Is Race Hurting Milton Bradley’s Image?

“This guy must be crazy”, Josh Hamilton said about Milton Bradley before he met him. 

Be honest, you probably thought the same thing from the ESPN clips on TV.

Today, Hamilton, a recovering drug addict, and Bradley are All Stars for the Texas Rangers.   The New York Times has great read about their road to Yankee Stadium for the Midsummer Classic.

The guys call themselves the “Risk Brothers”.  Hambone has become a media darling, a feel good story.  Bradley is still seen as the angry black guy according to the Times:

He has become the heir to Dick Allen, Albert Belle and Barry Bonds as baseball’s brooding Public Enemy No. 1.

It is not lost on several Rangers that players like the former Yankee Paul O’Neill and managers like Earl Weaver, Billy Martin and Lou Piniella— all of whom are white — were labeled “fiery” and “intense” and celebrated for their tempestuousness. Piniella, who has disputed that image, nonetheless cashed in last year with a commercial in which he argues with an umpire and throws a base.

Several Rangers noted that Bradley was generally described as “volatile,” a pejorative they contend is used primarily with black players, rather than “fiery,” a compliment they say is often reserved for white men.

“If it was a white guy in his situation, what would they be saying?” Hamilton said. Reliever Eddie Guardado said, “We all know it’s there.”

Young added: “It’d be silly for anybody to say that race doesn’t play an issue. It would be a naïve outlook.”

This is a darn good story and I recommend you read it and watch the sitdown interview both players did.  Click here.

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