Sunday, February 26, 2012

Staying on the Colby Rasmus Bandwagon

The St. Louis Cardinals are in many ways the perfect organization. The team has great fans, great baseball writers and a very long tradition. The Cardinals have had great success over the years and it's extremely hard to find fault with a team that just won another World Series title for one of the best cities in America. But in many ways, it's all that tradition and richness of history that ran against Colby Rasmus in his tenure there. Rasmus came down on the wrong side of the bandwagon.

When a city's love affair with a baseball team is that rosy, how can a player who falls into a bad light survive? How can that player do anything right once he goes afoul of all of that? He can't. But as written here, here and originally here, this outsider has long supported Rasmus. Heck, somebody has to. Along with the support of the player comes the acknowledgement that without having first hand access to the inner workings of the Cardinals, there is no way of stating matter-of-factly who was at fault in the fall from grace of Colby Rasmus in St. Louis.

This, of course, runs right in the face of the opinion of the many friends that have been made with those who write in support of the Cardinals. Colby Rasmus was the problem they all believe. And it's not just the writers and bloggers of the team that we're fighting here. There is also the Cardinal fans who populate Twitter who were mostly vicious in any tweets made that included Rasmus in contrast to the tremendous run the Cardinals made to get into the playoffs in 2011 and the serendipitous post season that followed. Colby Rasmus was ridiculed and lambasted with joy during that run. Why exactly?

Okay, it's easy to side with Tony La Russa and the Cardinals in that Colby Rasmus himself was the problem (followed closely by his dad). La Russa is one of the most successful managers in history. He's a sure-fire Hall of Fame kind of manager. And La Russa was an institution in St. Louis. But there are two things that are odd about saying that. First, everyone knows that other players have run afoul of La Russa. There was Ozzie Smith and Scott Rolen. How could anyone think that La Russa could not possibly have any blame in the Rasmus fiasco? Secondly, La Russa was not universally loved by the writers and fans of the Cardinals. So why then do all give Rasmus the villain hat? It is hard to understand.

Those who banged on Rasmus had plenty of fodder when the player went to the Blue Jays and bombed there for the remainder of 2011. See? Rasmus is a bum, right? But what if he wasn't? What if there is some fault in how he was treated in St. Louis? Can we at least entertain the possibility? John Lott of the National Post reported on a long press session Rasmus had yesterday. If you had to go by just the comments by Cardinal fans on Twitter yesterday, Rasmus blasted the Cardinals in his press session. After re-reading Lott's report over a few times, how do you make that conclusion? All this observer can see is a guy who lost his joy while playing for the Cardinals and wants to get it back.

After reading his words and his praise for Jose Bautista, is this observer the only one who could read between the lines and tell he didn't feel the same way about Albert Pujols? Can't anyone else see the angst in that Rasmus never felt comfortable playing for La Russa or was never given the belief that he belonged? From this vantage point, it's impossible to get past the fact that Colby Rasmus was given nothing but praise for his make up as a person before he was a Cardinal. Scouts loved him as a person and felt that his make up was one of his strengths. How did Rasmus go from those opinions to the opinions now openly expressed by people who support the Cardinals?

All this writer wants is for people to at least entertain the possibility that what happened in St. Louis with Colby Rasmus was not entirely the player's fault. That's all. There is the general belief here that there are always two sides of a story. Sure, there is a possibility that Colby Rasmus was the problem. But there is just as much of a possibility that he wasn't entirely. Can't we at least agree on that since none of us really knows?

It is hoped here that Colby Rasmus finds that joy again in playing baseball in Toronto and that he can fulfill his potential. Success is always much more fun to trumpet than failure. At least it is in this house.


Anonymous said...

First, Rasmus=shitty CF, how many times did he strike out w/ a guy on 2nd and nobody out, he couldn't even hit a groundball to the right side. Second, La Russa= greatest manager of his generation, so what if he clashed w/ some players, if you don't like the way he manages get the hell out of his way. The guy brought two titles to STL. Third, STL doesn't win the title without getting rid of that fucking idiot 240 hitter who couldn't play defense. Even if Rasmus goes on to have a hall of fame career, STL still got a WS from dumping him. and finally, getting two rentals and scrabble is going t turn out to be an adequate return b/c Rasmus will go on to have a meaningless career and scrabble will be a 4th starter with a sub 4 era. How can you side w/ rasmus, his piss poor attitude is what got him in that situation, it wasn't anyone's fault but his own!! So don't write bullshit about how it wasn't his fault, piss poor article

William Tasker - Caribou, ME said...

Well, Anon, thanks firstly for your wonderful language for my readers to experience. Secondly, it is never said that it wasn't Rasmus' fault. Only that we should entertain all possibilities. Fortunately, I know many St. Louis Cardinal fans very well and you don't represent the class that most of them do. Thanks, though for the comment and for reading the terrible piece.

Anonymous said...

I didn't really "like" TLR either, but Colby was a different story. Every time he opens his mouth it seems more obvious that his immature and "poor me" attitude made it 100 times worse. He seems emotionally unstable and childish in many ways. For instance, how everyone is talking about how he wants to be positive this year, and yet half of his comments he made the other day were negative, "all their fault" comments towards the Cardinals. Also, he mentioned being much younger than the rest of the team in STL. Really? Jon Jay? Descalso? Motte? Greene? Freese? Some the same age, some younger, and many within a 2 year age difference. Maybe he felt like a "puppy learning new tricks" because he's never had someone tell him he could work on something (besides his dad of course.) ...AND the lovely comment about him saying how he tells his dad not to be so negative with him but it helps him to stay positive. Is this seriously a major league ball player who just made a comment about how it hurts his feelings when his dad says negative things about his playing??? One more thing....Colby had the love and adoration of fans for a long time-just look at his time playing for the Springfield Cardinals-believe me, Cardinal Nation wanted to love him, but he made it nearly impossible with his attitude and declining performance. He is a 25 yr old man who needs to grow up and stop pointing fingers at St. Louis for being so cruel to him...could you imagine if he would have been playing for a team like the Yankees or Red Sox...those fans don't mess around with players with his kind of attitude. ANYWAY, I did like your article. I do think TLR would have been awful to play for, and he made it difficult for many players. In this unique case though, the blame leans towards Colby. Let's hope he can move on and stop blaming everyone for hurting his feelings!!!

William Tasker - Caribou, ME said...

Thanks (different) Anon. All fair points in the discussion.

Bill Miller said...

I agree with you, William, that Rasmus has to be given a fair shot, and that there are two sides to every story. LaRussa was no genius. How about that phone call to the bullpen he messed up in the playoffs. LaRussa was overrated; he micro-managed his team too much, and never let them just play. Don't forget that he also clashed with Pujols as well.
LaRussa used a four-man OF rotation back in the '90's, playing Jordan, Whiten, Lankford and Gilkey, usually sitting one of them just as they would get hot. He did the same with Rasmus. Whenever Rasmus would put together a hot streak, suddenly he would be on the bench for 3-4 games in a row.
My hunch is that Rasmus will turn into the next J.D. Drew, not a star, but not a bad player, either.
Nice post,

Anonymous said...

Where I work if you screw up you can be sure you hear about it very quickly. They don't really worry about our feelings. Get paid to do a job, need to do it. Money aside you would think a major leaguer would know what to do with a ball that was hit to him. One thing the Cardinals did wrong was NOT sending him down. Supposedly concerned about how he and his father would react. He might end up being an decent player but he needs to put in the work. Did wonder about his comment about believing he will get a WS ring when he sees it. Typical, they don't like me.

Thomas Slocum said...

Hadn't really given the Rasmus, LaRussa feud much thought even when it was in the news. The way I understood it, things between Colby and the Cards became strained when, after a fine sophomore season in 2010 and an even better opening month in 2011, Colby began to hit the offensive skids in June of that year (his May was OK) and annoyed the Cardinals by turning to dear old dad while ignoring those paid by the Cardinals to fix such things. If that's the case, I'd have to put most, if not all, the blame on Mr. Rasmus the Elder. His instruction, and Colby's natural talent, had indeed combined to make Rasmus the Younger a first round draft choice, a fulltime major leaguer by the age of 22, and an emerging star at 23. But growth beyond that takes the ability to make adjustments and a willingness to listen to those who have been there. Don't know where the father/son thing stood once the Blue Jay trade occurred but getting out of St Louis was certainly no cure for what ailed Colby. And what's this about a veiled reference to Albert Pujols not being a mentor? Since when has any rookie expected, or had the right to expect, that it was the job of a major league superstar to see to his (the rook's) care and feeding? Get over the sense of entitlement, Colby, and get on with acting like a major leaguer - your team needs you.