After the Cubs signed Milton Bradley, fans knew that 2009 was going to go one of two ways: Either Milton would hit well and stay healthy and have a happy, productive season, or Milton would get hurt, play poorly, and spontaneously combust before September arrived.
We now have our verdict.
Bradley angrily lashed out at Cubs fans yesterday, saying he's had to deal with racial remarks all season. Bradley refused to give examples, instead deciding to give the sort of crazy responses only Milton Bradley can give.
For example, in response to a question about what kind of remarks he'd been hearing, Bradley said: "America doesn't believe in racism." There are a variety of quotes like this. When Bradley was asked to define the word "hatred," he started talking about waiters in a restaurant badmouthing him to his face. He said security was no help against the racists at Wrigley, that all you can do is "listen to them yell." And perhaps his most damning comment, the one most Cubs fans will especially take to heart, was this:
"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," he said.
That's not exactly the competitive attitude Bradley's famous for, nor the one Cubs fans were promised when Hendry risked $10 million a year on Bradley last winter.
The problem with all of this is, despite Bradley's craziness -- and let's just call a spade a spade here; Bradley is pretty loony -- he's probably right. He probably has been the victim of racist nonsense at Wrigley field. Chicago has a checkered racial history (in 2009, it's still one of the most segregated cities in the world) and Wrigley Field has been the home of racial insensitivity before, whether in regards to other black players or to the Asian caricatures so many fans have worn to "honor" Kosuke Fukudome.
We believe Bradley when he says he's being insulted. It's his manner of dealing with it -- choosing to be crazy and spout off to the media and act as though it's his reason for not performing this year -- that will likewise offend most fans. If someone's being racist, have security remove them. Part of being a professional athlete is learning to deal with the morons, and if Milton hasn't figured it out by now, he never will.
Eamonn Brennan is a Chicago-based writer, editor and blogger. You can also read him at Yahoo! Sports, Mouthpiece Sports Blog, and Inside The Hall, or at his personal site, eamonnbrennan.com. Follow him on Twitter.