Bradley felt like prisoner in Chicago

Updated: March 10, 2010, 1:54 PM ET
ESPNChicago.com

Seattle Mariners outfielder Milton Bradley said he felt like a prisoner in his own home when he played for the Chicago Cubs last year, and that he feared for the well-being of people around him.

"It was pretty bad," Bradley said during an interview with ESPN's Colleen Dominguez. "I would have rather tore my knee up and gone through rehab all over again then have to deal with that."

The Cubs signed Bradley to a three-year, $30 million contract on Jan. 5, 2009. He struggled on the field, hitting .257 with 12 home runs and 40 RBIs. Off the field, his relationship with the Cubs became so unmanageable that general manager Jim Hendry suspended Bradley on Sept. 20 for the remainder of the season for conduct detrimental to the organization.

Bradley I was a prisoner in my own home. I pretty much stayed at home, ordered in every day, never went anywhere.

-- Milton Bradley

Bradley, who was traded to the Mariners for Carlos Silva and cash on Dec. 18, was asked if Chicago is a tough place to play for African-Americans.

"Well, I mean unless you go out there and you're Superman -- you're Andre Dawson, you're Ernie Banks, you're in the Hall of Fame -- then it's going to be tough," Bradley said. "People are just the way they are.

"When you get paid a lot of money to play this game, they expect miracles. And when you don't go out there and perform like that, then people don't like it. People don't want to see a guy that's brash and cocky and a little arrogant and kind of does his own thing making a lot of money. They were like, 'He doesn't deserve that.'"

Bradley was asked if race played a role.

"I got the same mail LaTroy [Hawkins] probably got; the same mail Jacque [Jones] got," Bradley said. "Every time I got mail, I handed it to the PR guy and said, 'Here it goes.'

"I was getting so much until I didn't even have to open up the letter to know what it was, I could see from the envelope. I could just tell, you get an envelope, no address on it, no postmark, it's just in your mail. How does that get in your cubby hole? I don't know how that happens."

Bradley was asked if he thought the mail with no postage mark was sent from inside the organization.

"I would hope not, but ... who knows?" he said. "I don't know. I don't even care to know."

Hendry responded on Wednesday, saying any implication that hate mail to Bradley originated from inside the organization was, "absolutely ridiculous."

"That couldn't be farther from the truth," Hendry said. "I think it's time maybe Milton looked at himself in the mirror. It is what it is. He didn't swing the bat; he didn't get the job done. His production was the only negative, or lack of.

"We have a long history of quality people who want to play here. I don't believe in the last seven or eight years, under this regime, we lost a free-agent player we wanted to keep. And that still is the case. We just heard from Aramis [Ramirez] and Derrek Lee [who are both in the last year of their contracts], how strongly they would like to end their careers here."

Hendry also pointed out that the same agents who represent Bradley -- the Levinson brothers -- also represent Kevin Millar and Marlon Byrd, who both signed as free agents with the Cubs in the offseason.

"If there were any truth to any of the things that are coming up now ... I don't think [the Levinsons] would have been dying to have their clients come here," Hendry said. "And I think Kevin and Marlon will tell you we were clearly their first choice."

Seattle is Bradley's eighth team in 11 seasons. He said the reason he's moved around so much is because he's been injured.

One low point of last season for Bradley was when the media reported that manager Lou Piniella called Bradley "a piece of [expletive]" during a June series against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field.

"The next day, he called me into his office and wanted to apologize," Bradley said. "I felt you put me on blast, called me out in front of everybody, you're going to apologize in front of everybody.

"He didn't choose to go that route, but I accepted his apology nonetheless, because as a Christian that's what you do. I don't have time to hold grudges against people. I've got enough stuff I've got to deal with."

Piniella said Wednesday that he did the best he could.

"I apologized to Milton," Piniella said. "I did the best I could, and I'm human like everybody else. I think I bent over backwards to make it as comfortable as I possibly could, and that's all I could do, nothing more, nothing less.

"I don't know why we're revisiting these things. This is the year 2010. I say let's turn the page and go forward with this team."

Bradley said the worst part of his time in Chicago was having his 3-year-old child called a "derogatory name" at school.

"I was worried about my family, about my kids," he said. "The worst part of it all, the last straw is when I found out that my kid has been called a derogatory name at school.

"Three-year-olds shouldn't be getting called names. That's coming straight from the home. When we confronted the school and had the meeting with the parents, the parents totally denied it, but that comes from the home."

Bradley said it became so uncomfortable that he rarely left his home.

"I was a prisoner in my own home," he said. "I pretty much stayed at home, ordered in every day, never went anywhere.

"I went out one time, when a buddy of mine came in town to visit right before the All-Star break. And I go to a restaurant and I hear a guy bad-mouthing myself and [Alfonso] Soriano, saying how terrible we were and how we didn't deserve anything and we should go back to the ghetto where we came from and all that kind of stuff."

Ironically, Bradley said Chicago always has been one of his favorite cities.

"When people ask me what city you like to go to as a visitor, Chicago is always No. 1," he said. "I just really had a bad experience.

"I don't think the entire city of Chicago is racist or anything like that. If you weren't booing me, I'm not talking to you."

SPONSORED HEADLINES

ALSO SEE

MORE MLB HEADLINES