Shi Davidi of Rogers Sportsnet, and the rest of his beat reporting compadres, have been speaking with Toronto Blue Jays center fielder Colby Rasmus this morning about his time in St. Louis. We’ve heard before about the levels of animosity between Rasmus and some of the more seasoned members of the baseball club, including manager Tony La Russa, but most of it was based on rumours or comments left by Colby’s father on internet message boards.

Rasmus, as might be expected, is looking forward to the fresh start of a new season with a club that isn’t based in Missouri:

It won’t be like St. Louis where I’m just the young little puppy and everybody wants to teach me the tricks and beat me down and tell me that I’m doing things wrong.

That comment is one of rather hilarious timing considering what television analyst Gregg Zaun had to say about Rasmus yesterday on local radio in Toronto:

For me when a guy doesn’t run balls out, that speaks volumes about character, and I know that if I was on that team I wouldn’t have stood for it.

Obviously a guy like Jose Bautista, any of the other veteran guys on that team, shouldn’t be sitting around on their thumbs worried about stepping on anybody’s toes– especially a guy as young as Colby Rasmus. Make him run the ball out. Let him know that it’s not going to be tolerated– you’re going to play the game hard, you’re going to play it the right way, or you’re not going to play.

Great call, Zauner. I imagine it must be quite difficult for people like the former Major League catcher, believing in absolute methods despite living in a world where individuals respond to different types of motivation.

Rasmus also spent some talking about the media in St. Louis:

They’ll take you for everything you can get. I didn’t play good and like blood in the water, they came after me. But it’s all good, I’m here today ready to play.

And on Tony La Russa:

I never felt good in St. Louis. I never got comfortable, and Tony wanted it that way. He always said he didn’t want me to get comfortable, he wanted me to always stay working hard and doing this and doing that.

Of course, this is somewhat reminiscent of Tony La Russa’s comments from Three Nights In August about another young outfielder at the time, who managed to have a pretty fine career in Major League Baseball.

A lot of young players fall into the trap where it’s uncomfortable to push yourself on a daily basis. They settle for some percent under their max.

La Russa was speaking about J.D. Drew at the time, criticizing him for what appeared to the manager to be a lack of effort.

For what it’s worth, I’ll take reliable offensive and defensive production over a perceived lack of effort every day of the week and twice on Sunday. If Rasmus can get back to his 2010 numbers, I don’t think anyone will care if it looks as though he’s hustling or not.

Comments (40)

  1. I remember in my baseball days when guys used to hustle to first on a hard hit ball to 2B.

    http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lzpudzD8qr1qbnggp.jpg

    • I hustle for them all. Lets be honest. Who is out there playing with Gold Glove two baggers? If it bounces off the glove 1 time out ot 10, I’ve improved my OBP by 100 points.

      • J. Paquin is right. Hustle for them all.

        It pisses me off when some guys don’t touch first base at all. Put in some work and put some pressure on the defence.

        • And keep risking injury and stamina on every play.

          • Injuries I agree with you Parkes.

            But stamina? Seriously? If it’s the pitcher then yeah I would agree with you. But stamina is a laughable reason.

          • these are pro athletes. stamina should not be an issue, and if it is, there’s a wonderful place called a gym to solve problems like that.

          • What I mean regarding its toll on stamina isn’t about a single game, but doing it over the course of a 162 game season.

          • This is baseball we’re talking about. Run that 90 feet out.

          • If they’re too fragile to run 90 feet, get the fuck out of professional sports. Seriously, Dustin, that’s the dumbest thing you’ve ever written by a country mile.

            What’s next – don’t crowd the plate because you might get hit and injured?

          • right but its the same thing. if your not in good enough shape to run groundballs out for a full season, then get in better shape. its the same response we give to the adam lind excuse makers re: his sore back

          • I see Parkes point. You have to remember that running to first base can often follow prolonged periods of inactivity. This is when you are MOST likely to get injured. Look at the injury stats for baseball compared to football. They are similar, and one of those sports is considered far rougher.

            Still…I hustle every play. I’m willing to sacrifice my body to win.

          • are you implying guys shouldn’t bust it hard to the bag every time up??? even if there is a 0% chance of beating the ball to the bag you still run it out. its a culture. did you ever play baseball dustin? me no think so.

          • 1 last thing…the problem with that logic is if easing up to save yourself becomes common place and acceptable then it gets the preverbial ball rolling. do you want to have to distinguish between not busting out a grounder to first and a pitcher not backing up 3rd late in a blowout game? or a guy who doesn’t go 1st to 3rd because…hey he’s been on base 4x today and he’s fatigued. wtf is that?

            you never assume the play will be made. because the half dozen times a year where you bust it down the line and the 1st baseman bobbles the throw or the 2nd baseman double clutches and your safe by a pussy hair…thats what the game is about. would have been pretty easy for Robbie Alomar to give up on that ball he caught behind 1st in the WS way back when…but he went HARD. something tells me you would have quit on it the second the ball came off the bat. i hate to be harsh but damn your writing about something you don’t know very much about here.

          • What’s with you and risk aversion? Jays shouldn’t spend, too risky; might waste money. Baseball players shouldn’t try, too risky; might get hurt…you’re a pussy.

          • Hahaha stamina. Parkes, you have played baseball before right?

        • Hustle is great. Colby, just don’t hustle as hard as Jason Kendall and Moises Alou. Kthxbye.

      • There are Adam Lind excuse makers?

  2. I think that it is time that people stop asking Colby about St. Louis and TLR. It is long past time to move on from all of that.

  3. I heard that Zaun comment and it came across as immature and really annoying. Rasmus hasn’t done anything (yet) for us to make a judgement on his character.

    If any thing, Kelly Johnson is much worse than Rasmus on this issue.

  4. Intangibles! coaching! mental issues!

    there’s a metric for that!

  5. i can kinda see where la russa is coming from with the stuff about constantly pushing yourself and trying to improve, but at the same time if guys arent comfortable, they arent going to perform. young players especially should be given a chance to get their sea legs before being berated on how they can improve.

    • I don’t think there’s one solution to motivate every baseball player. Suggesting intangible things based on one’s own limited observations should always be questioned.

      • of course, and thats why guys like la russa (among tons of other coaches) rub some players the wrong way and yet have great success with others. definitely not an exact science.

      • ahh, you’re obviously from that generation that believes in being treated like the special little guy that you are. Explains a lot.
        In the real world of men-getting-shit-done, you do it right or you get out of the way and let someone who will do it get to it.
        World Series Champs mean anything to you?
        Here’s some motivation for you, if you want a ring; do it the way we tell you to. If you want to go play out your career in the secondary markets of baseball, keep acting like the superstar that mommy and daddy say you are.
        Rasmus is a nobody and does nothing when standing in a room with LaRussa, Carpenter and Pujols.
        People like you are why the West will be run by and from China in 50 years.
        Stupid frikkin kids don’t know shit about anything.

        • Of course we all know there’s only one way to ‘do it right’. If you don’t follow the universally understood path, you can never achieve success.

          “Rasmus is a nobody and does nothing when standing in a room with LaRussa, Carpenter and Pujols.” – Making shit up does not help an argument.

          • I wasn’t making anything up, I just mangled a sentence. Point is, Rasmus is quoted stating “It won’t be like St. Louis where I’m just the young little puppy and everybody wants to teach me the tricks and beat me down and tell me that I’m doing things wrong.” on a team that includes, Pujols, Carpenter, LaRussa and a whole bunch of other guys who Rasmus can’t yet hold a candle to.
            “Everybody” includes everyone which by definition excludes nobody.
            And it’s not that there’s only one way to do things, unless of course you are on a “team” where the HOF coach and HOF players are telling you that there is, in fact; only one way to do it in which case-there’s only one way to do it. So do it and quit your bloodclot cryin.
            That’s a man’s law, look it up pussy.

  6. the fact is rasmus and snider had their best seasons under so called “tyrants” and when they were put in cream puff environments they totally sucked.

    • Your facts look funny…
      - Rasmus “totally sucked” under the tyrant too.
      - Snider hasn’t had a good season yet

    • Also… if you ever meet John Farrell can you promise me you’ll call him a “cream puff”?

  7. Rasmus is from the deep south. Many Americans have perjorative misconceptions about southerners. One is that they are lazy and too laid-back. Whether this is the case for Rasmus, I cannot say as we didn’t get to see much of him last season. LaRussa is a know-it-all, old-school, no BS type of manager. I think the problems between LaRussa and Rasmus is rooted more in a generation and culture clash than anything else.

    Playing in a market like St. Louis, where baseball is THE sport, Rasmus must have felt like a fish out of water at times and the media played upon that.

    Fact is, he is a very talented player who is going to improve the CF defence significantly. I am the pitching staff is going to be happy to see Rasmus patrolling the outfield. How many times did we see botched plays in the outfield that led to multiple runs last season? (and in many times, the botched plays were poor routes to balls that led to earned runs against the pitching staff).

    We shouldn’t expect all-star offensive numbers from Rasmus. But we should see some decent production from a 25 year old center-fielder who is going to bring a quality glove.

    Regarding the negative comments from Zaun (who is sounding more like Don Cherry these days), it reminds me of the time when said Don Cherry used to critical of Mario Lemieux, cause he wasn’t skating hard enough and liked to ‘float’ around the ice. Fact is, Lemieux was flying out there. He just had this languid skating motion that appeared like he wasn’t trying. Rasmus has a similar physical trait when he is running. It looks like he isn’t hustling when in fact he is moving pretty fast due to his fluid strides.

    Those are my initial observations. Hopefully, Rasmus will feel more at home starting the year with the Blue Jays from day one. He certainly has the potential to be a star. Let’s see how this works out.

  8. Zaun should know better. He began to hit like a starter when he relaxed at the plate and smoothed out his swing. Guys like A-rod and Canoe look like they aren’t even trying offensively and defensively. It’s one of the reasons they are great players. Baseball motions are about sequence and mechanics as much as about power. When Lincecum and Pedro came up they weighed 150 pounds and threw 95mph. Fluid muscles are quick muscles. Zaun is an idiot.

  9. Livin’ in a dream world ’cause it has no chance of happening, but the best thing we could do for Rasmas is say, “Colby, go out and play. Have fun and we’ll talk to you at the All Star Break. As rdillon said above, it is time to put the past in the past and move on. The less he talks about it the better. If only the fans and media would let it go………

  10. I totally agree, Zaun is a wang. You obviously want to see work ethic out of your guys, but there is no point in pulling a hamstring on a ground ball out. Some guys excel when they are just allowed to play their game, and feel comfortable. Rasmus definitely strikes me as one of these guys, and should be given the space to do so. You telling me Babe Ruth hustled his ass to first base every time? Fuck that he smoked a cigar and had 3 whiskeys on the way. Standout guys with personality can be gimped if you tinker too much, and La Russa definitely comes of as a bit over-bearing.

  11. I’m giving Zaun a pass until he gets back on the wagon.

  12. Rasmus is a good player and I was extremely excited about what he could big long term to the cardinals.That being said he is very young and I think all of his talents have gone to his head. He shows great potential the first few months of each season then falls off. He need to grow up and realize he’s in the major leagues and there is a right way to play the game and a wrong way. He hasn’t earned the right to not to hustle, he’s 25. The fact he’s blaming other people for his lack of offensive and defensive output is sad. His interviews are a example of his imicherity. TLR was a very successful manager and its Colby’s loss for not learning as much as he should have. TLR has multiple ring with multiple teams in both divisions. All that being said Colby needs to grow up, give 100%, and take direction from the people put in place by the teams that are paying him. Grow a mustach and if you can’t shave it, what ever you do be clean cut.

  13. Scott Rolen is one hell of a baseball player.

    Scott Rolen thought Tony LaRussa was an asshole.

    I’m with Rolen.

    • Coach Murray thinks you should go back to the kitchen. I’m with Coach Murray.

    • Bullseye Janet, and I’d like to add Ozzie Smith, Hall of Famer who couldn’t stand Tony balony. I understand that he has joined the Cardinals org this spring, what a coincidence.

  14. The greatest hitter in the game pujols didn’t have anything against him. I would also like to add Scott Rolen and Ozzie Smith were also traded away from the teams that drafted them. I wonder why. There are always two sides to every story.

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