Bradley: 'I'm Made Out to Be Someone I'm Not'

158007.jpg

Bradley: 'I'm Made Out to Be Someone I'm Not'

Friday, April 23, 2010
7:10 PM

By Chuck GarfienCSNChicago.com

Milton Bradley is easily one of the most polarizing players in Chicago sports history. And by polarizing, I mean most Cubs fans either hate him or really hate him.

If you have a conversation with Milton, like I did in the Mariners dugout before Friday's game, 98 was cordial, engaging, insightful. But what has dogged Bradley throughout his career is a brain cell buried in the back of his mind that produces the leftover 2, which happened to come out again.

It all started when I asked Bradley about his time here in Chicago. Below is part of the conversation that followed:

CG: Do you feel as if you were misrepresented by the media, players, teammates, fans?

MB: As a black man playing this game..the majority of the media is middle-aged white guys. So, I don't think you can accurately construe what I have to say or portray me as who I am because you don't know. You don't know where I come from, no one's asked those questions. They just see what they see. I never carried a gun, I never hurt anybody. But, I'm made out to be somebody I'm not. I'm a nerd. I graduated with a 3.7 GPA in high school, I got an 1120 on my SAT. I play Scrabble on my phone in the bullpen with (Seattle pitcher) Shawn Kelly. That's stuff people don't know. I'm as non-violent and non-threatening as they come.

CG: So I guess I'm one of the people because I'm a middle-age white person?

MB: Well, I mean it is what it is. In the NBA, the majority of the players are African-American and the majority of the media is Caucasian. That's just what it is, I'm not saying anything that's not true.

CG: Yeah, but I don't think it has to be a confrontational relationship.

MB: No, its not confrontational. If you can say I'm gonna give this guy a chance, give him an interview and if you keep sticking your hand in that fire and keep getting burned, you are not going to stick your hand in there anymore.

CG: I'm trying to really understand what you are saying here.

MB: Like I said, when I signed with Chicago, the first thing they put in the paper was from 2004 when I threw a bag of balls with the Dodgers. It wasn't me in 2008 standing on the field with Hank Aaron and Willie Mays as an All-Star leading the American League in OPS. They took something negative and there's always going to be a negative. Unless I hit .400 or we go to the World Series it's always going to be Milton Bradley's fault. And one man don't make a baseball team.

CG: You dont think it would have happened if it was a white person who had done that?

MB: Has it happened?

CG: I think it has. Sure. Roger Clemens.

MB: Roger Clemens never played for the Cubs. Name someone from Chicago besides Latroy Hawkins or Jacque Jones or Corey Patterson or Milton Bradley thats gotten destroyed by the media.

CG: I just thought about Lou Piniella. He gets a negative reaction.

MB: When things are good, its because of Lou. When things are bad, its always someone elses fault.

CG: Mark Prior and Kerry Wood, they took a lot of heat.

MB: They didnt take any heat. Jim Hendry took the heat for throwing them too much.

CG: Nahh, I dont know about that.

MB: They didnt take any heat. Kerry Wood is loved in Chicago. Mark Prior is loved in Chicago.

CG: But when they had a bad season, I think it went the other way, no?

MB: No, youre stretching now. Youre reaching. Thats what you guys do. Im just telling it like it is. I dont care if you dont like it. You dont have to like it. I dont like what I see or what I read or what I hear. The world aint gonna change.

CG: But you have to admit that when you had a good game, it was told that you had a good game.

MB: I didnt read it.

CG: So you cant say that if you only heard about the bad stuff that its all bad.

MB: People arent going to come to me and say, Oh, you had a good game yesterday. They come to me and say, They said this, this, and this about you.

CG: Well, maybe thats just life.

MB: I dont know. I never had a problem anywhere else.

And one post-script from our conversation. After getting released by the Cubs on September 19, Bradley said he went home and tuned out baseball, choosing instead to focus on his family, friends, and fantasy football team. He was in the Cubs fantasy football league, and guess who won the championship?

Milton.

He says hes still waiting to receive his winnings.

Watch the complete interview above!

If you haven't gotten enough Milton, here's a positive story I tried to do with him last season about the greatest hit of his baseball career.

The one problem, Milton didn't want to do it.

Chuck Garfien hosts White Sox Pregame and Postgame Live on Comcast SportsNet with former Sox slugger Bill Melton. Follow Chuck @ChuckGarfien on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox news and views.

Preview: White Sox try to sweep Phillies tonight on CSN

Preview: White Sox try to sweep Phillies tonight on CSN

The White Sox take on the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday, and you can catch all the action on CSN. Coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. Be sure to stick around after the final out to get analysis and player reaction on White Sox Postgame Live.

Wednesday’s starting pitching matchup: James Shields vs. Jerad Eickhoff

Click here for a game preview to make sure you’re ready for the action.  

[SHOP WHITE SOX: Get your White Sox gear right here]

— Channel finder: Make sure you know where to watch.

— Latest on the White Sox: All of the most recent news and notes.

— See what fans are talking about before, during and after the game with White Sox Pulse.

White Sox reward Carlos Rodon's outstanding start with win over Phillies

White Sox reward Carlos Rodon's outstanding start with win over Phillies

Carlos Rodon has once again found the kind of groove that makes the White Sox hopeful about the direction in which he’s trending.

The left-hander continued a strong August on Tuesday night with his best start of the season.

The 2014 first-rounder pitched 6 2/3 scoreless innings and the White Sox crushed the Philadelphia Phillies 9-1 in front of 18,843 at U.S. Cellular Field.

Rodon — who has a 1.46 ERA in 24 2/3 innings this month — won for the second time in four starts and Jose Abreu and Justin Morneau homered as the White Sox were victorious a third straight time.

“If (Rodon) keeps running like that, he’s going to be a superstar,” said rookie catcher Omar Narvaez.

Rodon’s second season has begun to shape up much like his rookie campaign.

He pitched better through his first 14 starts of 2016 than he did a year ago, allowing three earned runs or fewer in 10 of those turns. But Rodon didn’t have much to show for it as he surrendered leads or pitched with a razor thin margin of error because of lackluster run support.

Same as last season, Rodon has turned it on in August. Over his final eight starts in 2015, Rodon went 5-2 with a 1.81 ERA.

With some help from Narvaez and an overpowering fastball, Rodon looked strong throughout a 109-pitch effort.

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

He worked around a first-inning jam and took off.  Rodon struck out Tommy Joseph and Cameron Rupp after he allowed a pair of one-out singles, which began a stretch where he retired 14 of 15 batters. Rodon also worked around a leadoff double in the sixth inning as he lowered his ERA to 4.02.

One key to the effort was finding a different way to make his slider more effective. Narvaez said he and Rodon began to use it as a backdoor slider after he struggled early with command and hitters laid off it.

“The slider wasn’t working too good down and in, they’d take it, so Omar set up a tad outside and just brought it back in,” Rodon said. “It was nice. It was huge. Had something to gauge off of to get that slider off the outside corner and it worked out well.

“Just comfortable, got on a roll and everything worked out.”

Rodon allowed three hits, walked one and struck out four. He has struck out 20 and walked only six batters in his last 24 2/3 innings.

White Sox manager Robin Ventura said Rodon’s effort has been in large part to improved power pitching. Rodon averaged 95.6 mph with his fastball on Tuesday, according to brooksbaseball.net.

“He’s made some strides from where he was before,” Ventura said. “He was trying to pick. When he’s like that he’s not that guy. Everything he does has effort, and its strength. When he has it going on it looks really good. He doesn’t need to get away from his strength and physicality is one of them. When he picks around and throws soft stuff he’s not as effective.”

[MORE WHITE SOX: First-rounder Zack Collins headed to Arizona Fall League]

Rodon’s offense rewarded him handsomely.

Adam Eaton tripled and scored on Tim Anderson’s RBI groundout in the first inning. Anderson then tripled in Eaton in the third to make it a 2-0 game. Abreu, who blasted a two-run homer in the fifth, singled in a run in the third and Todd Frazier had a sac fly to put the White Sox ahead by four runs.

Morneau’s solo shot in the fifth followed Abreu’s two-run homer off Jake Thompson to put the White Sox ahead 7-0. Carlos Sanchez also had an RBI single and Melky Cabrera had an RBI double.

Rodon was victorious for only the fourth time in 12 decisions this season. Prior to the start of the second half, Rodon said he needed to throw out his rough first half and start over.

The way he has pitched of late has him confident in himself once again. The next step is putting it together from the start of the season, he said.

“When you’re in a zone you just try to stay in it, to be honest,” Rodon said. “Hopefully in the future you have a complete year instead of just doing it in the second half.

“It’s all a process, what Coop says. It’s building up to it and trying to get like Q and Sale. Those guys are very good, top of the line starters, left-handers in the game, probably the very best. I’d love to be like that.”

White Sox first-rounder Zack Collins headed to Arizona Fall League

White Sox first-rounder Zack Collins headed to Arizona Fall League

Zack Collins’ first pro season just got a little longer.

The White Sox’ first-round pick will head to Arizona in October to participate in instructional camp and in the Fall League, player development director Nick Capra said Tuesday.

Taken with the 10th pick in the June draft, Collins has a .794 OPS in 110 plate appearances at Single-A Winston-Salem. Though the plan calls for him to be a catcher, the White Sox have limited how much playing time Collins has had behind the plate this season. Of his 29 professional starts, 11 have come as a designated hitter.

“He’s had a long season,” Capra said. “He caught almost every day in Miami. He looks like he’s beat up a little bit, but he’s been fine. We are kind of taking care of him a little bit. He’s not catching every day. He’s DHing sometime. He looks good.”

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]​

Collins appeared in 62 games for the Miami Hurricanes this season. He received the Johnny Bench Award, which goes to the nation’s top collegiate catcher.

The 21-year-old has nine extra-base hits at Winston-Salem this season, including four homers. He has walked 17 times and struck out 30. Collins would only make a brief appearance for instructs before AFL play.

“Looks good,” Capra said. “Catching well. He’s swinging the bat well.

“We just want to get him out there and see him play.

“He looks like he can swing the bat. We are happy with his progress.”