A brief diversion from the Wild Card race for a moment…and who better to look to for a diversion than “Mr. Diversion” himself…Colby Rasmus.
Different country, different city, different league, different team…Same ‘ol Rasmus. Despite his northward migration, Colby Rasmus still has much to say about his time in St. Louis.
“I guess if I said it was easy, I’d be wrong, because I haven’t done good,” he said. “It’s definitely different. It’s a whole different ball game over here. The game’s a lot slower. In St. Louis it was a packed house every night, it’s a little different here.”
Including the clubhouse dynamic.
“The team’s a little more laid back, the coaches are a little more laid back over here than St. Louis where they were worried about every little thing and detail, so it kinda got a little too much for me at some times,” said Rasmus.
And it appears, still to this day.
“I still got a lot of stuff going through my head from being over in St. Louis,” he explained. “I’m just waiting for next season to come. I’m ready for this off-season to clear my head, come back next year, start with this team and then I’ll do good.”
Colby, Colby, Colby…*sigh*. I must say, I was just as irritated about the trade as anyone else. Not that I completely disagreed with the concept…just the fact that yet again we had to trade away a cornerstone player because of TLR-related feuds.
But come on.
Yeah, Colby…it is a bit different in St. Louis…about 16 games different! That’s the difference between Toronto’s 17 games back standing in the NL East and St. Louis’ 1 game back in the Wild Card. Or 11 games difference, if you prefer to compare St. Louis’ NL Central standings. Regardless, the difference is winning.
Colby still doesn’t seem to get it. Focusing on “every little thing and detail” is what great teams do to win championships. It’s what great players are able to do when faced with multiple areas of improvement…like, you know…catching the ball in the outfield…or throwing to the right base accurately and consistently…or hitting for average, power, and on-base percentage all in one.
Oh…and great players also suck it up when it’s time to suck it up.
Take Scott Rolen for example. The dude couldn’t stand Tony…but he kept it together, sucked it up, and helped the Cardinals win a World Series in 2006 (to which he contributed greatly). He did not, however, have a nervous breakdown, whine about every “little thing” to the media, or silently endorse daddy while Pappa ripped his previous team apart.
He played like a man. An adult man.
In this game, at this level, everyone can catch a ball. Every other player can run. Most can hit a curve ball. Many can hit it out. But the great ones…
The great ones catch it a little better, a little more often. The great ones run faster, and smarter than the others. The great ones lay off the curve ball in the dirt and all but force a pitcher to throw heat over the heart of the plate in a 3-2 count with the game on the line. The great ones hit it a bit farther…when they’re not even trying.
And the great ones do it by focusing on “every little thing.”
You don’t distance yourself from the pack at this level by clearing your head and “just playing.” You work at it. You obsess over it. You spend hours in the cage when everyone else has gone home. You beg anyone with half a season more experience than you for hitting advice. You listen. You shut up. You observe. You learn. You adapt.
In short, the great ones crave that packed house…and they worry about “every little thing” to the point of obsession because they understand that everyone in this league has talent. Not everyone, however, can go beyond their talent. Not everyone can be great.
Unfortunately, Mr. Rasmus…some players are destined to wallow in mediocrity, forever entrenched in lineups with middling aspirations and low pressure fan bases. Welcome to Toronto.
There will come a time when Raz misses the packed house of Busch Stadium and the salivating fan base that makes it “Baseball Heaven.” At that time, perhaps Colby will appreciate the unending worrying over “every little thing and detail” that takes a good player and makes him great. Sadly, that time will come too little, too late for a player who just doesn’t get it.