When the Chicago Cubs signed Milton Bradley several weeks ago, each story on the signing was as populated by statistics from Bradley’s explosive season last year in Arlington as it was populated by stories from his explosive past.
The reporting was, of course, not unfair. These things actually happened, and it’s only natural to be interested in the back story of those who populate our little Cubs universe (come on, that’s why LOST is so popular).
And that interest turns, of course, to speculation: is it going to happen again this year? What is Milton going to do next? Again, it’s only natural.
But are we a little too eager to see just what will happen? Read up, after the jump.
Another Cubs Blog took on the question directly, with a hard admonition.
If the media and fans so desperately want to be right about Bradley, they will be. All they have to do is continue to provoke a man who has anger-management issues and sooner or later, he will perform for them. If he has a bad game and the media hounds him or the fans boo him or a combination, and someone says something specific, he’ll go off like everyone wants to see just like the drug addict will use the drugs sooner or later if you keep forcing him or her to be around them.
I think that’s probably right. This is not a man without limits. Just look at the press conference when Bradley was introduced as a Cub.
Halfway through the clip, Bradley speaks about no longer feeling like he can’t trust anyone. Like he’s got to be looking over his shoulder, wondering who is just trying to get him. This is obviously a guy who has had troubles in his past, but is trying to find the strength to get through it.
How quickly will that newfound strength disappear if all he feels are eyes on him wanting to see him explode? Well, he answered it himself in that same press conference (though not in the clip): “I’ve seen a lot of cute headlines about me, from people that don’t know and understand me. I don’t think it’s very intelligent to speak like that about somebody you don’t know.”
That is not the statement of a man who is going to be able to easily ignore the eyes and words that pour over his every indiscretion.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t be interested in the Milton Bradley story, both on and off the field. And I’m not saying that if he does act up, there should be any extra benefit of the doubt.
I’m just saying that maybe we shouldn’t rubberneck quite as much as we would otherwise. If the Bradley-mobile spins out on the highway, change lanes, and pass on by. It’s not worth stopping to watch and causing a backup behind you that might lead to more trouble.
Of course, if the Bradley-mobile gets into a full-on, fireball of a crash… well, I can’t fault you for taking an extra long sideward glance.