Soto Returns; Ramirez and Bradley Sit
This afternoon at Wrigley, when Rich Harden goes up against former teammate Jason Marquis, Geo Soto will make his first start since last Tuesday in Houston, and while Lou Piniella says Aramis Ramirez's back is getting better, he adds "one more day [of rest] won't do any harm."
As for Milton Bradley, Paul Sullivan reports:
Bradley is still projected back by the weekend,
though Piniella said Bradley told him he's feeling better, "though he
still feels (the groin strain) somewhat."
On the anniversary of Jackie Robinson's Major League debut 62 years ago, Bradley is also the subject of a long piece by Gordon Wittenmyer about the sad history of race-baiting by Cubs fans.
Wrigley seems like the last place an African-American player with
such a well-traveled reputation for confrontations [as Bradley] would choose to sign
a multiyear contract. In the last five seasons alone, Cubs outfielder
Jacque Jones and pitcher LaTroy Hawkins said they were the targets of
racist taunts and fan mail. Jones also said in 2006 that he became the
victim of racial slurs and threats on his cell phone when the number
Former Cubs manager Dusty Baker said that same season that he
received enough threatening, racist mail in Chicago that his wife and
young son no longer would attend games.
Visiting ballplayers are even easier targets for the more vicious slurs.
''I've heard a few things [from the bleachers],'' Milwaukee Brewers
outfielder Mike Cameron said. ''But I don't really get into it with
them unless a situation calls for it. I try to stay out of those
WIttenmyer also writes that the reputation of Wrigley Field crowds to go after African American players was one of the reasons that longtime Twin Torii Hunter, who Wittenmyer covered for years up in Minneapolis, had the Cubs on his no-trade list.
We baseball bloggers give the local beat guys a lot of crap--some deserved, some not--so I think it's only fair to point out when one of them authors a well-done piece on a provocative subject.
Kudos to Wittenmyer.