Hey look: another misleading “the Mets have sold a bunch of minority shares” story!

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Once or twice a month we get a new story about how the Mets have sold several of those minority stakes they’ve been peddling for close to a year. The stories always have a bit of an optimistic “we’re almost there!” spin to them.  The latest appeared yesterday as the Newsday — and then the other New York papers — reported that the Mets have sold 7 of the 10 shares.

Except, as Howard Megdal explains, it’s all highly misleading.  Six of those seven shares are slated to go to related entities, not outside investors. The seventh is Steven Cohen, who is clearly much more interested in buying the Dodgers and is likely trying to create some goodwill buy throwing $20 million the Mets’ way.

Go read Megdal’s take on it as well as his detailing of the sheer amount of debt the Mets currently have. And ask yourself whether these stories about the Mets selling minority shares should be spun as an optimistic thing or, rather, a somewhat desperate thing.

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.