View From The Bleachers

April 23, 2009

10 years is a large sample size

Filed under: General — Rob Bukowski @ 11:28 am

It has been the debate that is driving the discussion on the site over the past couple days. What should we make of this Milton Bradley guy and his .0something batting average? I realize that some might get frustrated with the over the top discussion of this topic and all of the permutations surrounding Milton. However, this is the issue of the day for the Cubs and we are bloggers and our world rotates around issues of the day.

Admittedly, it is unfair to make crystal clear statements about how effective Bradley will be at this point in the season. He is adjusting to a new team, new league, and new city. He missed time in spring training and has missed time in the season. We all knew he is sometimes too achy and would miss some time so it comes as no surprise that he has. Certainly this has impacted his development and comfort at the plate. It would seem that his numbers are going to come around, because they almost always do. (Although he seems to be striking out at a higher percentage which is a disturbing trend for a high on base percentage guy.) Thequestion surrounding this, and the one that Lou faces, is how patient should you be especially with the hot hitting Micah Hoffpauir waiting behind Bradley? As I said in response to a post earlier this week, Hoffpauir’s success brings the struggles of Milton Bradley more to the forefront (Which brings a smile to D-Lee’s face because he was facing the mythical shadow of Hoffpauir before Bradley did.)

It has appeared to me over the past week that while Bradley is struggling- due much to being injured and unable to get in a hitting groove- he is doing himself no favors in the things he can control. Here is a major issue. While everyone is OK with the B.A. who gets the job done, people don’t have much time for the B.A. with the .048 average. Bradley is new here and he is not doing much to win fans or more importantly earn their patience. If the fans continue to grow frustrated with Milton Bradley and voice their frustration it seems obvious that this will lead to a blow up and a bad situation. Cub fans are fickle, and honeslty many don’t know what they’re talking about. Soriano still gets major cheers even though he is a MAJOR reason why the Cubs got swept from the playoffs the last two years. You can name player after player who Cubs fans loved almost unconditionally even though they had major flaws as players.

Bradley is taking missteps that are going to cost him in the long run. While he cannot control being injured and getting off to a bad start at the plate, there are things he can control which he seems not to care about. In last night’s game Bradley received criticism for not running out a ground ball. I am fine with someone with a gimpy groin not busting it out on a ground ball. Protect yourself for later. But because you have not engratiated yourself to the fans, or the team, they will not afford you the same grace that they do for Aramis when he doesn’t run out a ground ball.

Some have said that Bradley has brought an attitude to the team that was lacking before. This has been described as a passion for winning. I find it hard to believe that the team previously lacked a passion for winning. It seems that screaming and bumping umpires shows a care for winning. When this causes you to get suspended and miss games and put your team at a disadvantage this does not demonstrate that a passion for winning is what is most important.

This is another thing Bradley can control but does not. Last week in the Cardinals game he strikes out in a crucial situation with the bases loaded. Strike 3 was a close call. But it was undoubtedly a bad call. So argue it. Get thrown out. You’re not going to play the field anyway. But don’t get aggressive with the umpire and bump him while yelling. Don’t get suspended. You have been down this road before. You could control this, but you don’t care about that.

I am surprised that Bradley has decided to appeal the suspension as opposed to serving it now while he is injured. I suppose that winning doesn’t matter more than getting one game knocked off of the suspension that you will have to serve down the road after an appeal. At that time you will probably not be injured, and hopefully being productive in the everyday lineup. Yet you will need to take a game off and pull yourself from the lineup when you could just as easily do so now when you’re not in the lineup anyway. This is something you could control but you don’t care to.

Following last night’s game I read an article that said that Bradley is boycotting the media. I just heard a report that he has not been available in the clubhouse all week. He has not been seen with the other players and is avoiding all attention. A good way to build up team chemistry. This is something you could control but you don’t care to. Sometime last week I heard reporters on the radio talking about the fact that Bradley has not been loved by his teammates because in the past he has been quick to remove himself from the lineup and wasn’t a good team player. That seems to be on display already.

The article following last night’s loss said that on the night of his first Wrigley Field start Bradley arrived late to avoid talking to the press and ran out early so he wouldn’t be asked questions after the game. This left his teammates to answer questions for and about him. A strong way to build up your team and demonstrate the passion for winning as a team. Let your teammates take the bullets for you. A winning strategy of a guy who gives 110%. This is something you could control but you don’t care to.

Now today WSCR is reporting that Milton Bradley is not in the lineup for this afternoon’s game. Lou has said that he will start Milton next only when Bradley comes to him and says he is ready and feels 100%. This could be sending the message “I don’t really care about trying to start you.” Piniella and Jim Hendry both went on record today saying that Bradley needs to talk more with the media. In other words “Start controlling the things you can control.”Atlantis: The Lost Empire movies Ghost Month film

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  • Matt

    Nice post Rob.

    First, I don’t think the shadow of Hoffpauir was ever hovering around D-Lee. Only in the bloggers world. Lou isn’t moving him for Micah.

    Second, trust me, I have been on teams where there wasn’t a passion for winning. Everyone came out and went through the motions. We drafted a guy (a fiery one I mentioned in a reply), and things turned around. I’m not saying it was all him, because it was certainly wasn’t, there were multiple reasons. He filled a major hole in our outfield (which had been pretty horrid the year before, as I was the only returning regular).

    Third, Lous also said last night to let MB get his AB’s before we all jump to conclusions, and start riding this guy. He’s a proven hitter, and he’ll come around. I went 0-16 in my first season back in baseball, was up to .435 by July, and ended the season (48 AB’s) at .225. Lot’s of things can happen.

    I can’t defend his media shutout, that’s plain stupid. But hey, how many other times have we had players in this city do it? Three months from now, we’ll probably not remember it.

  • Doug

    A few years ago in Seattle there was this bar near Safeco field that was selling glasses of beer for whatever Richie Sexson’s batting average was. At that time he was hitting around .230, so $2.30 got you a glass. Had a couple before the game. Richie went 0-4 that day and the beer was cheaper post-game. It was a great novelty for the place. Need to find me a Milton Bradley bar.

  • cap’n obvious

    I’ll stop short of calling the guy a jake…but just short. These points made by Rob are exactly why you don’t throw $20MM of guaranteed dough at a guy with this track record. There is a reason this guy is on his SEVENTH team in nine years. As good a hitter as he may be, the negatives outweigh the positives…at least they did seven times previously.

  • Matt

    I think it’s the other way around, his positives outweigh the negatives. Hendry and Lou want to win now. His skill set made them think he was the right fit, not his previous transgressions.

    With the exception of Dunn, and he never excited me, I still think MB was the best choice of the Abreau, Ibanez or Dunn.

  • Tommy

    Well, we know one thing. Most everyone has claimed their turf so at the end of the day it will be clear who has the right to say “I told you so.”

  • Matt

    And Ryan Theriot is still a god.

  • Rick Beato

    I have been a supporter of Bradley since seeing him play and play well in Mesa. I understand what Lou says about waiting now until he is 100% to play Bradley, and now it is time for Milton to drop the appeal and serve the suspension. And no athlete has been successful with the silly media freezouts. These athletes may not owe much to the sportswriters but they owe their entire net worths to us, the fans, the ones who care. The athletes who know how to charm the fans by charming much of the media do best here and make the most money.

  • Tommy

    Indeed. Well maybe not a god but certainly an emination of some fashion.

  • Rick Beato

    And someone on this team better light a fire under the dormant offense. We have pulled out a few games late, but this team looks half asleep at bat and puts me half asleep plenty often. Juggle the lineup or something, but let’s get some runs.

  • Matt

    Rick, they scored 7-8 runs in each of the previous three games….

  • Mastrick

    ‘Nuff said about Bradley, his bat will either speak volumes about him or it won’t. As far as Hoffpaiur and Lee…I can remember that Cubs fans were perfectly happy with Leon Durham at first until all of a sudden this kid with a bat (i.e. Mark Grace) came up. And Palmiero came up as a first baseman, they had no where to put him so they put him in left. Had it not been for his reputed dalliances with Cindy Sandberg he might have stayed there for a while too.

  • Matt

    Hee hee. Dalliances! :lol:

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