I’m near Akron right now, which, yay, and it struck me once again that the exit I had to take to get where I was going listed Lodi as another possible destination. While it’s not the same NorCal town about which John Fogerty sang a lament all those years ago, I can help but feel somewhat the same when I come up here. Alas, I will be leaving soon, though not on my feet or the next train.
In any case, I had all these thoughts banging around in my head and I don’t have time to properly flesh them out. Most of them probably don’t require much pontification even if I had the time. So I’m going to share them briefly here and maybe you can talk amongst yourselves or @ me or whatever.
Tommy La Stella doesn’t need to talk…yet
There was a bit of a flap when it was reported yesterday that Tommy La Stella isn’t talking to the media in Iowa. He didn’t talk in Tennessee either, but folks like Tommy Birch keep more of a conduit, an open dialogue, with Cubs fans. That’s not a knock on the folks covering the Smokies, just a fact of the matter.
La Stella isn’t really doing his image any favors by remaining silent, but I get why he’s doing what he’s doing. I believe, however, his stance would be appreciated a little more if he couched it in a different manner. We know from what Joe Maddon’s said that TLS will have to smooth things over or explain himself to his teammates, which makes sense.
Had the recalcitrant player come out and said that he’d speak with the media after he’d cleared the air in the Cubs clubhouse or that he wanted to share his message personally before doing so to another reporter, I believe this whole thing plays better. Not that it really matters how fans are taking it, I just think that would ease the pressure — which may just be something I perceive and not something that bothers La Stella at all — of his return.
One last thought: whether he eventually speaks to the media or not, we’ll still probably never know what truly motivated La Stella to abscond to New Jersey. I don’t believe the truth is binary in this matter, nor do I believe any of us has the right to understand the nuance involved. I feel reasonable safe in my belief that several threads of what I’ve assumed and heard have been woven together in a narrative tapestry even Carole King would appreciate.
Addison Russell is very good
In 34 games since the All-Star Break, the Cubs shortstop is slashing .279/.350/.516 with 7 home runs and 29 RBI. His full season numbers display marked improvement over his rookie marks and he’s already at 3.3 fWAR through 117 games (3.0 in 142 games last season). His 2nd-inning dinger game gave him 18 on the season and his 3rd-inning sac fly pushed his RBI total to 80, which leads all NL shortstops. Oh, he’s decent with the glove too. Pretty crazy that he’s not even the best sophomore on the team.
Kris Bryant is very, very good
There’s really not much else I can say at this point, but this guy’s the clear MVP in my mind.
Can J-Hey find his way?
Sitting Jason Heyward was nothing like sitting Starlin Castro and hitting a home run proves nothing in terms of a turn-around. I’ve thought on several occasions that we were about to see a recovery from the big right fielder, but he’s remained firmly mired in a season-long slump. I remain hopeful that this latest sign of life does indeed signal a breakout. We’ll have to wait and see.
Javy Baez is so fun to watch
With all due respect to Messrs. Bryant and Russell, Javy Baez is appointment viewing. Every game he does something that forces your breath to catch in your throat or has you rewinding the DVR or just flat-out wondering if you really saw what you just saw. Like when he tagged Travis Jankowski in the face. So, so, so much fun.
Anthony Rizzo: also good
With another ho-hum 4-for-5 night, Rizzo is now batting .301. Whatever, I guess he’s okay.
Catch you on the flip-side, folks.