Well, the Cubs won yesterday, though the Mariners didn't. And the Milton Bradley conversation continues: interesting how commenters accuse me of Haterism when I talk about Bradley, but then take me to task when I don't mention him. I actually hadn't mentioned the Flipping Off the Fans in Texas incident because I don't watch ESPN so missed all the moralizing about it, and hadn't heard (it only made the Chicago papers yesterday). Wak has already had to sit Milton and try to talk him into easing up on himself. This is a worse sign than a 1-21 slump, which, as Fnarf pointed out, in mid-season is no big deal, but to start out a season it gets blown out of proportion.

So, to go at it from another angle: yesterday was the 98th anniversary of the final major-league game of the Cubs double-play combo Joe Tinker, Johnny Evers and Frank Chance. This is especially notable as Tinker and Evers (pronounced EE-vers) were good-but-not-great players who got inducted into the Hall of Fame based on a bit of newspaper column filler, a poem (Chance had the playing and managerial career to make it on his own merits).

Baseball's Sad Lexicon

These are the saddest of possible words:
"Tinker to Evers to Chance."
A trio of bear Cubs and fleeter than birds,
Tinker and Evers and Chance.

Ruthlessly pricking our gonfalon bubble,
Making a Giant hit into a double,
Words that are weighty with nothing but trouble:
"Tinker to Evers to Chance."

Even though research by SABR has shown that these guys weren't any more prolific with their double-plays than any other team-mates, baseball isn't driven by facts. It's driven by stories. The stories fans pass down from generation to generation, the stories players tell and embellish (Babe Ruth's Called Shot, which never happened, fits both categories), the stories sportswriters create out of their sense of moral superiority (cf. the Steroid Era).

Milton Bradley's story has been the same for several years: it's not him, it's the environment, with the right team and media situation, he can do great, it'll be different this time. Not so far, but it's a long season.