ST. LOUIS _ The headline on yesterday's blog was "Milton closing the door." The Cubs suspended Bradley for the rest of the season today, and they'll call up outfielder Tyler Colvin from Class AA Tennessee for the start of tomorrow's series at Milwaukee. Lou says Colvin will play.
Let's make no mistake here about Bradley. Although the Cubs took action by suspending him, Bradley brought it all on himself, and not one player in the clubhouse here at Busch Stadium rose to his defense. In fact, there was a feeling that a great weight had been lifted from the Cubs.
We've heard a lot about chemistry these last few days down here. Mark DeRosa talked about what great chemistry the Cubs had the past two years. Who knows how much a difference it makes. As Aramis Ramirez told us this afternoon, if you win, you have great chemistry. That great chemistry didn't help Kosuke Fukudome out of his half-season slump last year, nor did it prevent the Cubs from getting swept in the playoffs for a second straight year.
But having a downer like Bradley around sure doesn't make things pleasant for players (and media) who have to live with each other for eight months.
"Last year, I don't' know how many times I heard from the media that we had the best clubhouse in the league," Lou said before tonight's game. "Things don't change that rapidly in a year."
It's pretty clear about whom Lou was talking. I asked Reed Johnson if he felt for Bradley.
"I don't know," Johnson said. "In a way, I guess I feel sorry for him. He can't enjoy the same things the rest of us enjoy. He can't take the good things out of the city and the same good things out of the organization and have a good time with it.
"From our standpoint, nobody was making an effort to isolate him from groups. I think for the most part that was his choice."
Ryan Dempster talked about the need for Bradley to "look in the mirror."
"To say that everybody's out to get you and the reporters are looking for you and always looking to stick a microphone in your face, well, if you notice that they're always for you, I think maybe you're always looking for them," Dempster said. "I've been here six years now and haven't had a problem with anybody here. D-Lee's been here, Z, a lot of guys for a long time. Yeah, you have some tough times, but the city's great. The fans are great. You've got to realize sometimes the consequences of your own actions."
We've all had our little set-to's with players. Jim Edmonds and I got into it right here in St. Louis. We got over it, and were chatting about baseball a few days later. That's all I wanted to do with Milton Saturday. Right away, he said, "I'm not talking about my knee." I told him I wanted to talk baseball, and, true to form, he turned it into something else. It happened a few weeks ago in Chicago, when he was asked about being comfortable at the plate before turning it into "hatred and adversity."
Ryan Theriot can get a little testy after a bad game, but Ryan "gets it."
"Chicago's been great to me," Theriot said. "Chicago's been a city that's been extremely positive, welcoming for myself, my family. Both the fans and the media have accepted me as a player and as a person. I'm extremetly appreciative of all that. From my standpoint, I can really just speak of that.
"Each and every one of you guys in here have been extremely respectful to me, good days and bad. The TV guys, as well. The fans, on good days and bad, have been great to me."
We'll get to what GM Jim Hendry has to do over the next few days of blogging and story-writing. He will trade Bradley this off-season. You can bet on that. Bradley was being disingenuous when he sold himself to the Cubs last winter. Turns out he ended up being a bill of goods, despite some good OBP numbers this year.
Hendry apparently took Bradley at his word, or he thought he and Lou could manage Milton when things got rough. It didn't happen.
Back to the ballgame.