Heat Week Pt 2 - Bashing Bradley
He wants you to know that he isn't a bad guy. He's just passionate. Hey, we love passionate -- just ask our man Carlos. But the difference is that Carlos is passionate about winning. Milton Bradley is passionate about being right. In Bradley's deepest fantasies, he probably doesn't see himself hefting above his head a World Series trophy. No, he sees himself reading a letter or watching a report stating that MLB has conceded the existence of a conspiracy to ruin his career.
Self-righteous doesn't win ballgames, folks. Then again, neither does Milton Bradley.
When the Cubs signed him this past off season I think there were high hopes that he would be the offensive force the team has lacked since Sammy Sosa broke his bat in 2004. Instead he's this year's edition of 2002 Moises Alou -- out of shape, injury prone, and under-productive.
There was a silver lining back then, though. Pee-Hands would come back in '03 and '04 and put up ridiculously good offensive numbers even while alienating baseball fans everywhere with his -- in my opinion -- amphetamine-driven tirades and bad attitude. Everybody remembers Kent Mercker for knocking egos with Steve Stone; not as many people recall that Moises Alou was another one of a number of assholes on the '04 team. Still, if Bradley ever puts up Alouesque numbers, we'll be happy. The only problem is that it's not happening this year.
At this point, Don't Wake Daddy is batting .209 with an OPS of .689. But from May 7th to May 31st he batted .297 in 64 (19 hits) at bats with 3 doubles, a triple, and 3 homers. Hey, great. If he could do that over the span of 500 at bats we'd be looking at about 150 hits, 23 doubles, 23 homers, and a lot of big RBI. The only problem is that he then tore a muscle in his calf. With Bradley -- especially this year -- there's always a new issue.
I don't know. Maybe he'll start hitting again once he's seen some regular at bats. Maybe he'll get that AVG up to .250 this year. Maybe he'll even manage 20 homeruns. But at this point there's nothing Bradley could do -- short of October glory -- to save himself from being labeled a bust. He's just got too many problems, from injury to attitude, to be labeled a key contributor to the '09 team.
Therefore my message to Milton is this: stop caring about being right. Stop playing hurt. Accept that you will eventually need to spend some time on the DL. Stop pressing! You're not in Chicago to glorify Milton Bradley, or to win the hearts of your detractors, or to prove that there's a world-wide baseball conspiracy against you. You're here to win baseball games. So focus on that for a while, okay?