Friday, June 12, 2009 is a day Milton Bradley would like to have wiped from his brain. Unfortunately, brain-erasing is not yet widely available, except for the catastrophic kind that involves severe head trauma. Even more unfortunately, there are these things called blogs now, which thrive on endlessly rehashing other people’s humiliation (and sometimes accusing Raul Ibanez of being on steroids). Far be it from me, however, to merely recapitulate Mr. Bradley’s misfortune for the sake of cheap laughs, or as an opportunity for mock outrage. Instead, I’m going to go the humane route, and say that I actually feel sorry for Bradley, who I’m sure wants to help the Cubs win. Forgetting the number of outs was a stupid mistake, but it was a mistake. People make them all the time, even folks who don’t play rightfield for the Cubs.
That being said: Bradley better start getting his head in the game or there’s gonna be a problem. Fact is, the ball-toss was not his only boner on Friday – he also committed an idiot baserunning mistake, getting tagged out when he should’ve stayed at second on a grounder; and then, later, he lost a ball in the sun that should’ve been an easy out. Neither of these bonehead incidents were nearly as amusing as the ball-chuck, which is why there’s no video floating around. But each was, in its own way, just as annoying.
I’ve said all along that Bradley won’t make it on the Cubs, he can’t handle the pressure of playing on an expected contender, and he certainly can’t handle the combined scrutiny of an attack-dog media and a victory-starved, occasionally vicious fanbase. A game like Friday’s doesn’t do much to dispel the impression that Bradley is beginning to crack under the strain. Think Bradley can handle getting booed the way he was after the forgetting the number of outs gaffe? I don’t.