Shocking news: the Players Association might appeal Milton Bradley's suspension. You know, because there's very little precedent for suspending a player for two weeks for popping off to a few baseball writers. If there's an appeal the Cubs will probably lose, and in fact I suspect Bradley will simply be reinstated before season's end to forestall any appeal.
In the end, it's not going to matter much. Bradley wants out and the Cubs want him out, so whether he shows up again before season's end is mostly irrelevant. If there is an appeal and Bradley does win, though, it'll be seen as a victory of sorts for both him and the union. And thus a loss for Jim Hendry and the Cubs. Which I suspect would be just fine with Joe Sheehan:
- In something of a surprise, the Cubs have suspended Milton Bradley for the rest of the season for conduct detrimental to the team. There are about two weeks left in the season, so in the midst of the big pile-on, I'd like to ask one question: Who the hell has ever been suspended for two weeks for what they said to the media? This is a severe and unwarranted overreaction, a cynical public-relations ploy designed to curry favor with fans and the media and distract both groups from a Cubs season that is ending with a whimper.
Hendry can do this because he's the general manager of a team that woke up on Sunday 11 games out of first place and seven games out of the wild-card race, effectively eliminated from contention. Let's be very clear that this suspension would not be happening if the Cubs had continued their late charge to the fringe of the race, or if they had any kind of chance of making the postseason. Let's also be very clear that this suspension would not be happening had Bradley's stats been comparable to last year's. Bradley isn't being suspended because of what he said; he's being suspended because he did so with a .240 batting average and the Cubs are buried in the standings.
I hate to disagree with my friend Joe. This time, though, I'm going to.
Oh, not about that last bit. Not completely, anyway. Joe's probably right: If the Cubs were playing well and contending for a spot in the World Series derby, it's not likely that Bradley would have been suspended. But I think it's a leap from saying that Bradley's been suspended while the Cubs are playing poorly to saying he's been suspended because the Cubs are playing poorly.
Bradley's been suspended because of his behavioral issues. This is no secret. It's no secret now, nor was it a secret when Jim Hendry committed $30 million to Bradley for three seasons. So, yes: most of the blame for this whole fiasco rests on Hendry's shoulders. You give a man with a history of uneven performance and personality $30 million ... What do you think is going to happen?
Mostly, though, I think Joe misses the mark when describes Bradley's suspension as "a cynical public-relations ploy." Are we to believe that Hendry convened a meeting with the Cubs' crack PR staff, and after a round of intense discussion everyone agreed to send Bradley home for the rest of the season?
Maybe. I don't really believe that, though. I believe this was little more than an emotional reaction to a truly distressing situation. A human reaction. Can you really blame Jim Hendry for wanting to get Milton Bradley away from his club? If Bradley wasn't doing anything to help your team, would you want him around? Wouldn't you look for any good excuse to get him out of your sight?
Of course, you're not a general manager. One might argue that a real general manager shouldn't behave so rashly as this. But when you're making a list of mistakes that Jim Hendry's made with Milton Bradley, this one definitely doesn't top the list.