I Believe Milton Bradley

What’s My Point?

I believe the fans at Wrigley gave Milton a hard time and maybe it was deserved, but at least 3 of those fans crossed the line.

Why Does it Matter?

I don’t hear one person coming to his defense and that tells me something isn’t right.  I believe the Cubs tried as hard as they could to make him feel welcome.  But I haven’t heard one quote saying it was possible that a fan crossed the line.

My Take

It has been well documented that Milton received treatment for anger management.  But fans don’t care.  They think,  “Hey, he is a millionaire and a jerk.  Watch this, I am going to yell at him until he snaps.  It’ll be funny!”  A fan at Wrigley tried to be funny with me also and he crossed the line.

I was in right field shagging balls during BP in 2007.  I loved talking to the fans in the bleachers.   In fact, I felt so comfortable with them that a guy asked to see my glove so I tossed it to him.  He looked at it and threw it back down, no problem.  Back to the story…

I was talking to a group of 7 and they started ragging me, but I got them to laugh and the conversation quickly turned into a Q & A session.  After 15 min I told them I had to hit.  When I turned my back I heard a guy spit and felt phlegm hit my left temple.

As I jogged into the dugout my eyes were watering up.  I took 3 or 4 deep breaths and regained my composure.  It took me over an hour to stop feeling humiliated.  Someone just spit on me because he thought it would be funny and instead it burned a memory into my heart that I will never forget.

Spitting, literally, dribbles contempt, and it is the noxious, viscous disdain of the act that makes it such a powerful and intimate insult. The appeal of spitting is the effortless momentary disrespect it conveys, while the person on the receiving end must experience the full humiliation of the splash, the dribble and the ungainly wipe.  Esther Addley The Guardian, Thursday 6 November 2003

So when Milton says that he was called a “derogatory comment”.  I believe him.  When he says his family was threatened, I believe him.  Every fan isn’t a racist, just like every fan doesn’t spit on players.  But based on my experience at Wrigley, I believe him.

Final Thought

Milton and I were teammates for 2 months with the Padres.  He has a HUGE heart and was a great teammate.  He just wants to have someone in his corner.  I’ll be that guy Milton.

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149 Comments on “I Believe Milton Bradley”

  1. Reid Ryan says:

    Morgan – Love the blog. Great stuff. I hope you and the family are doing well.

    - Reid

  2. Matt Wood says:

    Morgan… tough day for both Ron Washington and Chuck Knoblauch.

  3. Jeffrey says:

    Hi Mr. Ensberg,

    I’ve been a fan of yours since your Astros days and I am thrilled you’re doing this blog. I saw you live and in person a couple times when you were with the Buffalo Bisons, which was a highlight of that AAA baseball season.

    I am extremely sorry you had something like this happen to you at Wrigley. I’m a Cubs fan who doesn’t live in Chicago and who’s never been to Wrigley, but I’ve always heard how it’s got such a positive atmosphere. I’m worried that that atmosphere is starting to sour these days. As for Bradley, while I admit at times I think he’s his own worst enemy, he’s also received way too harsh criticism for all that, and it pains me to think that he had to endure racial taunts from Cubs fans. I can totally understand why you want to speak up on his behalf. I hope Mr. Bradley can find his way with his new team, and I hope that what happened to you hasn’t totally ruined any good times you may have had at Wrigley.

    I’m also sorry that you’re no longer an active player; I’d been wondering if someone was going to try and sign you this spring.

    Take care and please keep this blog up! All the best to you in this new phase of your life.

    • Jeff you can just call me Morgan. You said some very nice things there and I thank you for that. I didn’t have a opportunity to go to Spring Training, although I also didn’t ask.

      Morgan

  4. Dan says:

    Who would have thought a major league baseball player would be so sensitive.

    Not sure why you teared up and felt humiliated. The loser, and might I add, most likely borderline psychopath that spit on you isnt even comparable to a successful athlete in a professional sport. I would think initial anger, followed by indifference would be more appropriate.

    Any fan that witnessed that, and thought that guy was anything other than a total scumbag is also a worthless ass. I hope the POS got kicked out of the game.

    Taunting can be fun, but that guy crossed the line in a big way.

    • Dan I don’t know if you understand the situation fully. I was having a conversation with these guys for 15 min. Once I say bye and turned around, I was spit on. Now you say that you would be mad, and I was furious after an hour. But after getting spit on out of nowhere is a blatant humiliation. If you think that my position is sensitive then that is a opinion. I don’t think I am more sensitive then the next guy. You are speculating while I am experiencing.

      Morgan

  5. Dan says:

    I’m not sure what happened in Chicago, but I do feel bad for Milton in what transpired in San Diego. I believe every word of his story that the 1st base umpire instigated that fight. Feel bad Milton tore his knee up in a time he was playing great baseball.

  6. nic says:

    Man your Wrigley Field story got me pissed. That’s just total horse***t right there. Your honesty is appreciated, hopefully it gets some people to stop and think before acting so disgustingly.

    I also hope Milton gets a fair shake in Seattle and things work out for him there.

    Any thoughts on the media and talk radio’s role in how fans treat players? It seems to me they can set the narrative, positive or negative. Or they feed off fan perception and add fuel to the fire.

    • Nic you need to know that it is just a couple of people who are making poor decisions. Baseball is the same as life.

      As for media, I believe that they definitely are able to shape the interview.

      Morgan

  7. dan says:

    having sat through 20-25 cubs games a year at wrigley for 30 years i’ve seen plenty of bad behavior by fans. i’ve also seen plenty of loyal and respectful fans support the wretched teams the cubs have fielded. i’ve never heard a racist thing yelled at any player. i have heard racist things said from one person to another but never yelled. and if i ever do hear it i’ll get security. but please accept my sincere apology for what happened to you at wrigley. if i would have seen it i would have called security. it’s unacceptable behavior not only at a game but in a civilization. i believe there are idiot fans everywhere. i just wish there were fewer at wrigley field. they’re giving me a bad rep.

    fwiw bradley was booed from day 1. the press played a huge role in his problems in chicago.

  8. dan says:

    let me know when. i’d be honored.

  9. Ruben says:

    One of the most precious moments of my youth was when my dad took me to my first Astros game at the Dome back in August of 89. It was an ideal experiance all the way through. It upsets me though, that there are fans out there that not only disrespect the players or the game, but also the fans around them. I’m not saying everyone at the ballpark should act as a saint. I see nothing wrong in heckling an opposing player, as long as its in good taste. (An example: I would start a “Saaaammy” chant similar to the “Daaaaryl” chant in my section everytime Sammy Sosa went up to bat at MMP). What I am saying though, is somewhere in every ballpark, there is a kid experiencing his/her first big league game, and it would be a shame for him/her to have a rotten moment in an experience that is supposed to be special.

    -ruben f.

    • Ruben that is a great point that I didn’t think about. There could be first time fans there and you are right, it would be horrible for them to remember a F-Bomb.

      Morgan

  10. Drew says:

    Morgan I am so terribly sorry you were spit on by a fan at Wrigley Field. As an Astros fan and a baseball fan, I apologize on behalf of them.

    • Drew I didn’t put that in there for sympathy. People do dumb things, myself included. I did that as a proof that some fans get carried away in their actions. Thank you for the apology. Isn’t it cool that we can talk about this stuff?

      Morgan

  11. Drew says:

    Also, here’s another example of unruly Cubs fans.

    http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090812&content_id=6394050&vkey=recap&fext=.jsp&c_id=chc

    Last year a “fan” threw a beer at Shane Victorino hoping he would misplay the ball on a bases loaded 1 out flyball to center field. Obviously not all Cubs fans are jerks, I’ve met some knowledgeable and respectable Cubs fans. I’m fine with the Bleacher Creatures heckling the outfielders with their baseball stats “Hey, you were 0 for 12 with RISP in the last series” or “Did you know you’re 1 for 20 against today’s starting pitcher with 5 K’s?” Thats baseball. I’m fine with that. Get in the guy’s head about his baseball ability. But leave it at baseball, keep it clean and keep it baseball related.

  12. Griffin says:

    Very well said, and I certainly wouldn’t put any of Milton’s claims past Chicago fans – even if it’s only a few of them. I’ve got a lot of respect for you.

  13. Jim says:

    I was a Red Sox fan in the right field bleachers at the old Yankee stadium for Pedro vs. Mussina in 2001, in the heat of the Carl Everett drama and I heard some of the worst things i’ll ever hear at a baseball game (maybe in life) directed at Everett. I also saw fellow Sox fans wearing mustard, simply for supporting their team. I have a hard time with fans going to extremes at a game. I go to the game to watch, even study what’s happening, not to listen to some idiot yell “Rivera sucks!” for 9 straight innings. I’ll cheer when my team succeeds and boo when the opponent succeeds. I have the utmost respect for what you guys do, you spend months on the road and grind it out all year and are put into these melting pot stadiums and fans feel like they deserve complete access to you once you’re there. Fans tend to forget that you’re just people, granted you’re people with skills we don’t have. Instead you are perceived as a side show and anything goes, especially with the way the internet spreads everything so quickly now. I apologize for the length of this, but sports fans can drive me a little mad. I look forward to more from you, I enjoy your “pull no punches” approach, it’s refreshing.

  14. CubsFan says:

    When I was living in Chicago, I guess I was in my late 20′s, I was standing on Addison waiting for a bus when some jerk in a passing by spit a hocker and hit me right under the neck. Although part of me kind of said, “nice shot”, the other part of me wanted to tear his head off, but there was no way because he was in a speeding car and was long gone. The dude who spat at you was a coward who knew you couldn’t go after him. If he had been half a man, he would have tried to do it while you were standing face to face.

    • You are right Max- But I really think that guy just wasn’t thinking. It must have been impulse. But it wasn’t fun and it goes to show how we can do stupid things sometimes.

      Morgan

  15. marinersfan says:

    I actually just returned from Spring Training in Peoria and caught a few games. I felt compelled to comment on your story Morgan because at a game in which the M’s were playing the Indians at Goodyear, i sat in the outfield grass behind Bradley, only to have to put up with 5 innings of taunting by Cubs fans. Yes, Cubs fans. Im not going to profile Cubs fans, but they were poorly represented that day. I say only 5 innings because my group of friends shut it down quickly, only to have Bradley turn around and give my group of friends a thumbs up. I hope he has a great year. Nice post Morgan.

    • Milton Bradley has one of the biggest hearts I have ever seen. If people were able to see what I have seen, they wouldn’t take advantage of his anger. I hope you were able to look into his eyes when he gave you a thumbs up because that will tell you everything.

      Morgan

  16. Bob says:

    As a lifelong Seattle Mariners fan (and, a baseball nut, of course), I’ve seen some horrible things in several stadiums, including in Seattle.

    It’s easy to forget that pro athletes are humans, especially with a few cold frosty ones in your belly, but spitting on someone? I wouldn’t spit on my worst enemy.

    Morgan, you’re a class act. It’s good to see someone willing to stand next to a guy like “Uncle Miltie” (what many M’s fans have started calling MB), especially a man who has experienced the highs and the lows that come with being an athlete.

    All the best to you and yours.

    • Bob, Milton has a big heart and he wants people to support him. Every place he has gone with exception to San Diego, the people have tried to make him mad. If you got to meet him you would see a guy that just wants people to know who he is.

      Root hard for him and he can take your team to the playoffs.

      Morgan

  17. Errol Lee says:

    Mr. Ensberg, I was watching a story about Milton Bradley on ESPN and he showed a bit of contempt against those who used PED’s. He didn’t name names but suggested that that type of cheating is far worse than any of his slip-ups BUT these cheaters were forgiven very quickly whereas he wasn’t. Do other MLB players exhibit any type of contempt towards players who cheat? As a fan, it burns me up that PED’s exist and players use them. If I had chosen professional baseball as a career, I probably would find myself even more upset.

    • Errol I don’t know if contempt is the accurate word. But there is no question that players have different opinions of PED’s. I am against them because they are illegal in the United States. My issue has to do more with the law of the land.

      Morgan

  18. Steven says:

    Morgan,
    Speaking of first game impressions. I took my step mom to her first ever big league game in 2007 at minute maid( she’s 65). You were her favorite player and you hit a bomb against the Pads late that season and gave her the thrill of a lifetime! Thanks for the fun memories.

  19. David Waterman says:

    Hi Morgan, My son and are going to a Astros spring training game against the Cardinals tomorrow.He remembers when you played for them and still has the baseball you signed for him. Tell Lars,Sten and your mom I said Hi.I still live in central florida and teach P.E. in a public school in Ocala.Glad everthing is going well for you.

    Coach Dave Waterman

    Coach Waterman


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