Mark Buehrle may retire after 2011

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Mark Buehrle told Mark Gonzalez of the Chicago Tribune that he could retire after the 2011 season:

“As
I sit here now, I’d love to just go home and be with the family and
kids and go from there. But when next year gets here,
at this time, it could be a tough decision, knowing this is all you’ve
known for 15 years of your life and constantly having to be somewhere,
to go somewhere. And all of a sudden you have nothing to do. It’s going
to be a tough decision.”

He’s only 31 right now, and remains a sold pitcher, averaging 223 innings a season over his 11 year career. And he’s had an above-average (below average? Shoot, let’s just call it a “better-than-average”) ERA for nine of the past ten seasons. If he wants to pitch beyond his current contract, he’ll get plenty of offers.

Either way, if he thinks like he pitches, he’ll make his decision quickly.

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.