Today is Jersey Day at work. They're celebrating Opening Day. Why are they celebrating Opening Day on a day when neither the Cubs nor the White Sox are actually playing? Because that's just how we roll, that's why.
So when I got to work, I was questioned by my friend Ken about if I had worn my Kerry Wood jersey, or my Ron Santo classic jersey. I said "no" and showed him the name on my back.
(disclaimer: I did not buy this jersey. It was given to me.)
Milton Bradley wasn't a popular Cub by any stretch of the imagination. I may have been his only defender, on this board at least, and possibly anywhere. He was a desperation signing by Jim Hendry, and he wasn't able to produce the way the team wanted him to be producing. But here's why I always rooted for him:
I haven't been around very much in the past few years, and there's more than one reason for it. My wife had two children, both of which were difficult pregnancies with long recovery times. I've been disappointed with the way this site has gone, and needed to be in more positive places. But a big part of it has been my oldest son's increasingly severe mental illnesses. He's been diagnosed with emerging bi-polar disorder, ADD, depression, Oppositional Disorder, and is a high-functioning autistic.
Milton Bradley by any definition, has been a successful baseball player -- he had an eleven year career, he was an All Star, and even got votes for MVP in 2008. Financially, he's probably set for life, if he's been smart. Milton Bradley has also, by any definition, been a difficult baseball player to like. Repeated outbursts, marital issues, stupid mistakes like throwing a ball into the stands after two outs, and being generally unlikable.
To steal Al's phrase, I hope my son achieves in his future the way Milton Bradley achieved in baseball. I fear that socially, he will end up like Milton Bradley. Sometimes I can see it happening before me. He can't control his emotions. He doesn't understand the reactions he gets from other people after outbursts. He gets upset when he's treated differently.
So I bear an appreciation for Milton Bradley that, really, I don't expect anyone else to share; everyone's different. But Gameboard is an example -- both good and bad -- of what my son's future could be like. I rooted for Bradley because rooting for him meant rooting for my son. Defending him meant defending my son. Because my comment sig is "forget all that other stuff. I gotta believe," and that applies to everything in life, not just baseball.
2014 is a year full of potential, for this team, and for my boy. If both of them live up to it, the future looks bright.