Kerry Wood: black Cubs players got racist hate mail

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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)

Didi Gregorius continues to be ridiculous

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Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius had another fantastic night last night. He went 3-for-3, hitting a home run for the fourth game in a row, had an RBI single and reached base safely in all five of his plate appearances in New York’s 7-4 win over Minnesota.

For the year that gives Gregorius a line of .372/.470/.833, putting him atop the American League in average, slugging, OPS, and OPS+. He also leads the league in total bases (65) and RBI (29). He leads all of baseball in fWAR at 2.2, edging out Mike Trout despite the fact that Trout has played in two more games. He’s second behind Trout in homers with nine.

After last night’s game he insisted that he is not a home run hitter:

“I do have a lot of home runs, but it’s not like I am going out there to try to hit them . . . I’m not a power guy like Judge and Stanton, who hit 50 to 60 and up. Those are the guys who actually hit home runs. One year, let’s say, I hit five — then you ask me where that part went . . . if they go out, they go out. I’m just mostly trying to barrel it up and get a good swing . . . I try to hit line drives and if you check most of my home runs they were line drives,” he said. “It’s not like I am going up to hit deep fly balls.”

Given that he hit 25 homers last year and 20 the year before, he’s being a bit modest, even if he’s not likely to keep up this torrid pace. That modesty is not stopping some people from getting a bit carried away, of course:

 

We’ll forgive Bob for the hyperbole. Didi has been fun to watch.