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.