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.