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)
On Monday, Major League Baseball announced some changes aimed at improving the game’s pace of play, something that has been a pet cause for commissioner Rob Manfred. Among the changes was a limit on mound visits whether from managers and coaches, the catcher, or other defenders. Each team will have six non-pitching change mound visits per game and one additional visit each inning in extra innings. Craig wrote more in depth on the changes here if you happened to miss it.
Angels catcher Martin Maldonado says he is going to do what’s necessary to stay on the same page with his pitchers. Via Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register, Maldonado said, “If the game is on the line, I’m going to go out there. If we’re at six [visits], and it’s going to be the seventh, I’m going to go out there, even if I have to pay a fine. I’m there for the pitchers.”
Cubs catcher Willson Contreras said as much on Tuesday. Per Josh Frydman of WGN News, Contreras said, “What about if you have a tight game and you have to go out there? They can’t say anything about that, that’s my team and we just care about wins. If they’re going to fine me about number seven mound visit, I’ll pay the price.”
Exhibition games haven’t even started yet, but two notable backstops — the lesser-known Maldonado won a Gold Glove last year — are clearly not happy with the rule change. As Craig alluded to in his article yesterday, arguments between catchers and umpires (and, subsequently, managers and umpires) are probably going to become more frequent, which would likely end up nullifying any pace of play improvements.
Update (4:43 PM ET): In response to this, Manfred said that if a catcher or coach made a seventh mound visit, there would have to be a pitching change (via Fletcher). However, chief baseball officer Joe Torre said (via SB Nation’s Eric Stephen) that the seventh visit cannot trigger a pitching change. The umpire would simply have to prevent the seventh mound visit.