The Padres beat the Blue Jays in 17 innings last night

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I’ll admit that I didn’t stay up to watch this one, but the Padres and Blue Jays played into the wee small hours of the morning in San Diego. It wasn’t until the bottom of the 17th inning that there was there a winner, as Jesus Guzman singled home Jedd Gyorko to give the Padres a 4-3 win. You can watch video of the walk-off hit here.

It was a long wait for offense in PETCO Park, as the game was tied at 3-3 after the fifth inning. Both teams used eight pitchers and there was a total of 493 pitches thrown. The Padres were forced to use Saturday’s scheduled starter Clayton Richard for the final two innings, so they are now calling up Robbie Erlin to pitch in his place later tonight.

The game took four hours and 58 minutes to complete and ended at 3:11 a.m. ET. It was the longest game for the Padres since 2009 and the longest for the Blue Jays since 2005.

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.