An Open Letter to Milton Bradley
You may find this hard to believe, but it's going to get better. I know, it doesn't feel that way -- your back is against the proverbial wall, the hometown fans are against you, and you feel like your last friend just spit in your eye. You are pressing, struggling, and probably regretting the big, multi-year contract you signed. After all -- you're only halfway through the first of three seasons in Chicago.
Here's the deal, though. At this point, I don't think you really understand Cub fans. First, contrary to the rumors you may have heard, we are no more racist than the fans of any other team out there. If you are getting booed and heckled, please know that it's for other reasons. Second, we are a hardened, cynical, screwed-up bunch. Sports psychologist all over the country would do well to set up shop in Wrigleyville, as they coax long-time Cub fans through self-deprecation, depression, alcoholism, and messy divorces. Losing for 101 years is not natural and because of it we are rarely normal. That's a long-winded way of saying that Jesus Christ could come back, play center field for the Cubs, and on his first bobbled ball in the outfield there would be somebody out there itching to dump beer all over his thorny crown.
But third, we can be the most loyal, supportive group of fans in the world, too. Just go back and watch some old tape on Andre Dawson -- they worshiped him. Same thing with Sammy Sosa -- he was the most selfish, greedy, asenine player of an entire era and people would have buried bodies for him.
You must be wondering, how do I get to that point? I realize, Mr. Bradley, that it feels like an impossible feat but it's actually pretty simple: start playing the way you know you can. All of that pressure, all of that frustration, that feeling of isolation, if you just start hitting it will all go away. (Kind of amazing, isn't it?)
Think about that for a second. You aren't hitting because you're stressed out by the booing. You're getting booed because you aren't hitting. Start hitting, the boos go away, and you will be loved.
I only mention this because it must feel like there's an impossible chasm between where you are now and where you need to be to feel comfortable in Chicago. And at the beginning of this so-called "open letter," I wrote "it's going to get better." I know this to be true for a simple reason: you didn't wake up one morning only to discover that your talent has left you. It's still there. You can hit the ball, and you will. I hope your success starts this year.
Goat Riders of the Apocalypse