If someone polled Kris, Drew and me about our most favoritest players in baseball and then collated our selections to rank the players on one overall list, I doubt Milton Bradley would finish in the top ten. But there is perhaps no other athlete who best fits into the mission statement of Walkoff Walk. Milton Bradley is both talented and yet fails to live up to expectations; Milton is equal parts tragedy and comedy; Milton is the perennial creampuff who bleeds human condition all over the field.
So with the Cubs season winding down into misery for the 101st consecutive season, the biggest story in town is the mercurial Milton Bradley, suspended for calling out the team and the fans and deep dish pizza and Ditka and everything Chicagoans hold dear to the media. Forgive the amount of coverage here at WoW, but since the papers are doing whatever is in their best interest by pushing the story, we will too. The latest development had the Long Beach Press-Telegram interviewing Milton's mother, Charlena Rector:
"Apparently, he talked about all the negativity surrounding the team - and that included the fans. Well, he was only telling the truth. Why should he be suspended for telling the truth?
"He told me, `You can feel the hatred in this city.' Every time Milton has made an out with the Cubs this season he gets booed. He's had a lot of terrible things said to him when he's been out there in the outfield at Wrigley Field. This season has been a nightmare for him."
The Chicago Tribune also interviewed Ms. Rector who claimed that Milton's three-year-old son faced racial slurs along with his father and accused the Cubs fans of being racist.
I criticized Milton yesterday for not playing up to his potential but really, why should a player in his position be suspended for speaking his mind? It's unprecedented, and the MLB Players Association agrees. They're probably going to file a grievance to get Bradley reinstated. And why not? Bradley was not making up stories and telling lies when he spoke to the newspaper. There is negativity in every big league city and it's only magnified in Chicago.
Add in the harassment Bradley suffered and he becomes a sympathetic figure who does everything in his power to annoy and irritate you, and replace that sympathy with disappointment. He is the poster boy for the duality of man and will find his way onto the pages of Walkoff Walk as long as his career continues to simultaneously impress and depress us.
(we owe a six pack of Coke Zero to Diamond Notes)