Brandon Phillips doesn't back down; Cardinals still, presumably, "little bitches"

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Gotta admire a man for sticking to his guns.  Here’s Brandon Phillips a few minutes ago, the day after his “the Cardinals are little bitches” comments:

“I said what I said and the Cardinals can say what they said. They can
say all they want about what I said, I don’t care. I’ve said all I’ve
got to say. All I want to do is win, beat those guys and win.”

No “I was misquoted” or “that was taken out of context.”  He just owns it.  Good for him.

His teammates are basically letting it go too.  Bronson Arroyo describes it as “Brandon being Brandon,” and compares him to OchoCinco. Arroyo goes on to note that the whole “is this ammunition for the other guys” question isn’t easy to answer. After all, he says, if someone plunks Phillips over it, he’s liable to come around and score.

Dusty Baker and Walt Jocketty are also quoted and while neither of them seem all that happy about Phillips comments, their responses are more of the eyes rolling variety.  Which is probably the best response.  The only thing that makes this a bigger distraction than it already is is for the Reds to make it one.

Tommy La Stella talks about his refusal to report to the minors in 2016

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In late July of 2016, Cubs infielder Tommy La Stella was demoted to Triple-A. It wasn’t personal. It was a roster crunch situation and La Stella had options left so, despite the fact that he had been an effective player to that point of the season, it made sense to send him down.

La Stella didn’t take the demotion well. In fact he refused to report to Iowa and went home to New Jersey instead. It was not until August 17 that he finally reported and then only after prolonged discussions with the Cubs and the assurance that he’d be back in the majors once rosters opened up. Which he was, after spending just over a week down on the farm.

Such a move by a player would, normally speaking, make him persona non-grata. His teammates would shun him and the organization would, eventually, cut bait, with the press characterizing him as a me-first player as he walked out the door. That did not happen with La Stella, however, who remains with the Cubs two years later and, by all accounts, is a popular and important guy in the Cubs’ clubhouse, even if he’s not one of the team’s big stars.

Today Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic has an in-depth story about La Stella, what went down in 2016 and how he and the Cubs have proceeded since then. The story is subscription only, but the short version is that there was a lot of understanding and empathy on the part of the Cubs organization and their players about what was going on in La Stella’s head at the time and how everyone allowed everyone else the space to work through it.

I’m happy to read this story, because all too often we only hear about such incidents as they occur, with little followup. To the extent the story is told, most of the time its completely one-sided, with the player who acts out being treated like a bad seed with little if any explanation of his side of things. And, yes, there are always two sides to the story. Sometimes even more.

Kudos to Rosenthal for telling this story. Here’s hoping the next time a player is involved in a controversy that, in the moment, makes him appear to be a bad seed or have a bad attitude, we hear more about it then too.