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Derrek Lee is sick of the Marlon Byrd-Milton Bradley comparisons

Feb 27, 2010, 5:00 PM EDT

Derrek Lee swinging.jpgIt’s been one of the more predictable and boring storylines early in camp, as referenced here and here, and Derrek Lee has already had enough. During an appearance on a Chicago radio show, the Cubs first baseman said the following regarding the Byrd-Bradley comparisons:

“It’s ridiculous,” Lee told Bruce Levine and Jonathan Hood on ESPN
1000′s “Talkin’ Baseball” Saturday morning. “If it was a white guy who
came over [to the Cubs] would he be [called] the ‘anti-Milton Bradley’?
It just makes no sense. Marlon’s a completely different guy. He wasn’t
traded for Milton. He signed here as a free agent, so why even bring
Milton Bradley’s name into it? It really makes no sense and it’s just,
again, the media trying to make something out of nothing.”

It would be pretty reckless to couple Byrd with Bradley based solely on race, and I can’t say I’ve seen a lot of that in the press. They’ve been stressing the contrast, if anything. I can’t help but think that these comparisons were inevitable, even if the Cubs signed Rick Ankiel or Scott Podsednik, but the fact that the two were teammates in Texas plays into this, at least a little bit.

While this is ultimately a needless distraction, Lee laments that comments by former Cubs Bradley and Jacque Jones could keep other African-American players away from Chicago:

“It’s definitely not a positive when you’re looking at coming to
Chicago,” Lee said. “But I think overall, the positives do outweigh the
negatives and we’re baseball players, so we’re pretty good at kind of
blocking out all of that outside stuff and focusing on in between the
lines. And in between the lines, Chicago’s a good place to play.”

Kerry Wood recently acknowledged that he personally witnessed African-American players who received hate mail during his time with the Cubs, but it would be very dangerous to single out Chicago when we know that this goes on in other places. We just don’t hear about it.

  1. Stone - Feb 27, 2010 at 5:45 PM

    Doesn’t surprise me at all. Seems like most white people that I have met from Chicago (granted, small sample) are pretty racist.

  2. Nasty Boy - Feb 27, 2010 at 6:14 PM

    It sounds like the so called revs. Al Sharpton, and Jessee Jackson talking. God help us if white people say anything about blacks, but reverse it , and blacks feel they can say anything about whites.Example you say, how about the NAACP awards, OR the Miss Black America award. If they were specified as The White actors awards, or Miss White America all hell would break loose. Like Don King says, “Only in America” and he knows, a man convicted of manslaughter , and because he’s in America , becomes a millionaire . Think about it !

  3. Grant - Feb 27, 2010 at 6:52 PM

    I think Lee’s concerns are valid, but I think it is also worth pointing out that both players are outfielders who received three-year deals that at the time of the signings were considered by many to be overly lucrative. The Bradley contract didn’t work out. Hopefully (for Cubs fans and Jim Hendry anyway) the Byrd one does.

    Now, they’re pretty different players, too. At least in this point in their careers.

  4. Real Vikings fans wouldn't cheer for Favre - Feb 27, 2010 at 7:56 PM

    Unfortunately it’s the way the world works
    http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2010/02/27/gerhart-jokes-about-only-being-compared-to-white-players/

  5. Alfred - Feb 27, 2010 at 8:20 PM

    the reason african-americans have miss black usa,naacp awards and had negro-league baseball is because african americans are often excluded or overlooked by white society.

  6. Geo - Feb 27, 2010 at 10:24 PM

    To Alfred, so racism on the the part of black Americans is the answer, we might as well just keep going back and forth. I do not agree with racism but feel I and my generation have to continue to apologize for it. You will have scumbag racists no matter what happens during yours and my lifetime. It will never go away. But to have these segregated shows, and I don’t mind because that is what this country is all about is fine with me. But please do not say that Black Americans are excluded from events, if that were true why do we not hear about at the Grammy’s, The Oscars, Golden Globes. Please, if it was going on Mr. Sharpton and Mr. Jackson would be all over it.
    i for one do not know why Derek Lee had to bring up the white/black issue. Why the reference?

  7. edd - Feb 27, 2010 at 11:31 PM

    Derrick you fit right in with the rest of the racists near Wrigley.

  8. jackie boy - Feb 28, 2010 at 12:03 AM

    Well said. I think edd is right also. Another point, note all the tv commercials recently, mostly blacks in them, why don’t the hispanics start yelling ? might be because their used to working hard for their money. I think we can all learn from them .

  9. Nasty Boy - Feb 28, 2010 at 12:13 AM

    Maybe edd hit the nail on the head. Food for thought….

  10. Moses Green - Feb 28, 2010 at 7:11 AM

    DJ – bullseye for noting this happens to other black players on other teams and we just don’t usually hear about it. Can’t single out Chicago for this. Can’t stigmatize the South or the Midwest here either, the Northeast has Boston, a notoriously racist city to this day. Threat letters internet postings happen to collegiate athletes, they happen to really good high school athletes, to blacks who marry and/or date whites, and also whites who marry and/or date blacks.
    So when you watch the news and you’re seeing these tea-party idiots ranting about “Hussein” Obama with their guns strapped around their waists in plain sight, just know that these are the same idiots sending those badly spelled letters written in generic crayon. Wake up, America.

  11. sven-erik - Feb 28, 2010 at 8:26 AM

    I’ve been on the European side of the Atlantic for 17 years now. Living over here and being the “outsider, I have learned a great deal about how it feels to be “different”.
    There is alot that I miss about the States, they are my home. But this racism crap and the health care system are two things that I do not miss.

  12. Old Gator - Feb 28, 2010 at 12:10 PM

    That’s not my post, and you people don’t cover Cialis anyway.
    .
    Me, I don’t blame Derrek Lee. I’m getting pretty tired of the Milton Bradley – Nintendo comparison myself. I also don’t begrudge him playing the race card, especially after listening to the version of “Loser” on the Dead’s May 77 Cornell bootleg. I’ve really soured on both the board and Wii versions of ‘Hood Monopoly; I keep getting stuck with the brothels on Skid Row just before one of the other players throws an arson option, and pulling the goddamned “Go to Jail” card, and all the play money has been marked by the DEA. Can’t we do levels of this thing, you know, like the old Super Mario stuff?

  13. Mandie Sanderlin - Mar 1, 2010 at 8:36 AM

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  14. Jonny5 - Mar 1, 2010 at 8:54 AM

    Where does the assumption that the comparison between Lee and Bradley is based soley on race??? This is a head scratcher for me…. Does he seriously consider comments from Milton Bradley? If so he’s one of 3 people in the world who do. Milton, his mom, and Derrek Lee. That’s a small crowd. Well, one thing is for sure, after the comments he’s made in regards to race, he’s sure to get some hate mail in regards to race. Kinda like a manufactured prophecy if you ask me…. But anyway, you can’t expect any city anywhere to not contain racists. just like you can’t expect a city to be free from drug dealers, rapists, and murderers. Human nature is an ugly thing at times.

  15. Joey B - Mar 1, 2010 at 9:32 AM

    “But anyway, you can’t expect any city anywhere to not contain racists. just like you can’t expect a city to be free from drug dealers, rapists, and murderers. Human nature is an ugly thing at times.”
    Spot on. 300M Americans, and 30 teams, meaning that you can devote about 10M Americans to each team. I’ve known miserable blacks, and blacks that make you feel inferior because you have trouble living up to their standards. Same goes for whites, hispanics, Asians, and everyone else. Anyone that thinks they aren’t going to find crackpots among every race is nuts.
    In Boston, Drew gets more criticism than anyone I remember. Pedro is a demi-god. Dave Roberts still gets E-mails years after his memorable SB.

  16. RoyceTheBaseballHack - Mar 1, 2010 at 10:39 AM

    There are a few angles on this article; one being racism toward Chicago baseball players, the other being Byrd Vs. Bradley. I only have a qualified opinion on one of them:
    I watched Marlon Byrd in and around the field in Arlington for years. I also had the chance to see Milton Bradley in the exact same places, at the exact same time. These two guys approach and play 180 degrees from each other. Milton is talented, but a pretty big dude. His approach is talent and brawn. Marlon is more of a finesse player, who uses speed and skill defensively, and is a far more selective hitter than Milton ever was. Not necessarily a greater or better hitter, just more selective. Personality wise, Marlon is one of the nicest guys you’d ever want to meet. I’ve never heard anyone even hint anything like that about Milton..myself included.
    Milton Bradley Vs. Marlon Byrd isn’t like comparing apples and oranges. It’s more like comparing apples and croquet balls.

  17. Retha Rehder - Mar 1, 2010 at 11:28 AM

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  18. Old Gator - Mar 1, 2010 at 11:52 AM

    “…meaning that you can devote about 10M Americans to each team.”
    What is that rising wave of laughter I hear above the rooftops of Macondo and most of all from the locker room at the Feesh’s spring training camp?
    .
    Ten thousand fans at a Feesh game? Well, maybe when the Borg, the Mutts (assuming they’re still willing to show themselves) and the Cubbies come in bringing seven or eight M fans of their own each. Hell, we might even have to peel the blue tarp off the infield boxes at this rate.

  19. Joey B - Mar 1, 2010 at 1:28 PM

    “Ten thousand fans at a Feesh game? Well, maybe when the Borg, the Mutts (assuming they’re still willing to show themselves) and the Cubbies come in bringing seven or eight M fans of their own each. Hell, we might even have to peel the blue tarp off the infield boxes at this rate.”
    MLB probably averages about 10M per MMA. The Marlins probably aren’t that far off. It’s just that their fans are cheap. Fans in NY and Boston will buy season tickets just to have them, and not worry about hitting each game. FL fans will wait until late-September, when they are officially eliminated, and then see if they can grab a FL/SD ticket off of E-Bay at half-price.

  20. Old Gator - Mar 2, 2010 at 12:08 AM

    And why not? Given the similar quality of the products, why should their fans shop one way at K-Mart and another way for Feesh tickets?

  21. Joey B - Mar 2, 2010 at 9:10 AM

    Because, if you want to enjoy yourself, sometimes you have to actually part with some of your money. There is nothing wrong with K-Mart. But you can’t spend all your time in a K-Mart, and then complain that the Sak’s Fifth Avenue just closed down. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t expect a superior product, but refuse to pay for any of it.
    You can either be happy with what you have, or you can try to make it better.

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