Details surrounding Milton Bradley’s brief but tumultuous tenure with the Chicago Cubs continue to spill out, and unsurprisingly, none are great. After a weekend that saw Lou Piniella reach a fever pitcher with the outfielder and call him a “piece of shit,” and saw Alfonso Soriano suggest that Bradley was not necessary to the team, now we’re hearing that Bradley just doesn’t get along with his teammates.
That’s in stark contrast to what we’d heard about Bradley for months before he was signed: he’s a great teammate, hard worker, passionate to a fault, gets along with everyone in the clubhouse. So far for the Cubs, that simply hasn’t been the case.
But when you see the quotes, it’s not as though Bradley’s just a jerk who doesn’t like anyone. It’s actually really uncomfortable to read.
“We just don’t have that bond,” he replied. “‘D-Lee’ is cool. He’s quiet. But things change. I had a good rapport with [fired hitting coach Gerald Perry]. I trusted Gerald and I could talk to him, and he’s gone. I think I clicked with [ex-Cub outfielder Joey] Gathright, and he’s gone. So you just kind of feel like you’re on an island, and trying to stay afloat.”
Bradley said the Cubs are a “good group of guys,” but he hasn’t formed any real relationships yet.
“The teammates, they’re there and they say all the right things,” he said. “But it’s just [small talk].” chicagotribune.com.
He sounds sad about it. Not gruff. Not a tough guy. Maybe he just needs a couple friends.
But maybe the things he does makes it hard to be his friend.
“People are always watching and looking at everything I’m doing,” he said. “My personality is more of a guy [who likes to] go unnoticed — to show up, do my job and go home, and really not have a whole lot of hoopla about it.
“I’m really not a guy who’s seeking any attention. I’m not seeking to be noted, like ‘Milton Bradley and the Chicago Cubs.’ I don’t want that. I just want to be part of a group and fit in and just love and be loved. That’s the basis of what I am.
“Maybe years ago I might have thought I wanted all this, but I really don’t want all the attention.”
It’s hard to accept that from Bradley, though. He’s a guy who seems to seek out the negative attention daily when he isn’t getting positive attention. I’m trying so hard to avoid making the overt Milton-Bradley-as-a-child comparison, but he’s making it hard with these statements.
He just wants to love and be loved. And right now, he isn’t. So he acts out.
Every mistake Bradley makes has been dissected and magnified, putting more pressure on him to succeed. He called it a “draining” experience, and he’s beating himself up over his struggles.
“When you walk around, when you look in people’s eyes, you don’t feel worthy,” he said. “That’s what I see.”
Ugh. That’s just really uncomfortable to read. Is Bradley sincere in this belief – and he’s just a fragile soul, as it seemed when he first signed with the Cubs? Or does he just like to play the victim?
I don’t know the answer, because I don’t know the man. But I feel icky about the whole thing.