OK, so now that my absence here has gone past two months, I have at least been watching lots of sports, mainly baseball of course.
One thing I've been wanting to post about is the way Cubs fans have been treating Milton Bradley. It's not like baseball is the only profession in America where you can get a 3-year contract and then be criticized less than a month after you start the job. We want results and we want them now. Wait until the three years is up and then evaluate the signing? Insanity!
On April 16th Bradley was ejected for arguing with umpire Larry Vanover and was later suspended for "making contact" during the confrontation. Some fans immediately wrote him off as a terrible signing. These comments (from that link) are representative of many others I read around that time:
"I thought the MB acquisition was too risky and arguably unnecessary."
"new team but same Old Milton Bradley....maybe he should just stay in anger management classes...this guy is a joke and has a serious problem..."
But instead of jumping to conclusions and immediately writing Bradley off, let's really look at what happened and what's happened since then.
First of all, Bradley had not been hitting at all to that point in the season AND was battling injuries. His average was .059 (one hit). But his OBP was .333, thanks mainly to the 5 walks he'd drawn. (I'd like to add that, with some umpires who seem to automatically be against Bradley, drawing walks is a major feat in itself and shows he has a great knack for getting on base.)
In this particular at-bat, his first at Wrigley Field, he was not even expected to play in the game. It was the 6th inning, the bases were loaded, the score was tied. The first three pitches were terrible and Bradley needed only one more ball to give his team the lead. For an injured player who had not been swinging the bat well, drawing a walk would've been great.
Strike one was a very bad call, ending up in the shin area. Strike two was borderline, but a strike. Strike three was a ball by at least three inches.
Why not argue? Why not make your opinion known to someone if you feel they are wronging you in some way? Wouldn't you do that at your job? It was a pinch-hit appearance, meaning he was coming out of the game anyway. If Lou Piniella argues and gets ejected, he's a hero for "firing up his team." Isn't this the same thing?
OK, so the fans hated it. Bradley sucks, he's terrible, he needs anger management classes. (Even though he said something, the ump said something, Bradley said something else, hat bills bumped, Bradley walked away... not very explosive at all.) Bad free agent pick-up, they yelled.
But now... he's healthier, the weather is warmer, it's still only May. His average is up almost .200 points (.223 going into tonight's game) and his OBP is at .346. Can't we at least give guys a few months to show what they can offer a team?