Chicago PD planning to talk with Starlin Castro this weekend about sexual assault allegations

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Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro will be in Chicago this weekend for the first time since the end of the 2011 season. It will also be his first time back in the city since he allegedly committed sexual assault against a woman at his downtown apartment.

So, in between appearances at the Cubs’ annual fan convention, he’s going to have a chat with police.

No charges have been filed by Castro’s accuser and the 21-year-old shortstop’s representatives have denied the allegations. The Cubs, meanwhile, seem to be taking a wait-and-see approach. Here’s new manager Dale Sveum, who spoke Wednesday with Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com:

“I don’t know all the details of all of it. Right now, it’s what it is, and I think it’s being taken care of in the (proper) avenues, but I don’t think it’s going to affect him at all. The one thing is that these are grown men. I’ve raised children, and sometimes you do have to treat players like they are your children. Sometimes guys get misled and they don’t know (how) to handle the off-field activities, so to speak, especially when you’re in a big city like Chicago.”

Castro batted .307/.341/.432 with 10 home runs, 66 RBI and 22 stolen bases in 158 games last year for the Cubs. He also became the youngest player in franchise history to amass more than 200 hits in a season.

Mike Piazza presided over the destruction of a 100-year-old soccer team

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Mike Piazza was elected to the Hall of Fame in January of 2016 and inducted in July of 2016. In between those dates he purchased an Italian soccer team, A.C. Reggiana 1919, a member of Italy’s third division. In June of that year he was greeted as a savior in Reggio Emilia, the small Italian town in which the team played. He was the big American sports star who was going to restore the venerable club to its past and rightful place of glory.

There were suggestions by last March that things weren’t going well, but know we know that in less than two years it all fell apart. Piazza and his wife Alicia presided over a hot mess of a business, losing millions of dollars and, this past June, they abruptly liquidated the club. It is now defunct — one year short of its centennial — and a semipro team is playing in its place, trying to acquire the naming rights from Piazza as it wends its way though bankruptcy.

Today at The Athletic, Robert Andrew Powell has a fascinating — no, make that outrageously entertaining — story of how that all went down from the perspective of the Piazzas. Mostly Alicia Piazza who ran the team in its second year when Mike realized he was in over his head. She is . . . something. Her quotes alone are worth the price of admission. For example:

Alicia, who refers to Mike’s ownership dream as “his midlife crisis,” offered up a counter argument.

“Who the f**k ever heard of Reggio Emilia?” she asked. “It’s not Venice. It’s not Rome. My girlfriend said, and you can quote this—and this really depressed me. She said, ‘Honey, you bought into Pittsburgh.’ Like, it wasn’t the New York Yankees. It wasn’t the Mets. It wasn’t the Dodgers. You bought Pittsburgh!”

In their Miami living room, Mike tried to interject but she stopped him.

“And imagine what that feels like, after spending 10 million euros. You bought Pittsburgh!”

At this point it may be worth remembering that Piazza is from Pennsylvania. Eastern Pennsylvania to be sure, but still.

Shockingly, it didn’t end all that well for the Piazzas in Reggio Emilia:

One week later, the Piazzas returned to Reggio Emilia, and were spotted at the team offices. More than a hundred ultras marched into the office parking lot, chanting and demanding answers. Carabinieri—national police aligned with the military—showed up for the Piazzas’ safety. The police advised the Americans to avoid the front door of the complex and exit through the back. Mike assured them it wouldn’t be necessary—he had always enjoyed a good relationship with the fans.

The carabinieri informed him that the relationship had changed. The Piazzas slipped out the back door, under police escort.

The must-read of the week. Maybe the month. Hell, maybe the year. The only thing I can imagine topping it is if someone can tell this story from the perspective of the people in Reggio Emilia. I’m guessing their take is a bit different than the Piazzas.