Dexter Rogers

Dexter Rogers

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Milton Bradley: Suspended for the rest of the season by Cubs

It was just announced today embattled outfielder Milton Bradley will be suspended for the remainder of the season for comments he made about the Chicago Cubs organization. General Manager Jim Hendry made the call with the blessing of Cubs manager Lou Piniella. Piniella said, “Jim made the decision and I support it. I really do.”

The suspension resulted from comments Bradley recently made. According to the Daily Herald of Illinois Bradley stated, "You understand why they haven't won in 100 years here."

Bradley also suggested there’s a lot of negativity in the in the club house.
"I need a stable, healthy, enjoyable environment," Bradley told the newspaper, "There's too many people everywhere in your face with a microphone asking the same questions repeatedly.
Bradley continued, "Everything is just bashing you. It's just negativity."
The Cubs needed a scapegoat for underachieving and failing to make the playoffs.
The comments didn’t warrant suspension. It’s unfairly sending a subliminal message that Bradley was a disruptive force in the locker room and was the catalyst behind the team’s woes.

Then Hendry suggested the only thing negative was Bradley’s level of production. That’s an interesting comment. Perhaps we should delve a bit further here.

Is Bradley the reason why the Cubs failed miserably the last two seasons in the playoffs by being swept?

No, he wasn’t on the team.

Is Bradley the reason why the Cubs starting pitchers like Carlos Zambrano, Rich Harden, and Randy Wells have been inconsistent all year?

Is Bradley the reason why Alphonso Soriano is batting just .239?

Is Bradley the reason why Aramis Ramirez and Derek Lee have been the only players that have showed any level of consistency this season?

It’s easy to point out one player and create the illusion that he’s the problem.
The Cubs believe Bradley needs to take a look in the mirror: that’s fine and dandy but perhaps the entire Cubs organization needs to look in the mirror as well.

Does race play a factor here?

Perhaps it does. Bradley has stated he’s been unfairly treated in part due to race. He’s been vocal about it. In the not too distant past Bradley stated he’s heard racial slurs hurled his way which prompted him to state, "All I'm saying is I just pray the game is nine innings, so I can be out there the least amount of time as possible and go home."

Why would he say that if there wasn’t at least some level of credence to it?

How many African Americans besides Derek Lee and Bradley are on the 40 man Cubs roster? Matter of fact just 10 percent of the players in the Major Leagues are African American. Then you have an African American in Bradley who is outspoken and he’s labeled. He’s been run out of town the way former Cubs manager Dusty Baker was unfairly let go years ago.

Bottom line: this isn’t about Bradley and what he said. It’s about an outspoken African American being labeled for saying something that had merit. He just didn’t go about it the right way. It’s about the Cubs organization creating an atmosphere that suggests Bradley was the reason why the Cubs stunk it up this year and didn’t live up to expectations.

It’s not about Bradley: it’s about the whole team. When will the Cubs take responsibility and put the blame where it really belongs?

The Cub faithful blame the goat for being forever cursed for their World Series drought; they blame the “Bartman” incident for losing six years ago; and now they blame Bradley for disrupting the team this year.

Does Bradley need to look in the mirror? Sure. But he shouldn’t be alone. The Cubs organization as a whole needs to look in the mirror as well and put the blame where it really belongs.

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