Banks wanted Bradley to see Newton

Updated: March 4, 2010, 3:50 PM ET
ESPNChicago.com

Hall of Famer Ernie Banks thought Milton Bradley's stay with the Chicago Cubs in 2009 could have been made easier with the help of Mack Newton, a fitness guru and motivational consultant who once was brought to Chicago to help Sammy Sosa.

But Bradley's one season with the Cubs deteriorated so badly that he was suspended toward the end of the season and traded in the offseason to the Seattle Mariners for Carlos Silva.

"[Bradley] is a neighbor of mine in California," Banks said Thursday on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000. "He's more settled now in his life.

"I was going to get him to a friend of mine. Mack Newton is a guy who trains athletes to stay in shape and deal with psychological things, but [Bradley] was traded before I got him to get in touch with Mack Newton."

A New York Times story quoted Bradley as saying it wasn't his fault things soured in Chicago. "Two years ago, I played, and I was good," Bradley told The Times. "I go to Chicago, not good. I've been good my whole career. So, obviously, it was something with Chicago, not me."

Banks, who played all of his 19 seasons with the Cubs, said it was a mistake for Bradley to blame the fans.

"I like him a lot," Banks said. "I think he's a very talented young man. He's a switch-hitter; plays the game very hard. He's smart; plays in the clutch.

"Maybe ... he became a little more sensitive about the fans, where they said things and remarks and some of the pressures that was put on him here was maybe a little too much."

Banks was told Newton, who's worked with several professional teams, would have had his hands full with Bradley.

"Mack loves that challenge of working with players who have had a little difficulty with the fans," Banks said. "You can't really get on the fans for anything, because they're the one who come see you play."

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