UNCLE MILTIE, SUNDAY BRUNCH

September 27, 2009

The ChiTrib’s Rick Morrissey and Gwen Knapp from the SF Chronicle gave their opinions of Milton Bradley (it amazes me how much a team will put up with).
Morrissey: “There are politicians who are feeling like paragons of sincerity after reading the apology Milton Bradley issued the other day.

“I said and did certain things that I regret,” his statement read.

Does that sound even remotely like our guy?

A true apology wouldn’t have come slathered with agentspeak. It would have come unscripted and in front of the same cameras, tape recorders and notebooks that captured all of Bradley’s outlandish statements the last seven months.

An authentic, from-the-heart apology from Miltie would have sounded something like this:”I have a terrible habit of blaming everybody else when things go wrong. That’s not fair. It’s not everybody’s fault. Let’s just say there are certain global ‘forces’ at work intent on bringing me down. I’d like to talk more openly about it, but I’m fairly certain I’m being followed.

“I’ll admit I’m the kind of guy who could see a conspiracy in a nun asking for directions. But that just shows I’m cerebral. So I’d like to apologize for being a deep thinker in a sport filled with guys who believe bow-hunting is an intellectual exercise.

“I really did want to make this work with the Cubs, and that’s why I know I need to get some counseling. But if one more shrink tells me my self-destructive behavior is a manifestation of a deep desire for a world free of rules and authority, I’m going to go off like a weapons depot on fire.

“Apropos of nothing, I dare someone to put me in a locked room with an umpire. Me, an umpire and a cattle prod.

“I know I built a cocoon for myself and shut out my teammates. I’ve done this with every team I’ve been with, and it’s about time I admitted to myself that I’m the problem. Well, Alfonso Soriano and I are the problem. Kevin Gregg too. And how Geovany Soto keeps his job is beyond me.

“But I’m the one who is taking the blame. And I’m OK with that. As scripture says, better that one man die than the entire underachieving team.

“My first instinct is to say it will be a miracle if any other club wants my big, fat contract and my big, fat mouth. My second instinct is to say of course somebody will want me because, hey, I haven’t killed any big, fat umpires yet.

“Random thought: You haven’t experienced hell until you’ve seen Lou Piniella walking around the clubhouse in his underwear.

“Why is it always about me? I just want to go quietly about my business and let my bat do the talking. One whisper of an opinion, though: the reason the Cubs haven’t won a World Series in more than 100 years is because Chicago is a miserable place filled with miserable people who moved here to be miserable together. It’s only a matter of time before the Cubs call up an outfielder named Les Miserables. Mark it down: Milton makes a joke.

“I promise to stop making outrageous statements that take away from what the team is trying to accomplish. They serve no purpose other than to allow people to twist my words around and make me out to be a raving lunatic, which I’m not.

“True story: I once saw fans at Wrigley ritually sacrifice a frat boy from Wilmette. Got themselves some Kingsford charcoal briquettes and went to town. And why? Because he had the nerve to speak out in support of Milton Bradley! Talk about second-hand smoke! Hello, city code violation?

“I’d like to take this opportunity to apologize to all the people who have criticized me. You are pathetic and sick and I feel sorry for you. If somebody can be contrite for someone else, I am contrite for you.

“I don’t want to say anything against media members because I’m going to be a popular broadcaster after my career is over. But their comeuppance is going to feel very much like the business end of a jackhammer.

“I will say this: No matter how slowly I talk to writers, what comes out in the next day’s paper is wrong. For example, say I tell a sportswriter I often pray that home games go a fast nine innings so I can be free of the loser fans in the stands. It’s distorted to make it look like I hate the Wrigley experience. See the injustice? The story should be about me being a prayerful man.

“I think you’re getting an idea of what I’m up against. People don’t get me, and maybe that’s my fault. But I don’t think so.

“I’d like to apologize for being so egregiously misunderstood. Unless you’d like to apologize to me first.”     
Knapp: “The Cubs’ decision to suspend Milton Bradley for the rest of the season serves as a reminder of the extraordinary team chemistry on the 2006 A’s.
Bradley’s volatility didn’t entirely vanish that year, but his time in Oakland was relatively stable and pleasant.
Frank Thomas had a remarkably calming effect on Bradley. The Big Hurt could simply tap Bradley on the shoulder or elbow and cool off a heated argument with an umpire. Bradley and Nick Swisher, who along with CC Sabathia has enlivened the Yankees’ clubhouse this season, met in the dugout after home runs and executed a goofy, intricately choreographed home run dance.
The easygoing nature of that team carried over. And who can forget the night that manager Ken Macha intervened in Bradley’s dispute with the home-plate umpire by wrapping his arms around the outfielder, picking him up and carrying him away from the scene?
Macha ended up being fired at the end of the season, despite reaching the American League Championship Series, largely because of a disconnect between himself and the players. But that moment didn’t call for Macha to finesse a relationship. He just reacted, and did so more adroitly than San Diego manager Bud Black, who intervened in a 2007 dispute with an umpire by grabbing Bradley’s jersey and knocking him down, tearing the player’s anterior cruciate ligament.
Bradley went on to a fairly placid, very productive 2008 season in Texas – perhaps not coincidentally under the command of former A’s coach Ron Washington.
Did anyone expect happy results when Bradley went to work for the fierce Lou Piniella? Of course not. But at this point, there might not be an ideal match for him anywhere.
Bradley is very bright – a high school honors student – and often endearing. It’s always sad and exasperating to watch him self-destruct. But, ultimately, his experience in Oakland said little about his potential for change, and a whole lot about the people around him.

 

Dick Heller of the DC Post felt, “I think the Nats blew it when they planned their ersatz Oktoberfest. Participants won’t be allowed to fork over their $25 for beer and pretzels alone. You have to stay for the ballgame, too – and against a first-place opponent at that.
This gala celebration will be held on the roof of Garage B at Nationals Park, which marks the first time lately that anything connected with Washington baseball has gotten out of the cellar. “
Bob Molinaro of HamptonRoads.com said that, “Curt Schilling’s announcement that he isn’t running for Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat belies the conventional wisdom that nothing good ever comes out of politics.”
And finally, Nick Cafardo said in the Boston Globe that, “Whoever hires Rick Peterson this 0ffseason will get the best pitching coach in the game.”

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