Cubs SS phenom Starlin Castro faces charges of sexual assault stemming from a late September incident at his Chicago apartment.  With a Sunday column headlined, “Time For Castro To Grow Up”, the Tribune’s David Hough warns, “to ever be Chicago’s Derek Jeter, it requires the smarts and savvy the Yankees superstar has exercised to avoid the type of messy predicament Castro faced Friday.”  I sincerely hope that doesn’t mean Hough believes Castro should’ve handed out parting gifts.

We might never know details of what happened inside Castro’s apartment. Police have not filed charges against Castro and may never. If Castro emerges unscathed legally, he still can use this experience to underscore how a big-city stage demands bigger responsibility, how 21-year-old All-Stars must grow up quicker.

Castro can seize that maturing moment before the Cubs Convention by publicly acknowledging the need to put himself in better situations, the way some members of the Cubs organization hope he does.

The Cubs must remind players how the trappings of being a pro athlete mingle with the expectations of the family-friendly organization they represent, 24/7. Reinforce the idea that nothing good happens at 3 a.m. The Cubs can’t maintain credibility by making player decisions based on character only part of the time.

I don’t mean to take a cavalier stance on what might be a serious criminal act on Castro’s part, but LOTS of good things happen after 3am.  For instance, consensual sex between adults. Along with the possibility he’s completely innocent, it’s kind of screwy to suggest there’s a correlation between being a date rapist and the sort of between-the-lines immaturity Castro’s already earned a reputation for.  If Castro is guilty of sexual assault, no mere mea culpa at the Fan Caravan ought to be enough to make things right.  If, however, he’s simply doing what Derek Jeter and countless other persons are doing in the privacy of their own homes during the early morning, who is David Hough to say he’s not acting like an adult?