This Fan has long tried to give Milton Bradley a pass on his reputation. For one, the Fan is a white guy and understands that no matter how enlightened, this type of reputation is enhanced by race. Guys like Bradley and Gary Sheffield and before them, Eddie Murray and Albert Belle, seem to get little slack for their respected reputations in large part because of their race. The Fan suspects that Jeff Kent was as much a jerk as Barry Bonds, but Kent was the "gamer" and the "throwback" while Bonds was...well, Bonds. And so the Fan has tried to give Bradley a pass. But each time the Fan tries to do that, Bradley speaks up again and what he says is such garbage that it makes the innards groan.
The Fan is going to play pop psychologist for a moment and consider that Bradley might have a problem. He is at best, insecure and at worst, schizophrenic. After all, consider that he has given an entire city as the reason for his nightmare of a season last year. It gets pretty paranoid when an entire city becomes this evil lurking thing that brought you to your knees as a player.
The nagging thought is that Bradley still might have a point. Things weren't going well in 2009 for Bradley and the Cubs. Both had high expectations as a player and a team respectively. Every projection picked the Cubs to win their division in 2009. They never even got close. During the midst of that spiraling down slide, Lou Piniella, the white "old guard" manager publicly called out Bradley and belittled him in public. Bradley didn't stand a chance after that with the fans and the city.
But the problem that goes along with insecurity is that sometimes you cover it up with bravado. Bradley couldn't bring himself to swallow his pride and answer Piniella with humility and try to change the city's perception of him. He never could understand that once the press turns on you, only humility and openness can turn it around. Nixon never learned that and neither has Bradley. And so he keeps fanning the flames despite how hard some of us want to see him turn his career back around and become the player he was in Texas.
If he would just hush up and play ball and answer his critics with performance, he would be much better served. But alas, he can't seem to do that. So this Fan's message to Bradley? The Fan's been trying, man. But you got to help him here. Just hush up for a while, okay?