Sports Nonsense in Print

For the record, again, I'm not a Milton Bradley detractor

May 14, 2009, 11:47 AM

By: Tom Waddle

Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

Milton Bradley

Let me start this week's "nonsense in print" with a few rhetorical questions. When you sit around the campfire, do you place your hand over the open flame? (That one's for you Boy Scouts out there.) Would you shave with a rusty razor found in a dumpster? Would you fill your gas tank with a lit cigarette in your mouth? Would you go to a rabid-animal petting zoo and pet away? Would you pull the mask off the ol' Lone Ranger?

Now, those of you who answered yes to any of those questions are dismissed. The rest of you obviously have a firm grasp of common sense, so I ask you one final question.

After being booed mercilessly over the first five weeks for little to no production, why would the affable Milton Bradley taunt the wailing jackals at the Friendly Confines? As he seems to be emerging from his early-season slump, Bradley swats a 400-foot bomb to the seats in center -- off Jake Peavy, no less -- and feels it's necessary to cup his hand behind his ear in defiance of those who have voiced their disappointment in the high-priced free-agent acquisition. Why?

He said after the game that he needs the support of the hometown fans. So why start that kind of thing with them? Why give them even more incentive to unload the boo-gun if he hits another rough patch? Well, it came as no surprise to me that the diehards would rather focus on yours truly. "Shut up, Waddle, you're a Milton Bradley hater!" "Shut up, Waddle, you don't know baseball!" "You're an idiot, Waddle, he was just having some fun!" OK, so maybe they got the idiot part right, but I'm not sure I need a master's in baseballology to come to the conclusion that this act seems counterproductive for a guy whose emotions get the best of him every now and again. And for the record, again, I'm not a Milton Bradley detractor.

I've said repeatedly that this was a solid signing by Jim Hendry. If he stays healthy, I expect him to put up very good numbers. As for having fun, we'll see whether the bleacher exchanges are slap-happy walks in the park if he goes back into a slump. Enough of that for now. Grab your Billy Williams throwback jerseys, take a big swig of the Cubbie Kool-Aid, and reserve your first-row seat for the 2010 Cubs Convention.

And another thing, those of you who are angered by the return of the Brett Favre talk: Do I need to remind you that we are in the business of presenting and discussing the big stories in the world of sports? A future Hall of Famer contemplates joining the most talented team in the Bears' division, and we should take a pass? I think not. Like many, I don't believe Favre has much left, and a damaged biceps tendon won't help his cause. But this is a story, and it will be until the 2009 season has come and gone.

Speaking of stories, this Blackhawks team is the feel-good story of the last decade here in the Windy City. One million fans have gone through the turnstiles at the UC. The home telecasts are being watched by a record number of people. And a likeable young team has advanced to the Western Conference finals. I feel good for the long-suffering Blackhawks faithful who have watched this once-proud franchise reach the sports abyss. I feel good for us johnny-come-latelies who've jumped on the bandwagon in droves and are enjoying the ride.

My 11-year-old daughter went to her first hockey game last Tuesday. Despite the Blackhawks' loss, she said it was the most fun she's ever had. (So much for those heartfelt moments we've shared on the neighborhood playground over the last decade.) She's threatening to boycott school and join a motorcycle gang if I don't take her to another playoff game. I told her I'm looking into it. Maybe I'll take her to Wrigley and just let her heckle the Cubs' new right fielder. You know, just for fun.

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