Cheap Seats

Is Milton Bradley playing games?

Just when it looked like things couldn't get any worse for the Cubs, the team's $10 million-a-year malcontent seems to be doing whatever he can to force the team to release him in the first year of a three-year deal.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Bradley said he hates Cubs fans so much that he prays that games at Wrigley Field don't go extra innings so he doesn't have to spend any more time with them than absolutely necessary.


That has to be an attempt to force the Cubs to send him out of town. (And it's fairly obvious they they aren't going to be able to trade him and the $20 million left on the deal.) Could anyone innocently say something so stupid and provocative? Bradley added that he thinks Cubs fans are racist and that the team condones their behavior by refusing to do anything about it. Nice.

The Cubs have flat out said they don't believe Bradley's claim of being the victim of racism (even though other players in the past have accused their fans of making racist taunts at players) furthering the rift between him and the team and making a divorce seem even more inevitable.

Bradley can't blame anyone but himself for drawing the ire of fans because he not only taunts them in the press, he does it in person. When he was with the Dodgers a few years back he was being heckled for striking out against the Cardinals at Busch Stadium when he turned to the outfield fans and held his hand up. He rubbed his thumb and fingers together in the international sign for "I'm rich and you're not," earning a healthy increase in the volume and the venom of the remarks directed toward him.

He earned a suspension in 2004 while with the Dodgers for rushing the stands and slamming a bottle at the feet of a fan. ESPN reported at the time:

"In San Francisco, I got it relentlessly," Bradley said. "I got a bottle thrown at me in San Diego. It was the bottle that really frustrated me, being an LA fan or whoever it was."

Teammates Steve Finley  and Alex Cora  came to right field and tried to calm down Bradley, who was arguing with umpire Jim Joyce before being ejected.

As Bradley walked from right field to the Dodgers' dugout, he took his jersey and hat off. With the crowd behind the dugout booing, Bradley gestured with palms up, urging the fans on.

Scary stuff.

Anyone who has even played sports knows that once you acknowledge a heckler in any way, the heckler has won. I just have to wonder how smart it is to rile up the folks who drove Steve Bartman out of town for trying to catch a foul ball.

But I guess if he was that smart he would realize that he's burned bridges with seven of the 30 teams in Major League Baseball and that sooner or later he is going to have to figure out a way to get along with someone -- or he is going to run out of places to make millions of dollars to drive in 35 runs in 105 games.