Milton Bradley: 10 different kinds of crazy

Leave a comment


Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star published an entertaining (if clearly painful) story about the Royals in which he breaks down how much each player owes star pitcher Zack Greinke for costing him the $100,000 bonus he would’ve received for winning the AL Cy Young award.
Jose Guillen, for instance, owes the most ($25,000), because he is …

among the worst offenders on both offense and defense, plus he makes the most money so he can afford the biggest chunk of the check. His share may be even bigger, but Ball Star respects anybody who says, “When I suck I say I suck, and right now I suck.”

This all got me to thinking, how much will Milton Bradley owe his Cubs teammates, club management, and fans by the time his three-year, $30 million contract finally runs its course following the 2011 season. (Sorry Cubs fans, you still have $21 million of it to pay after this season).

For their troubles, the Cubs have received a .259 batting average, a .391 on base, and .400 slugging percentage. He’s played in 104 games, hit 10 home runs, scored 49 runs and driven in another 32. On defense, he’s been slightly below average in the outfield, showing decent range but a sub-par arm.

Not terrible, not earth shattering.

But then comes the fun stuff: The constant running of the mouth. The needless courting of criticism. The clashes with management.

The 10 different kinds of crazy.

On Tuesday, Bradley held court on the “hatred” he receives from Cubs fans. Because you know, sometimes they boo.

“All I’m saying is I pray the game is nine innings, so I can go out there the least amount of time possible and go home,” Bradley said.

Petulant comments, for sure, but not that big a deal by his standards. But then he compared a loss to the Nationals to an infamous and horrific incident involving a young black man and the Los Angeles police department.

Q: Obviously not the type of beginning you felt you were gonna have here on the homestand:

MB: “No, we got a Rodney King beatdown tonight.”

After a few seconds of awkwardness, Bradley responded, “What’s up, what do ya’ll got next, something else?”

Who but Bradley would make such a classy comparison?

On second thought, Bradley doesn’t owe the Cubs anything. They’re getting exactly what they paid for.

******

If you Twitter, and aren’t too terribly crazy, you can follow me at @Bharks.

Red Sox owner: “spending money helps”

Getty Images
4 Comments

The other day Rob Manfred said, as he and other owners have said often in the past, that there is no correlation between payroll and winning. He said that defensively, in response to criticism of the slow free agent market of the past two offseasons.

As we have noted in the past, Manfred is not being honest about that. While, yes, in any given year there can be wild variation between payroll and win total — the Giants stunk last year, the A’s won 97 games — common sense dictates otherwise. What’s more, a recent study has shown that there is a pretty strong correlation between winning and payroll over time. Yes, you can fluke into a big season with a low payroll — Deadspin compared it to a cold snap occurring during a time of climate change — but if you want that “sustained success” teams claim they want, the best way to ensure it is to spend more money over time.

If you know anything about baseball labor history, though, you know well that the Commissioner and the owners will continue to mischaracterize the dynamics of the business as it suits them. Mostly because — present lefty sportswriters notwithstanding — very few people push back on their narratives. Fans tend to parrot ownership’s line on this stuff and, more often than not, baseball media acts as stenographer for ownership as opposed to critic. That gives owners a far greater ability to shape the narrative about all of this than most institutions.

Which makes this all the more awkward. From David Schoenfield of ESPN:

In apparent contradiction to his own commissioner, Boston Red Sox owner John Henry said Monday that, while there is not a perfect correlation between a bigger payroll and winning, “spending more money helps.”

Which is right. The correlation is not perfect — teams can spend a lot of money on a bad team if given the chance and a low payroll team like the Rays can bullpen their way to 90 wins — but you’re way more likely to win year-in, year-out if you’re spending than if you go cheap all the time and hope for a miracle season.

Which is not to say that Henry is some labor activist owner. He and his fellow front office officials have a long history of backing the league office on just about everything that matters and will no doubt do so with labor matters in the runup to the next CBA negotiation. The owners tend not to have a solidarity problem.

But Henry does seem to draw the line at peddling baloney, which is a shockingly necessary thing when the league and the union’s relationship turns acrimonious.