In Defense Of Milton Bradley

Milton's a hothead, but that strike call was even worse

Yesterday, Cubs fans were privy to a special treat -- the Milton Bradley Experience, every last bit of it.

In his first at-bat at Wrigley, Bradley did all of the things that make him both a valuable player and one whose hot head obscures his mercurial talent. Think about it: Bradley was taking questionable pitches, working the count, trying to get pitcher Adam Wainwright to make a mistake with the bases loaded. This is what makes Milton Bradley so good! He makes pitchers work really, really hard to get him out, and more often than not, he ends up on base.

The problem is that Wainwright got the benefit of the doubt on two straight calls. The first was a 3-0 pitch that most umpires give to the pitcher, even if it's not the right call. The second was a low, inside curveball that was obviously a ball, and yet the ump punched out Bradley immediately. Two straight, the latter of which was the worst. Brutal.

Who knows what Bradley said, but whatever it was, it apparently didn't bother his teammates. Derrek Lee said "I like it," and offered that Wainwright was given the benefit of the doubt on calls when it should have gone to Bradley.

So if Cubs players aren't mad at Milton, don't be either, Cubs fans. This is what you bargained for. This is the deal. Bradley gives you great at-bats, a high OBP, and a bunch of hits. In return, you get the slightly insane, hated-by-umps thing. It's all part of the bargain. Let's just hope there's more of the former in 2009 than the latter.

Oh, and one more thing: Bradley didn't push Vanouver. If there was contact, it was incidental. This needs to go away. Fast.

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, Follow him on Twitter.

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