A quick post about the Springfield, MO Cardinals Caravan last night…
First, I was a little put off by Colby Rasmus’ demeanor. I don’t know how much of it is his fault, per se, but the kid seems to have been called “the next Cardinals Superstar” one too many times. He seems to have the method down – “yes, sir” and “I’m gonna’ work hard” etc. – but he just seems like he would rather be anywhere else but dealing with fans, etc. I’ll cut the kid some slack – mainly because he is a kid (and he dresses like one, too…I thought he was a 14-year old skater instead of a “step-away-from-the-bigs” professional baseball player) – but I hope he does a bit of maturing over the next couple months. I like him…and he may be ready talent-wise…but he’s not quite mature enough to deal with the scrutiny he’ll face in St. Louis as “the next Cardinals Superstar.”
Second, Jess Todd is a genuinely nice kid…and it shows. I like him, but I don’t think even he was prepared for all the hype surrounding his season last year.
Third, Brian Barden…I really wish this guy would get more of a look than I fear he will get for St. Louis. You can tell the guy feels snubbed…and I think rightly so. I like his approach to the game, his professionalism, and I would bet his maturity level is much more in line with the Big League level than a Brendan Ryan (I really like Ryan…but a comparison is a comparison…). Plus, his versatility (natural third baseman, but played SS in Memphis last year) makes him a hell of an assett.
Finally, Kyle McClellan. I can’t say enough about how impressed I was with this young man. He made the event for me, and was clearly the most comfortable and vocal of all the players at the table. He conversed easily with fans, was eager to offer insight into the St. Louis Cardinals as a team, and appeared entirely comfortable representing the franchise and the team. He laughed, and even asked for the mic a couple times when a general question about the team was asked. But the best part was when he asked for the mic in response to a point posed by Horton about he and Jess Todd’s ability to pitch in either the ‘pen or the rotation…
Kyle McClellan flat out said last night that Dave Duncan told him at the end of last season to prepare to start and to compete for a spot in the starting rotation. Now, I know we all know Dunc is confident in his ability to start…and many of us want to see this happen…but this is the first official word I’ve heard come from the team about it – especially flat-out saying K-Mac is going to be given a chance to compete for a starting job. I loved it!
Later, as I was eagerly and excitedly going through the autograph line, I joked with Ricky Horton and Kyle about it a bit by saying, “You know, Kyle’s little ‘Dunc told me to prepare to start’ comment is going to be all over the fan websites tonight…”
Kyle, in his down-home approachable way, ducked his head and laughed while his head and face turned red. Horton – the wonderfully funny and enjoyable MC of the event – responded by saying, “Well, that’s Kyle…Mr. Controversial.”
All-in-all a good event…but I was shocked to hear that Dunc gave Kyle the “Braden Looper Treatment” by telling him to get ready for the rotation…now THAT’S exciting!