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Milton The Martyr

By George Ofman

He just can't help himself. This is what fuels Milton the Martyr. The whole world is after him. It's not his fault, it's someone else. Whether admitting he doesn't have rapport with most of his teammates to being called a piece of shit by his manager, Milton the Martyr can't escape the limelight, or himself.

  • New Cubs odds
  • And now the word hatred creeps in. This is dangerous territory. Following last night's humiliating loss to the Nationals, a game in which he actually had success going 4-for-4, Milton Bradley again was the target of the fans derision. "It's never comfortable," he said."It's hard to be comfortable when you don't get a hit and you get booed every time. When I go home I look in the mirror, I like what I see. My family is there"

    Don't going anywhere; it gets more intriguing, if not mind-boggling.

    "I have people I can talk to who are very supportive in spite of everything and all the adversity and all the hatred you face on a daily basis. But I'll be alright. I always have."

    There is much to dispute here, as there always has been with Milton the Martyr. But let's tackle the word hatred. Did someone yell a racial epithet in his direction?

    Bradley wouldn't go that far.

    There have been other players who have accused Cubs fans of getting downright dirty. Juan Pierre mentioned it, Jacques Jones said he was a victim of racial slurs and even threatened on his cell phone when his number got out. LaTroy Hawkins said he was a target of racial abuse. And former manager Dusty Baker said he took his share of unnecessary criticism. Bradley is complaining about waiters "bad-mouthing" him when he goes out to eat.

    Milton the Martyr, you made this bed, you must lie in it.

    Maybe Bradley should order a king-size bed and have General Manager Jim Hendry lie there with him.

    It was Hendry who sought out Bradley's services. He wanted a player who batted left-handed with power to drive in runs. Milton the Martyr fits one bill; he hits left-handed. Forget the power and he's never really been a run producer. And right now he's hitting .252 with 10 homers and 32 runs batted in. This is why he's being booed, along with a personality that rubs fans - and teammates - the wrong way.

    What Milton the Martyr has been is trouble just about everywhere he's played. He's already modeled eight different uniforms in 10 years. Eight teams in 10 years!

    And the trail of abuse he's left is legendary.

    What he's received here is warranted, and then some.

    Yet it's also dangerous to hear one fan tell a radio station he was removed from the bleachers and warned after he yelled at Milton the Martyr to "throw him the ball, buddy."

    If this is true, Big Brother is now dressed as security officials.

    This fan also was told by Cubs security some of the things you can't say to Milton the Martyr such as "How many outs are there?" This is in reference to an incident earlier in the season when the right fielder caught a fly ball, paused, then threw it into the bleachers. There were only two outs.

    This is one of the reasons why the fans have such disdain for him.

    "People are watching and looking at everything I'm doing," Milton says. "I'm really not a guy who is seeking any attention."

    Neither was John Wayne Gacy!

    Milton the Martyr has ticked off a lot of people but he doesn't get it. Maybe he's too selfish to understand or maybe he's anti-social. I'm not quite sure, though a dose of anger management might be in order in the not-so-distant future.

    What he is thus far is a bust, both as a player and a person. He's the poster boy for the Cubs lack of success this season, though in his defense there are others who deserve plenty of blame, not the least of which is Alfonso Soriano. But Soriano is not using the world hatred and his track record with fans and teammates is pretty solid.

    What I am sure of is that the Cubs are pretty much stuck with Milton the Martyr for the next two years unless the new owner decides to swallow the $22 million owed to him and simply let him find a new employer.

    My guess is Tom Ricketts would be hailed as a hero if he did that.


    George Ofman, an original member of The Score and a veteran of NPR, has covered more than 3,500 sporting events over the course of his career. Comments welcome.

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