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

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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 start series at Twins tonight on CSN

Preview: White Sox start series at Twins tonight on CSN

 

The White Sox take on the Twins on Friday, and you can catch all the action on Comcast SportsNet. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. Be sure to stick around after the final out to get analysis and player reaction on White Sox Postgame Live.

Today’s starting pitching matchup: Jose Quintana (8-8, 2.97 ERA) vs. Ricky Nolasco (4-8, 5.40 ERA)

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

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Back with White Sox, Chris Sale ready to move on from 'fiasco'

Back with White Sox, Chris Sale ready to move on from 'fiasco'

Even though he felt isolated and experienced a five-day stretch he called “a fiasco,” Chris Sale was right where he wants to be Thursday, surrounded by White Sox teammates.

Shortly after a 3-1 loss to the Cubs, the pitcher echoed the sentiments of White Sox management in a 10-minute media session when he suggested he’d like to move on from a five-game suspension for insubordination and destruction of team property.

With the trade deadline only four days away, Sale wants to stay with the White Sox and hopes the current roster gets an opportunity to win. He also thought an incident in which he destroyed promotional throwback jerseys had been blown out of proportion.

While he didn’t apologize for his actions, the left-hander said he regretted letting down his teammates and fans who attended Saturday’s game. Sale, whose record fell to 14-4 after he allowed two runs in six innings, said he plans to address White Sox players and coaches soon and intends to let them know his level of appreciation.

“I want to let them know where my head is at, where my heart is at,” Sale said. “And let them know how much I appreciate them.

“I felt like I was out on an island, really. 7 o’clock rolls around and I usually know what’s going on. Sitting at the house sucks.

“I regret not being there for my guys. I’m a pitcher. I’m called upon every fifth day and when I can’t go out there for my guys and the fans, it gets to me.”

Similar to March when he pitched a day after ripping executive vice president Kenny Williams, Sale said his focus is back on the field. He declined to answer what he didn’t like about the throwback jerseys, calling it “counterproductive.” Even though the White Sox are on the outside looking in, Sale is hopeful he and his teammates can rally and make a strong postseason push over the final 60 games.

“I think everyone is making just a little bit bigger deal of this than it really is,” Sale said. “We are here to win games and from this point forward, I think that’s our main focus. We are going to come in every day and do our jobs and try to win ballgames, that’s at the forefront.

“I don’t like people filling in for me. I love what I do. I love pitching. I love competing. I love the guys that I’m surrounded by.”

“When I let them down, it hurts me more than it hurts them.”

Three days after he suggested manager Robin Ventura didn’t properly support him, Sale declined to discuss their future relationship and again diverted the conversation back to the field. When asked what was the biggest lesson he took from the ordeal, Sale said he wasn’t quite sure.

“I know you guys are trying to get in there and you guys have to write stories and stuff,” Sale said. “I understand. But they said their side. I said my side. I’m ready to talk about baseball and playing baseball and getting back to winning and getting the Chicago White Sox into the postseason. That’s my goal. That’s my focus. Anything else, that’s for you guys.”

While he admits that his competitive side may have fed into Saturday’s events, he also knows abandoning it would hurt him on the field. Sale said he was inundated by texts and calls from teammates past and present during his absence. That only strengthened his desire to win with the current group, Sale said.

“There’s no doubt my emotions have got me to this point,” he said. “I wouldn’t be the same person without them but stuff happens. Move on. We have an unbelievable group of guys in that clubhouse. We’ll just push forward.

“I’m here to win. I love exactly where I’m at. I have an unbelievable group of guys in that clubhouse. We’re pulling for each other, they are pulling for me and vice versa, through and through. I’d like to stay with this group of guys and make a push for the playoffs because I love those guys.”

White Sox find normalcy in Chris Sale's return from suspension

White Sox find normalcy in Chris Sale's return from suspension

The word of the day Thursday around the cramped confines of the visitor’s clubhouse at Wrigley Field was normal, as in getting things back to it with ace left-hander Chris Sale taking the mound after serving a five-game suspension for “insubordination and destruction of team property.”

A completely abnormal story — Sale cut up the 1976 throwback uniforms he didn’t want to wear last Saturday and was sent home for his actions — gave way to a relatively routine evening. Sale allowed two runs on six hits with three walks and four strikeouts over six innings, though the White Sox lineup was shut down by John Lackey and the Cubs’ new three-headed bullpen monster in a 3-1 Crosstown loss.

“Things were pretty normal,” manager Robin Ventura said. “Guys got here, not a different clubhouse or anything like that. I think everything went fairly normal as far as him going out there and pitching and it was about baseball.”

First baseman Jose Abreu said things felt like an ordinary Sale start, even though the American League’s All-Star starting pitcher hadn’t pitched since July 18. He didn’t have his best stuff and wasn’t his sharpest, either — those three walks were his highest total in over two months — as he wasn’t able to consistently paint the corners with his explosive arsenal of pitches.

But, as usual, Sale worked quickly and kept his team in the game against one of baseball’s best offenses.

“He pitched a very good game,” Abreu said through a translator.

The Cuban first baseman added: “I think that we already moved on.”

Catcher Dioner Navarro agreed.

“He gave us a great outing, we just weren’t able to score any runs for him,” Navarro said.

Before the game, third baseman Todd Frazier said he and his teammates rallied around Sale and hoped a solid outing from the 27-year-old left-hander would put the bizarre incident squarely in the rearview mirror. 

“Some mistakes are bigger than others but you gotta understand that we’re all not perfect,” Frazier said. “Things do happen in this game, different things that you think (you’ve) never seen before, and then it happens. It’s just one of those things, hopefully it goes away quick with the way he pitches."

Sale said he didn’t discuss the incident or his suspension with his teammates before the game to keep things as normal as possible. After he showed up a little after 4:40 p.m., he received hugs and handshakes from teammates welcoming him back following his five-day exile.

But after that, Navarro said things were business as usual. He and Sale went through the gameplan and got ready to face the Cubs' powerful lineup instead of dwelling on what happened last Saturday. Eventually, Sale will talk to his coaches and teammates on a personal level to “let them know where my head is at, where my heart is at, and let them know how much I appreciate them.”

With the White Sox playoff hopes flickering as the trade deadline approaches, though, Sale’s teammates are eager to keep the focus on trying to dig themselves out of a substantial, two-games-under-.500 hole.

“Everything’s in the past,” Navarro said. “He did a great job. Quality start, nothing else you can ask.”