Milton, don't go away mad, baby, just go away
Last night, even though we were blown out by the worst team in baseball, Don't Wake Daddy his own self went four-for-four with a dinger, so he felt like talking. Lucky us.
The result? The headline in the Tribune today? "Bradley - I face hatred on a daily basis". He goes on to outline that he is never comfortable playing in Wrigley Field. That's pretty troublesome, since he has to play there half the time. He was also asked if he felt his team was demoralized. To his credit, he didn't flip out the stock "no" that other guys would, but offered a "I don't have a politically correct way to answer that, so I won't". In other words, Yes.
Look, folks. I know what a troublemaker sounds like when he talks. I know what a rabblerouser says when he's speaking. I speak the language of the disgruntled. This is one disgruntled, rabblerousing troublemaker. This is not a healthy influence. Sure, he isn't just lying around all fat and happy, like a few of his peers. (Cough*Soriano*Cough). I honestly don't mind friction, we lacked it last year. But this isn't the kind of friction we want. This isn't the friction of a finely tuned machine generating torque. This is the friction of ill-fitting parts rubbing against one another.
In terms of on-the-field misery, Milton is not in the top 5 in "why we suck this year". Off the top of my head, you have to figure "Soriano's year-long slump", "Ramirez' dislocated shoulder". "Gregg's deft touch with a gas can", "Soto showing up fat, drunk, and stupid", and "the great sucking chasm just to the right of the second base bag" as more compelling reasons why we lose. For all his failings, the man fields his position adequately, hasn't made any serious baserunning blunders, and is still getting on base 40% of the time. These are good things, and to the right team, have value.
In other words, Milton Bradley has not lost the 2009 season for us. But he sure as hell isn't winning the 2010, or any other years' season for us, either. He has a negative approach to life, and certainly to baseball. He would be most happy in an environment without pressure, without expectations, and with as little criticism as humanly possible. As you all well know, the North Side of Chicago is NOT that kind of place. Sure, there are still the blue kool-aid swilling, rose-colored shades wearing, bleating sheep who still sit in the bleachers and root for our guys while down 9 runs in the bottom of the ninth against Washington.
(Aside: if you're the Where's Waldo shirt-wearing dork in the bleachers last night that was repeatedly being shown in the ninth, really, man. It is Time To Re-Evaluate. I can't BELIEVE I live on the same PLANET as you, let alone the same country or the same state. Get a clue, man!)
But more and more of us every day have higher expectations than to just see guys run out and run back in. So we boo. Big rippin' deal!! The first order of business for the off-season is to try to maximize the trade return for this guy. Once again, he isn't the worst on-field performer we have. But he is, by far, the worst off-field performer. We took a chance, on a guy who has never had a long-term contract before, on the notion that some long-term security would calm the savage beast. It hasn't, not by a long shot. It happens, too bad. Now, fix it.
He is the poster boy for Clubhouse Cancer. Let's all band together, and stamp out Clubhouse Cancer in our lifetimes! Tell me what effin' color ribbon I have to put on the bumper of my car, and I'll buy the damn thing, and display it proudly, if it means this guy soils somebody else's laundry next year!