Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Soriano to Bradley: Leave negativity in past
By Bruce Levine
Alfonso Soriano has experienced his share of negative fan reaction at Wrigley Field.
Reaction to Milton Bradley's latest comments regarding his 2009 Chicago Cubs experience was truly a mixed bag of surprise and wonderment of having to go through this again.
Outfielder Alfonso Soriano, who has had to deal with his share of booing and negative fan reaction, talked about coping with bad times at Wrigley Field.
"All the negative things you better be leaving in the past," Soriano said. "I play this game because I love it. I want people to remember me for the good things I've done in the game."
In an ESPN story on Tuesday, Bradley talked about the hate mail he received at Wrigley Field and how he had to deal with the negativity of the Cubs fan base. Soriano talked about the way he deals with problems.
"If the fans do something I try not to pay attention," Soriano said. "I have to do my job on the field."
Asked if he has ever received hate mail as a Cub, Soriano said: "I don't get any. I get asked for autographs by mail, that's it."
Soriano said he liked Bradley during their experience of playing together in 2009, but he had some advice for his former teammate.
"He's a great player, but whatever happened last year he should think a little bit more about the game and because he has the talent, I think sometimes it's his attitude," Soriano said. "So I wish good luck to him."
Soriano voiced the same opinion of some of his other teammates, who were surprised that all of this had been brought up six months after Bradley had played his last game as a Cub.
"All these negatives, just leave in the past," Soriano said. "Just work on something positive. Work on something good, play the game because you love it."
I asked soriano if hate mail was a common occurence that he has heard about in his career.
"Someone told me about [Milton's hate mail]. That's the first time I've heard about bad mail, so I'm very surprised," Soriano said.
Soriano said his experience with Bradley wasn't negative.
"He's not a bad person," Soriano said. "It's something personal with the fans, the game. But in the clubhouse I didn't see anything negative that he did. He's not a bad person, he just has some things going on in his mind."
Pitcher Ryan Dempster said he had not seen or heard Bradley's comments.
"Was it bad coffee in Seattle?" Dempster joked.
Asked if leaving things in the past is a good idea, Dempster said: "Absolutely, I try to forget the last pitch I threw. We can't control the past and tomorrow might not come, so you live in the present and enjoy the present and how wonderful it is. We get to go out and play baseball for a living in a wonderful city like Chicago with the best fans in the world and to play for such a great organization like this."
Dempster was asked how he tried to handle a Cubs crowd that grows angry.
"Play as hard as I can," Dempster said. "I think if you give 100 percent and you take pride in what you do that seems to work no matter where you are playing or who you are."
Dempster might not have seen Bradley's quotes but he certainly got the message to his former teammate.
"The fans, they pay for their ticket to come in [to the ballpark]," Dempster said. "They have every right to boo if they feel you're not giving 100 percent or not your best effort. They love their Cubs. Chicago fans are very forgiving."
Dempster was asked about his experience with hate mail.
"[Teammate] Kevin Millar has been sending me hate mail," Dempster said. "He puts a stamp on it and then hands it to me."
On a more serious note, Dempster was asked whether African-American players have problems at Wrigley Field.
"I don't know, I'm Caucasian," Dempster said. "[Derrek Lee] seems to really like it here, and I know that Marlon [Byrd] is going to have a blast here. Anytime you struggle it can be tough no matter what the color of your skin is."