Milton Bradley Warming Up?

Last weekend, Scott Ostler has this short comment in his column in the SF Chronicle:

“Milton Bradley, who woulda thought he’d already be suspended for bad behavior, and injured?”

Looking at the 2009 baseball season still in its infancy, Bradley has already been suspended for two games after he bumped an umpire; he went 1-23 at bat to start off the season, he has been injured and missed time due to a groin injury; he failed to run out a ground ball so the fans at Wrigley Field got on his case; and he has been refusing to speak to the media in Chicago. There hasn’t been a meltdown yet, but can we agree that the temperature in the core reactor is rising?

Bradley speaks only to “Cubs.com” – which as the name indicates is hardly a forum where he will be grilled regarding his less than sterling contributions to the team so far this year. It isn’t likely that a “reporter” from “Cubs.com” might ask Bradley how his performance to date combined with his behavior to date equates to the $30M contract that the Cubs gave him. To give you an idea of the kind of hard-hitting news that “Cubs.com” thinks is germinal to this matter, consider these two comments from Bradley that they passed along:

“I’m just not into negativity. I can see already that I’m going to be that guy, since nothing else is going on in here. ‘We’re going to harp on Bradley all year and see if we can get him to snap.’ I’m not going to go for it. You can’t get a good story if I don’t talk. So just go ahead and make something up and leave me out of it.”

“I’m a positive person, an upbeat person. I’m trying to focus on what I’m trying to do here. My teammates are behind me, and the more reporters get in my face, the more I talk, the more things get written the way I don’t say them or they’re taken out of context, and that’s when you lose teammates and you lose fans. The best strategy for me has always been to not say anything.”

Wow. Good thing he’s not into negativity. If he were, imagine how he might interact with the reporters in Chicago…

There is conflicting baseball news related to New York. The Yankees and Mets have been unable to sell out their new stadiums; first, Bud Selig “reviewed” the Yankees ticket pricing structure and pronounced it “reasonable”; later, he announced that both the Yankees and Mets were looking at ticket prices with an eye toward possibly reducing them to fill seats. Then the Yankees said that they were thinking of increasing the price of their premium seats by 4% next season.

Let me get this straight. Seats that individually cost up to $2625 per game are not selling. So, the best way to resolve that problem is to raise the price to $2730 next year? And those $900 tix will fly off the shelves when priced at $936?

The US Congress would love to be able to repeal some Laws that get in the way of the Congress doing some of the silly things that it thinks it ought to do – - trivial matters such as the First Law of Thermodynamics and the Law of Supply and Demand. The only way the Yankees putative ticket-pricing strategy for next year works out for the best is if that pesky Law of Supply and Demand goes by the wayside. Even Nancy Pelosi and Barney Frank working together cannot pull that one off…

When Curt Schilling retired, there was a feeding frenzy on sports radio and on SportsCenter about whether or not he deserved to be in the Hall of Fame – - as if that is something that needed to be pondered any time in the next five years. That feeding frenzy ran its course, but every time Curt Schilling posts something remotely noteworthy on his blog – - such as when he made his predictions for the AL East this year – - a sports radio host will use that opportunity to discuss Curt Schilling’s Hall of Fame credentials to fill up another 10-12 minute segment of the show.

    Memo to Sports Radio Hosts:

    1. I have heard all the arguments pro and con by now and need not hear them again.

    2. For those hosts hung up on the fact that Schilling has so many fewer wins than other “outsiders” such as Bert Blyleven, have you also considered that he has 51 more wins than Sandy Koufax? Does anyone believe that Koufax (only 165 wins) does not belong in the Hall of Fame?

I believe that Schilling’s “eccentricities” will hurt his Hall of Fame candidacy as much as his career stat line might. Not every baseball reporter who has a vote for the Hall of Fame loves Curt-Schilling-the-person for his off the field behaviors toward them. In case you think that never happens because Steve Carleton was a first ballot Hall of Fame inductee, consider the case of Dennis Rodman in basketball.

Rodman was part of five NBA championship teams; Rodman was the defensive player of the year twice; Rodman led the NBA in rebounding seven times. Nonetheless, you can count on one hand the number of times there has been a serious discussion of Dennis Rodman as a Hall of Fame player – - and you’d have at least four fingers left over. I don’t know if Dennis Rodman needs to be in the Hall of Fame nor do I care even a little bit if he is inducted, but I am convinced that the reason he is never even discussed in that context is that the people who vote for the basketball Hall of Fame are disenchanted with Dennis Rodman for his off the court antics and his “eccentricities”.

Finally, here is a comment from Jerry Greene of the Orlando Sentinel – - prior to his retirement of course:

“With cars and banks getting out of the sports advertising biz, booze is back. The Phoenix Coyotes hockey club had an offer where you buy a bottle of Smirnoff vodka and get a ticket to a game. Such a deal – be smashed before you get there. It’s not just hockey. At Wrigley Field, they just opened the Captain Morgan Club.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports…

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Comments

  • JJC  On April 28, 2009 at 1:29 pm

    It’s hard to imagine with those 5 rings, but Rodman just didn’t have a HoF career. He had a good run in Chigago but his presence was dominated by you-know-who and was more the clown than a basketball player. Had he eschewed the makeup, jewelry and hair dye he might have been taken more seriously. That being said, if the NBA puts him in to the HoF they would at least have the stats to point to and say “good enough.”

    If we are going to kick out Koufax, can I be on the review committee that decides on who to throw out of any HoF because they no longer live up to the standards of today? Anonymously of course. Let’s face it, some of the old timers just don’t hold up well anymore and we’ve standards to maintain. And if they are still living, they can come in and make a case as to why we shouldn’t pull away their prize.

    Truthfully, I would like to see a fans’ pick entry into any HoF. It appeals to the part of me that is pro fan and somewhat anti-insider. Just because someone wasn’t press friendly doesn’t mean they weren’t HoF material. If we can’t trust the fans then let the players, active and retired, bring somone in. Not to mention it is good marketing. Which is what the HoF really is.

  • The Sports Curmudgeon  On April 28, 2009 at 5:44 pm

    JJC:

    If you had your “fan-vote Hall of Fame” I probably would not vote for Dennis Rodman. I’d think about it, but I probably would not. However, those are his stats for his career and those are not something he – or any player – should be embarrassed to see in pront anywhere. He did just about everything you would want on a court except score – - and keep his temper.

    Trust me, I do not want Sandy Koufax out of the HoF. I saw Koufax pitch in his prime more than a few times and the only reason he has “so few wins” is that his career “prime time” was rather short. But when he was on top of his game, he was dominant with a capital “D”.

    I too might want to review some of the HoF people. Were it my call alone, Rizzuto, Reese and Mazeroski would be out; Drysdale and Ozzie Smith would be “borderline calls”. Those are players I saw play a lot that come to mind immediately; there are probably others.

  • JJC  On April 28, 2009 at 6:00 pm

    Tell you what, if we get on the HoF deduction (best pun I could do with that) committee Ozzie Smith can stay if he can still do his signature move. Tough but fair will be our motto.

  • Rich  On April 29, 2009 at 12:51 am

    Sandy Koufax was a monster. If Walter Alston didn’t overuse his greatest pitcher there’s no telling what his lifetime stats would have been. He led his league in ERA five times, and I think only Grove, with nine such seasons, is the only lefty to go beyond that number. What a pitcher! Also one of those throws-left-bats-right guys, and there aren’t many in that category in the Hall of Fame. He had to pack it in at the top of his game at age thirty-one.
    Good news for me, Curmudgeon. I will be visiting New York this week and the Yankees are reducing prices on some of their new Stadium seats. I think I can get some decent seats for only five hundred Posadas each.

  • Ed  On April 29, 2009 at 2:52 am

    Couple of things on Koufax…. bat right/throw left? Man didn’t even hit .100 lifetime, with more seasons than extra base hits. Drysdale had 6 seasons he matched or beat Koufax’s career HRs. Koufax went to the plate, but he didn’t hit.

    Now to his ERA titles – maybe no pitcher has ever been helped by a home park that way Koufax was. He won every year he played in Dodger Stadium. He never won before he played there. Maybe the worst case was 1964 – his ERA on the road was over triple his home ERA (14 starts both home and away) . In those 5 years, 1962-1966, he had a lower home ERA and a higher road ERA than the second place finisher 4 times,and in 1964 when Drysdale was second, he had a lower home and higher road than the #3 man as well. Going 25-5 is great, and HOF-worthy, but the ERA titles are mostly due to playing on one of the more extreme pitchers’ parks.

  • The Sports Curmudgeon  On April 29, 2009 at 11:17 am

    JJC:

    If you prefer to be alliterative, we will be firm but we will be fair…

    Rich:

    If you spend 500 Posadas – - or even 500 Jobas – - on the game, I sure hope that one of the two teams does not score 11 runs in the second inning making it a laugher…

    Ed:

    Granted that pitching in Dodger Stadium rarely hurts a pitcher and his stats. Nonetheless, Sandy Koufax had a five/six year stretch where he was the dominant pitcner in a league that also had Juan Marichal, Bob Gibson, Warren Spahn and Tom Seaver.

  • Ed  On April 29, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    Curm, Marichal, yes, but when Koufax started his string of the 5 big years, Spahn was 41, and Gibson in just his second full year. Koufax retired before Seaver even made the majors.

  • The Sports Curmudgeon  On April 30, 2009 at 7:28 am

    Ed:

    In terms of timing, you are absolutely correct. I was trying to point out that in the 1960s the National League had more than one outstanding pitcher. In and among those folks – and probably a bunch of others that I could find if I went into “search mode” and didn’t rely on memory only – Sandy Koufax was as good as any of them were.

  • Ed  On April 30, 2009 at 2:28 pm

    OK. I know you go from memory. I never saw Koufax, but did see Gibson, Marichal, and Seaver have big years, and I knew Spahn was a hero at the Battle of the Bulge, so he had to be old. Just the ERA titles are a little tainted. The won-loss isn’t – both sides pitched there, and winning 2-1 is as good a win as 5-4 elsewhere

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