"I'm always the story, whether I hit .500 or hit .100," Bradley said. "Somehow, someway, everything revolves back to me. I guess I'm kind of a big deal or something. People like talking about Milton Bradley. Not to my face, always behind my back."
Bradley went 0-for-5 and heard a smattering of boos after making the final out in the Cubs' 5-4 loss to the Washington Nationals, but his lengthy postgame session with reporters had little to do with the game.
On Tuesday, the right fielder said he has faced "hatred" this season, his first with the Cubs. On Wednesday, he said he "prays" games only go nine innings so he can get home quickly. Fans have booed him at times, although Bradley has played much better at Wrigley Field than on the road. Asked to clarify if the fan reaction toward him has a racial element, Bradley said you need to walk in his shoes.
"Stand out in right field one day and maybe you'll see," he said. "Put on my Jordans one day and maybe you'll see. Walk around and see life through my eyes, but you can't do that."
General manager Jim Hendry did talk to Bradley before Thursday's game about dealing with the crowd. Manager Lou Piniella and his staff have also spoken with the outfielder, who had an exchange of words with some fans in San Diego last week.
Bradley said he's misunderstood.
"I just go out there and try to give an honest answer, and I don't know why people can't respect that or respect how I feel," Bradley said. "You can't say that a person's feelings are wrong. That's one thing you can't do. Unless you get paid $30 million to play right field for the Chicago Cubs, then you can't speak on how I feel, because you don't know."
Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee has talked to Bradley, too.
"Unfortunately, there are ignorant people out there," Lee said. "Like I've told Milton, the best thing to do is let it go, because it's not indicative of his character, it's indicative of their character. Let them be foolish and ignorant, and it shouldn't bother us."
Lee has been with the Cubs since 2004 and said he has heard "a little bit" of racism at Wrigley, although not directed at him. Bradley said that Cubs fans, in general, have been "awesome," but added, "One rotten apple can spoil the whole bunch."
No one can be harsher on Bradley than he is on himself, especially during a season he called "disappointing."
"You just keep fighting," Bradley said. "I don't have a thesaurus to look up the words to write a great story like [reporters] might be able to do or write an article. I've just got a bat in my hand and a will and determination to win, and I take that out there every day. Hopefully it shows. Hopefully somebody can recognize that."
Bradley said his goal is to win a World Series with the Cubs.
"Ain't nothing I'd rather do, if I could do anything," he said. "One, I might cure the lupus my aunt has or give my aunt who got both her legs cut off because of diabetes, I might give her legs back. No. 3 on my list would be win a championship in this city so these people can have what they deserve, the good people. The bad people can jump on the bandwagon when the time comes."
One thing Bradley won't do is stop being himself. He does not regret his straight talk.
"I'm 31 years old," Bradley said. "I've gotten to this point. I'm not going to stop being me. Koyie Hill told me if I ever change, he'd kick my [backside], and I ain't trying to get a foot in my behind."
Andrew Simon is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less