Milton Bradley doesn't always feel like talking to the media, which is a shame. When he speaks, his words really resonate. He talked for more than seven minutes Sunday about making the All-Star team for the first time. It's one of the most eloquent interviews I've ever been a part of. Here's what Bradley had to say.
"A few months ago, I never even imagined having this opportunity. It's about as humbling, as fulfilling, as special a feeling as you can get. For a few weeks now I've been asked the question, and I kind of just shrug it off and not really think about it. Family, friends, media, whatever. Do you think you're going to make it? Do you think you have a chance? I never imagined it happening to me. No matter what image I may portray as far as about how I feel about my play, or about myself, I've always felt like I never really fit. I never had that respect. To give me an honor like this, from your fellow peers out there, it makes you feel like you're finally respected. Somebody realizes how hard it is when you grind every day. It's a blessing to be a part of it."
On the possibility of being the starting DH: "If they'd have told me you can make the team but you've got to shine the shoes, I'd have been there shining shoes. Starting? To be in the lineup with guys like A-Rod and Jeter, you never think that. You have goals and dreams, and your wildest dreams you're on the field with A-Rod, but you never really think it's going to happen. It's going to be a magical experience. No matter what people say about me, they're going to have to put All-Star by my name for this year. It just feels good to be recognized for something."
On going to the game with his teammates, who each led the player voting at their position: "We're definitely going the right way. We've got some guys that can hit. There's no question about it. I never realized how big a stud Kinsler was until you're playing with him every day, seeing what he does every day. The warrior Mike is, playing with a broken finger, whatever it is, he goes out there and takes the field and gets it done. You know Hambone, going through everything he's gone through, going from back alleys to being a big star. I couldn't be happier for him. I never really took time to think about how I was going to feel about it. It's something else. It really means a lot. I can't find the words right now. There's nothing I could say that's going to express how I feel about it completely."
Why does it mean so much to you? "With all the injuries, with all the suspensions, with all the bad press, there was always that glimmer of positivity out there. Some people wanted to see it. Some people wanted to express that side. Some people didn't. Maybe I didn't deserve it. Maybe I still don't deserve it. The guys that you go out on the field every day and compete against saw it. Like I said, all the trash talk, all the bashing, all the injuries, all the surgery, all the rehab, all the disputes, maybe this is only time I ever get a chance. It's special to me. I'm going to soak it in and enjoy every minute."
When did manager Ron Washington tell you? "In the middle of my domino game this morning. He called me out of my domino game and told me about it. You know, I never really had any father-son moments growing up but I would imagine that getting that hug from Wash, the congratulations, would be something like one of those moments. It was nice for somebody to embrace you and feel for you and care about you. He just wanted to say congratulations. It meant a lot from Wash, a person I respect a lot, and go through the trenches for. Like I said, if it was a moment like a father-son moment, I would imagine it would be something like that. I never really had one. But in 30 years I finally had one and it's kind of special."
- Anthony Andro