Quote of the Day: Brenly on Bradley

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Longtime big-league catcher, World Series-winning manager, and current Cubs television analyst Bob Brenly, on Milton Bradley:

The bottom line is, just get the job done. He can point fingers and assign blame wherever he wants and laugh in the face of critics that he can swing the bat from the left side and he can stay healthy, but do it all year long, don’t just do it for a month of the season and proclaim yourself the guy we were looking for.

I think Milton Bradley is a much better offensive player then we’ve seen this year, I just think he’s allowed too many distractions to get between his ears, I think he incorrectly blames everybody else for making him the lightning rod. Well if you don’t want to be the lightning rod, then don’t stand on the roof in a thunderstorm with a one-iron in your hand.

It took less than half a season for Cubs fans to turn on Bradley after he signed a three-year, $30 million contract this winter and naturally he’s blaming everyone but himself for that, but Brenly has it exactly right with the analogy about lightning rods, thunderstorms, roofs, and golf clubs.
I’m sure there are specific incidents where Bradley has been unjustly criticized and treated worse than he deserves by fans or the media, but at the end of the day when every city you play in quickly gets fed up with you despite the fact that you’re a career .279/.373/.453 hitter … well, at some point the only constant in that equation is you.

Max Scherzer will not be ready for Opening Day

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Ten days ago Nationals ace Max Scherzer said he’d be ready for the start of the regular season. “I’m gonna do it,” Scherzer said.

[Ron Howard from “Arrested Development” voice] — No, he’s not:

Nationals manager Dusty Baker said that Max Scherzer is not on track to be the team’s opening day starter, and will most likely open the season as the third pitcher in the rotation.

He’s still projected to make it to the opening rotation, taking the hill, most likely, on Thursday April 6 against the Marlins. At least if the schedule doesn’t slip any more.

Scherzer, as you probably know, has a stress fracture in the knuckle of his right ring finger, which has messed with his preparation and has caused him to alter his grip a bit. As of now Stephen Strasburg will get the Opening Day nod.

Theo Epstein named The World’s Greatest Leader

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Fortune Magazine has put out a list of The World’s Greatest Leaders. Not the greatest business leaders, not the greatest leaders in a given industry, but the Greatest Leaders, full stop. The greatest according to Fortune: The Cubs’ Theo Epstein.

For some context, Pope Francis was third. Angela Merkel was 10th. Lebron James was the next greatest sports leader, ranked 11th. Take Fortune’s methodology with a grain of salt, however, given that it has John McCain above Merkel — what, exactly, does he lead now? — and Samantha Bee in the top 20.

So what makes Theo the world’s best leader according to Fortune?

The Cubs owe their success to a five-year rebuilding program that featured a concatenation of different leadership styles. The team thrived under the affable patience of owner Tom Ricketts, and, later, under the innovative eccentricity of manager Joe Maddon. But most important of all was the evolution of the club’s president for baseball operations, Theo Epstein, the wunderkind executive who realized he would need to grow as a leader in order to replicate in Chicago the success he’d had with the Boston Red Sox.

I don’t want to take anything away from what Theo has done — he’s a Hall of Fame executive already in my view — but I feel like maybe one needs to adjust for the fact that this is a baseball team we’re talking about. They’re the whole world to us and their brands are nationally and even world famous, but as an organization, sports teams are rather small. There are guys who run reasonably-sized HVAC companies with more employees than a baseball team and they don’t get the benefit of an antitrust exemption and a rule which allows them to get their pick of the best new employees if they had a bad year the year before.

Really, not trying to throw shade here, just thinking that being the spiritual father for 1.2 billion Catholics or running a foundation that serves 55 million needy children — like the woman who comes in at number 14 — is a bit of a tougher trick.

But this will make a great framed magazine article on Theo’s wall in Wrigley Field.