Tuesday, August 09, 2016

The LaStella Saga

Things are going well for my Cubs this year. Very well. Right now, my heroes in blue are 30 games over .500. What a delightful but stunning turn of events for this ol' Gal, who has cheered them through seasons when merely reaching .500 seemed a worthy goal.

There is, however, something very weird going on that I want to read into the bloggy record, since I think in a few years it may be an interesting footnote in team history.

As in, "Whatever happened to Tommy La Stella?"

Tommy hasn't often started during this magical season, but he has contributed to the team's success. He's a dependable left hander, a good utility player and pinch hitter who was hitting .295.

But in late July, the Cubs had to send him down to the minors. It was merely a roster move, it happens all the time. The Cubs feel La Stella has enough talent and value to keep him in the organization, but for a variety of reasons just don't have room for him on their standard 25-player roster. But in September, when the play-offs start, the roster expands to 40 players. Obviously the Cubs want La Stella sharp and ready to join the team for the race to The World Series.

Tommy is 27 years old. Not a star, but someone who enjoys the cheers of more than 40,000 Wrigley Field faithful every time he steps to the plate. And he is a fan favorite because when he gets off the bench, he produces. He is on the cusp of being on the team when they make history. All he has to do is show up and play for a few weeks with the Cubs minor league team in Iowa.

So what does Tommy do? He goes home to New Jersey!

He's not injured. He has no sick relative to tend to. His house in New Jersey didn't burn down or anything. He just doesn't want to play in the minors ever again.

He's not talking to the Chicago press, but when ESPN reached him, he said he might retire.

This sounds batty to me, and I'm not alone. The Cubs have made the team psychiatrist available to him. The manager, wonderful Joe Maddon, has been remarkably measured in his public statements on the matter. Obviously the Cubs hold all the cards in this situation. La Stella is clearly in violation of his contract. We have so many good, young players in the minors we could just trade for a tried and tested major league leftie when the time comes to expand the roster.

I admire the Cubs' restraint and compassion in this matter. However it's resolved, La Stella will know his bosses gave him the time and space to decide what he wants to do with his life and career.

1 comment:

  1. I don't speak baseball....but Joe does, so this will give me something to ask him about...


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