And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Red Sox 9, Athletics 6: Just yesterday Mike Napoli was named player of the week for last week. He’s making a bid for a repeat now, hitting a grand slam and driving in five runs here. Overall he has 25 RBI in 19 games.

Orioles 2, Blue Jays 1: Chris Tillman had a one hitter into the seventh. Nick Markakis walked it off with an RBI single which was made possible by Aaron Loup hitting a guy and then Munenori Kawasaki throwing the ball away on what should have been out number three.

Cardinals 3, Nationals 2: Practically the whole AP game story for this one was recapping game 5 of last year’s NLDS. Which, sure, I suppose provides a nice story and everything, but isn’t exactly insightful about today. For today know that Shelby Miller struck out eight in six and two-thirds and that while Drew Storen handled the ninth inning again, he didn’t contribute to the loss.

Rays 5, Yankees 1: Matt Moore is now 4-0 after giving up one run on two hits and fanning nine in eight innings. Two homers for Ryan Roberts.

Phillies 3, Pirates 2: Johnathan Pettibone made his MLB debut and it was a good one: two runs on six hits and striking out six in five and a third. He also reached on a walk and came around to score.

Mariners 7,  Astros 1: It’s almost unfair to make Houston face King Felix. Hernandez struck out nine in six shutout innings and, for once, got some run support in the form of homers from Kyle Seager, Justin Smoak and Jesus Montero. It was Hernandez’s 100th career win. If he got seven runs to work with more often he’d have, like, [does calculations on the back of an envelope] 3,394 wins.

Reds 5, Cubs 4: This one went 13 innings an lasted four and a half hours. I’m pretty sure there are committees within the United Nations who are working diligently to eliminate 13-inning Cubs games from the world on a human rights basis, but so far their work has been stymied by Real Politik concerns and obstructionism in the Security Council. The Cubs actually had a 4-2 lead in the 13th. Unfortunately the rules of baseball required them to try to close out the win in the ninth, where Michael Bowden coughed up three runs on four hits including a Jay Bruce RBI double.

Indians 3, White Sox 2: The White Sox are reeling, losers of ten of 13. Justin Masterson walked a few too many guys but picked up his fourth win. Two of them have come against the pale hose.

Brewers 7, Padres 1: Not exactly thrilled with my pick of the Padres as the surprising team in the NL West this year.  Ryan Braun and Yuniesky Betancourt hit homers and the Brewers won their eighth in a row. Kyle Lohse pitched well but injured his pinkie finger while batting. Commence your DH/anti-DH arguing … now.

Giants 5, Diamondbacks 4: Brandon Belt after the game: “I’m pretty lightheaded and my kidneys hurt right now.”  Uh oh! [looks at game story]. Oh, OK, it’s just because his teammates mobbed him during the walkoff celebration. Now if he’d only hit when he started.

Rangers 7, Angels 6: A.J. Pierzynski with a homer in the ninth which proved to be the winning run. Adrian Beltre hit a drive that fell just short of the wall before that. Safe to say that Ernesto Frieri wasn’t fooling anyone.

Braves vs. Rockies: POSTPONED: My eyes are blind but I can see. The snowflakes glisten on the trees. The sun no longer sets me free. I feel the snowflakes freezing me. Let the winter sun shine on. Let me feel the frost of dawn. Fill my dreams of flakes of snow. Soon I’ll feel the chilling glow.

Marlins vs. Twins: POSTPONED: There is no end to what we can do together. There is no end. The willow turns his back on inclement weather. We can do it, just me and you.

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.