Until Crazy Uncle Milton says his official goodbye, this will be the final time The Big Dead Sidebar writes about Milton Bradley.
I have defended Bradley, the baseball player, throughout this season. Honestly, if his name was not associated with a board game, Cubs fans would have been thrilled to add a guy who led the American League in OPS. However, there was no defending Milton Bradley, the person.
But this isn't about that. No. The upcoming post is about something bigger than that. Bigger than that, you ask? Follow me after the jump.
The buried lead in the entire Milton Bradley fiasco is the fact that it all came about thanks to the damn good reporting of the Daily Herald's Bruce Miles. For those of you keeping score at home, Bruce Miles is the Cubs beat writer for the Daily Herald, located in Arlington Heights, Ill., a suburb of Chicago. So, take note that the byline that started it all did not appear in the Chicago Tribune or Chicago Sun-Times.
(I'm not saying Paul Sullivan couldn't have done it, but MB was going Drew Rosenhaus on his ass during interviews. Gordon Wittenmyer is a joke, and I'm assuming CST employs him as it bides its time 'til yours truly returns home. I digress.)
Why is this a big deal? It's a big deal because like most newspapers in the country, the Daily Herald is having its own money issues. To help offset costs, it has stopped sending its beat writers on road trips. As noted by Andy Dolan of Desipio, this is a terrible disservice to the newspaper and the people that read the newspaper -- also known as the people that newspapers once catered to.
At the tender age of 23, I learned that valuable lesson at my old college newspaper stomping grounds. Our sports desk was slashed in half to three. As the staff shrunk, so did the column inches. Eventually, so did the travel budget. In fact, our bi-weekly paychecks served as the travel budget as the staff traveled to more Midwestern college towns than College Drunkfest.
It's true, sending a beat writer can be quite an expense, but in my humble opinion, it was the price worth paying to get the entire story. Not just what we could see on television or hear on the radio. Trust me, it's hard to get a scoop when you're sitting in a newsroom or somewhere on campus when the real action is hundreds of miles away
The dateline in The Story shows that Miles found a way down I-55 to get to El Casa De Albert to get the story that helped bring down the Bradley Era. Miles should probably get something equivalent to a medal of honor from the baseball scribes of America. And if he traveled to St. Louis on his own time, he should get two. Think about it like this, had Miles not been on that trip, would this have happened? Dealing Bradley -- definitely would have happened. But not in this nut-busting fashion.
It's the crash and burn ending many fans wanted Bradley to have from the get-go. And to think, it would not have happened if Bruce Miles had not taken one fateful trip to St. Louis.
Here's to you Bruce. Despite the efforts of colleagues such as Jay Mariotti, Rick Morrissey and Phil Rogers, your extraordinary effort shows why good sports journalism will not die.