3/28 Byrd on Bradley: "He's a perfectionist"

Milton Bradley wasn’t in the Mariners’ lineup for Sunday’s game against the Cubs and when approached by Chicago reporters, the outfielder declined to talk.

“No chance,” Bradley said. “You guys ran me out of town.”

Bradley and Marlon Byrd were teammates in Texas, and when Byrd signed with the Cubs, Bradley called to tell him to “do what I couldn’t do there.”

“He wanted to go to Chicago, this was his choice,” Byrd said Sunday. “This is a great place to play and he didn’t get a chance to enjoy his time here and the atmosphere. He knows the type of guy I am and he was like ‘Hey, start off slow, start off fast, whatever it is, just enjoy it.”

Bradley is an intense player and doesn’t smile much. Byrd doesn’t want him to change.

“I want him to be him,” Byrd said. “In Texas, he didn’t smile at all. He put up ungodly numbers. He has to go out there and be himself. That’s the only thing he can do and that’s the only way he can play. I want to see him do 162 [games], all out, because he has MVP material.”

What drives Bradley?

“Being great,” Byrd said. “He’s a perfectionist. Sometimes when he doesn’t reach that, he’s very tough on himself. I think a lot of guys in baseball are like that.”

And Bradley has a different personality with his teammates.

“He’s a great teammate,” Byrd said. “I had one year with him. Everybody knows how he was in Texas. We had a great time and no run-ins, no nothing. It can happen with him. With [Ken] Griffey and Chone Figgins and those guys over there in Seattle, he’ll be fine.”

Obviously, there aren’t many media people on Bradley’s holiday card list.

“You have to approach Milton,” Byrd said. “You have to make sure every single day you talk to him and ask him how he’s doing. My locker was right next to him. Every game on the road, we were eating lunch. My relationship was a little different than everybody else’s. As a teammate, as a guy, you have to go up to him every day, ‘Hey, Milton, how are you doing?'”

The two haven’t gotten together this spring at all because of the long drive to Peoria, but they’ll see each other when the Cubs play the Mariners June 22-24.

What about Bradley’s comment that he’s the Kanye West of baseball?

“I thought it was interesting,” Byrd. “If that helps him, helps drive him, go ahead. He can be the Ron Artest, he can be the Kanye.”

Does Bradley enjoy himself?

“You have to ask him that,” Byrd said. “In Texas, 2008, he enjoyed himself.”

That year, Bradley led the American League in on-base percentage and batted .321, which led to his three-year contract with the Cubs.

“It’s not all bad with him,” Byrd said. “I know the way he’s perceived by a lot of fans is all bad but not at all. You weren’t around him much. He has good days and bad days just like everyone else. The distance between those good days and bad days is what people see.”

— Carrie Muskat

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