A Cubs spokesman bluffs about the team possibly leaving Wrigley Field

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As far as bluffs go, this one would have seemed laughable not too long ago, but then the Braves just up and decided to leave their relatively new ballpark for the suburbs so I suppose anything can happen. But still, this seems like a pretty weak bluff.  Via the Chicago Tribune’s story about the inpasse the Cubs and the rooftop owners have reached regarding view-blocking signage and scoreboards:

In a separate interview on WSCR-AM,  Cubs spokesman Julian Green said the possibility of leaving Wrigley Field remains, though the Ricketts family wants to win a World Series at Wrigley Field.

“How far do you go before you say ‘You know what? We tried and we tried to make the good effort, but it didn’t work out?’” Green said. “I won’t speak on behalf of the family, but I’m sure this is weighing heavily on them because they want to move forward on this.”

A lot farther than this, that’s how far you go. According to the article the Cubs get $3-4 million a year in revenue from the rooftop owners and are looking to get $15-20 million a year from ads on billboards and scoreboards that would block their view. So I guess you see how much money they have to play with to buy out their increasingly estranged business partners across the street.

Or I guess they can see if there are suckers in Schaumburg like the ones the Braves found in Cobb County.

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.