I've been reading the latest on Milton Bradley and his emotional issues regarding his life and baseball. We have first hand experience, as fans of a team he was once a member, that his presence on a team can be an array from fantastic production to clubhouse cancer. His recent proclamation to the Mariner's FO is that he needs help with personal issues in his life. So this brought me to a quandary about how we should handle him coming in to Arlington as a Mariner these next 9 games.
Bradley not playing well, losing his cool, thinking more about the fans in the stands instead of the play on the field, is all a good thing for the Rangers. I think it's a part of the game when fans attempt to rattle the opposition with chants, noise, or jeering (tastefully, of course) to get inside of their heads. These are professional athletes who have gone through this before (the minors are full of amazingly classless patrons and heaven forbid you have a bad game on dollar beer night) and the fans pay good money to enjoy the game. For those of you who know college baseball, there is a group of guys at Texas Tech called the Tech Hecklers. These guys have a passion for the game, do their homework, and are very tasteful, original, and funny with their taunts. I really enjoy going to a game and hearing them go to town on some of the kids playing against Tech. Milton Bradley should be able to handle himself with these fans and if not, perhaps that is a weakness in his character that devalues him as a player. As a fan, I want to see my team win against an opponent almost at any cause.
That brings me to the other side of my dilemma.
I would never go to the extent of wishing a player to be injured or hurt so that my team would win a ballgame. This is a game, players have lives outside of it, and I would never want bodily harm to happen to them. Although injuries are part of the game, rooting for an opposing player to hurt themselves is flat out wrong and unsportsmanlike. In the case of Milton Bradley, should there be boundaries for the fans on taunting him? The reason he would fail on the field is because he can become unhinged and mentally unstable after numerous bad performances. The two strike out night against the Rangers is proof of how failure gets to him. Should fans attempt to get into his head at all costs so he can become unstable and be a hindrance to his team? Should he be handled differently because he is having "personal issues" that seem to be very serious?
This is really meant more as a discussion than to really make a point or convey my stance. I truely want to know what others think about this. Plus I really want to start moving Ranger100 post down and out of the FanPost section.