Have you ever lost out on a big contract when your price and service were clearly better than the competition, but the buyer had a grudge against your old management? Whether in the business world or a myriad of other venues, fairness and logic are often trumped by emotional bias.
Milton Bradley is an outfielder for the Chicago Cubs, who signed a three year $30 million contract during the off-season. He is having an awful season, batting 80 points less than last year.
I have watched a lot of Cub games this season and observed Bradley’s batting closely. One of the main reasons his stats are way down is that the umpires have it in for him at the plate, so he often finds himself at the pitcher’s mercy in unfavorable 0-2 and 1-2 counts.
I would argue that the reason the umps are abusing him is his career-long behavior on the field. Bradley acts like a bush leaguer when batting, often dropping his bat in disgust or disdainfully flipping it when he strikes out. He is a classless act, but the reality is that these days he is being discriminated against by virtually every ump in the game. My question is, should an ump or referee discriminate against a jerk, or does a jerk still deserve the same treatment as a polite “ambassador of the game” like Derek Jeter?
Every sport has its unwritten rules which are enforced by the players, managers and umps. In baseball, if a pitcher hits or knocks down the star player of the opposing team a quid pro quo will soon follow. If it is done “professionally” the umps will generally ignore it. But a Milton Bradley “bad strike rule,” which happens at most to one player a year, is a tougher call.
I saw the “bad strike” unwritten rule go against the great Robbie Alomar, a potential Hall of Fame second basemen. He spit in the face of umpire John Hirschbeck, after Hirschbeck allegedly called him gay during their argument. Alomar’s career went into steep decline after that incident.
Frank Thomas, the fantastic homer hitting first baseman/DH for the Chicago White Sox, supposedly showed up the umps and got the “treatment” for a season.
I ask you, is it fair? Does a person’s attitude, his long-term reputation as a miserable pain in the neck, justify blatant discrimination? Is it fair in this case to the Chicago Cubs or their fans?
We all know life is unfair. A proud and petulant Milton Bradley seemingly never gets a break at the plate. It may hurt is career—but should it?
How would YOU call the close ones on Milton Bradley?
Watch a bad call