9/21 Bradley can be good if he wants
Riding on the shuttle to the St. Louis airport early Monday, I met a long time baseball scout who told me a story about Milton Bradley. It was 1999, and Bradley was playing for Double-A Harrisburg. He was not starting because of disciplinary reasons, and was in street clothes in the clubhouse when called upon in the ninth inning to pinch-hit. Bradley got dressed, and hit a game-winning grand slam.
“He can do that if he wants to,” the scout said.
Bradley can still be good. He began this season a career .280 hitter, and his .321 average last year with Texas wasn’t a fluke. He was in a good environment — no pressure, no hassles — with a patient manager in Ron Washington. Josh Lewin, now a broadcaster for the Rangers, says the clubhouse in Arlington, Texas, was so big, Bradley could go unnoticed, which is probably the way he prefers.
The Cubs are not a good fit. GM Jim Hendry will try to move the outfielder this offseason, and an American League team in need of a switch-hitting designated hitter may want to consider him. Or a National League team with a big clubhouse. Cubs players tried to make him feel comfortable. Reed Johnson, Ryan Theriot, Derrek Lee all reached out to Bradley.
But listening to the players talk Sunday about Bradley after he was suspended for the season, it is clear he needs to move on.
– Carrie Muskat