* The latest Milton Bradley “controversy” was foreshadowed in a Sun-Times article back in April…
Milton Bradley says he’s aware of Wrigley Field’s reputation for fans who not only boo their own players, but also have a history of getting racial.
He also says he’s ready for it.
‘’I can be like that guy that you watch all the time for whatever reason,'’ he said, referring to his track record of angry outbursts and run-ins. ‘’But I really think I’ve outgrown it, a lot of the stuff that I did when I was younger.'’
Apparently, he wasn’t.
Fast-forward to this week…
An angry Milton Bradley lashed out at his treatment from Cubs fans Wednesday, suggesting he has been the victim of racial abuse at Wrigley Field.
But Bradley declined to give specifics, saying no one wanted to listen to him.
“America doesn’t believe in racism,” he said sarcastically before repeating the remark. […]
“All I’m saying is I just pray the game is nine innings, so I can be out there the least amount of time as possible and go home,” he said.
* So, are Cub fans racist? Or, to be more specific, are they more racist than other baseball fans? Former manager Dusty Baker had few kind words for them…
[Baker] didn’t want to revisit the racist hate mail and threats he said he received while managing the Cubs (2003-06) when asked about the Sun-Times story before his Cincinnati Reds’ game in Milwaukee. But he did say things are better for him in Cincinnati.
”Oh, yeah, Cincinnati has been great,” he told MLB.com. ”My family loves Cincinnati.”
That same article more than hinted that former manager Don Baylor felt the same way. Baker’s wife and son, by the way, claimed they stopped going to the ball park because of the hostile atmosphere.
Kosuke Fukudome wasn’t happy about that stupid “Horry Cow” t-shirt that is such a big seller at Wrigley, but he did his best to keep a lid on his comments…
“But if I make a big deal out of it, it’s not going to benefit me, so I’m not going to make a big deal of it.'’
White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen was more blunt about that goofy “Ozzie mows Wrigley Field” t-shirt…
“That’s kinda funny, but let’s be clear: the shirts are racist. They play on stereotypes - that Hispanics do yard work and other menial jobs - and they are targated only at members of that group. On the Pujols and Zambrano ones the man is wearing a sombrero, just so there’s no confusion. Hispanics wear big, funny hats and cut our grass… ha, ha, ha!”
* The allegation goes back a ways…
On December 3rd 2003, the Chicago Cubs signed one of the top free agent relievers in the game — LaTroy Hawkins. Hawkins was a failed closer who proved to be an ideal set-up man, posting ERAs of 2.13 and 1.86 in 2002 and 2003 for the Twins. He was also the first of a string of players to accuse Cub fans of racist tactics and behaviors. Hawkins told Bob Nightengale that he used to receive “boos, taunts, and racial mail and phone calls” when he was with the Cubs. The implication being fans hated him (obviously) because he’s black.
After the Hawkins experiment failed, the Cubs went out and spent a lot of money on another former Twin, Jacque Jones who replaced the extremely white Jeremy Burnitz in right field. By 2006, he too claimed Cub fans were racist — and cited that Hawkins had warned him — while, at the same time, we learned that another Twin, Torii Hunter, had specifically said he would never accept a trade to the Cubs because he didn’t want to play in front of racist fans.
* I have refused to set foot in Cub Park for many years, so I cannot speak from experience here. I’ve been to a whole lot of White Sox games, however, and have yet to hear a racist taunt.
* The Question: Do you think Cub fans are more racist than other baseball fans? Explain.