There was a lot of scoffing at Milton Bradley when he and his family suggested that his difficulties in Chicago this season were due in part to racist fans and preschools and what have you. But while it may still be legitimate to scoff at the degree to which Bradley blames such nonsense for his performance on the field, it does not appear to be legitimate to scoff at the fact of it occurring:
Cleveland Indians closer and ex-Cubs ace Kerry Wood didn’t dismiss the notion that Cubs outfielder Milton Bradley and other African-American players may have experienced racial insensitivity during their time in Chicago.
“I know just from the experience of playing with those guys, and I’ve seen some of the mail that they get, obviously not a lot of us get that kind of mail,” Wood said on “The Waddle & Silvy Show” on ESPN 1000. “I didn’t, but there are people out there that got their beliefs.”
Wood said he saw some of the mail that was sent to former teammates LaTroy Hawkins, Jacque Jones and former manager Dusty Baker.
“It’s tough to sit there and read that,” Wood said, “and it’s tough to even understand what those players go through.”
I think it’s pretty clear by now that Milton Bradley is an emotional and often immature guy who doesn’t deal well with criticism. And to be sure, you’ve never heard LaTroy Hawkins, Jacque Jones or Dusty Baker cite that kind of garbage as the reason for any of their professional shortcomings while with the Cubs.
But let’s make sure when we pile on Milton Bradley that we’re piling on the way in which he deals with adversity as opposed to pretending that such adversity doesn’t exist. Because based on what Kerry Wood is saying, it certainly does exist, even in this day and age.
(link via BTF)
Veteran hurler Jake Peavy has not signed with a team. It’s not because he’s not still capable of being a useful pitcher — he’s well-regarded and someone would likely take a late-career chance on him — and it’s not because he no longer wishes to play. Rather, it’s because a bunch of bad things have happened in his personal life lately.
As Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reports, last year Peavy lost millions in an investment scam and spent much of the 2016 season distracted, dealing with investigations and depositions and all of the awfulness that accompanied it. Then, when the season ended, Peavy went home and was greeted with divorce papers. He has spent the offseason trying to find a new normal for himself and for his four sons.
Pitching is taking a backseat now, but Peavy plans to pitch again. Here’s hoping that things get sorted to the point where he can carry through with those plans.
This is fun: The San Francisco Giants recently made their last payment on the $170 million, 20-year loan they obtained to finance the construction of AT&T Park. The joint is now officially paid for.
The Giants, unlike most other teams which moved into new stadiums in the past 25 years or so, did not rely on direct public financing. They tried to get it for years, of course, but when the voters, the city of San Francisco and the State of California said no, they decided to pay for it themselves. They ended up with one of baseball’s best-loved and most beautiful parks and, contrary to what the owners who desperately seek public funds will have you believe, they were not harmed competitively speaking. Indeed, rumor has it that they have won three World Series, four pennants and have made the playoffs seven times since moving into the place in 2000. They sell out routinely now too and the Giants are one of the richest teams in the sport.
Now, to be clear, the Giants are not — contrary to what some people will tell you — some Randian example of self-reliance. They did not receive direct public money to build the park, but they did get a lot of breaks. The park sits on city-owned property in what has become some of the most valuable real estate in the country. If the city had held on to that land and realized its appreciation, they could flip it to developers for far more than the revenue generated by baseball. Or, heaven forfend, use it for some other public good. The Giants likewise received some heavy tax abatements, got some extraordinarily beneficial infrastructure upgrades and require some heavy city services to operate their business. All sports stadiums, even the ones privately constructed, represent tradeoffs for the public.
Still, AT&T Park represents a better model than most sports facilities do. I mean, ask how St. Louis feels about still paying for the place the Rams used to call home before taking off for California. Ask how taxpayers in Atlanta and Arlington, Texas feel about paying for their second stadium in roughly the same time the Giants have paid off their first.