Judge to Roger Clemens: zip it

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Well, I haven’t seen the order from the judge, but I assume that, seeing it was going to Clemens, it had to contain short, easily readable words. “Zip it” seems to fit the bill:

A federal judge is not happy that baseball’s Roger Clemens talked to the media about his upcoming perjury trial.

U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton reminded Clemens on Monday that he does not want the case tried in the media. He ordered all parties in the case to review his order last August prohibiting public comments that could prejudice potential jurors.

Clemens told ESPN Radio last week that he’s eager to defend himself and refuses to hang his head.

Jeez, tough judge. How a nothing little statement like the one Clemens made rises to a level of threatening a gag order is beyond me, but I suppose the judge is just trying to protect Clemens. I mean, if history shows us anything, when he starts talking, the person most likely to be harmed is himself.

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.