem with Bradley’s comments are that they are inconsistent with what some other players feel. Reed Johnson said that “I came from Toronto and come here and just like fall in love with the city and fall in love with the organization…Its just hard for me to believe that you can come to this city, come to this organization, and not enjoy your time here.”
Although I feel badly for Bradley that he can’t play baseball until 2010, I certainly hope that he can learn from his mistakes, and help fix the perception that he has already so badly damaged…And hopefully this will be done away from the Chicago Cubs!