Rasmus: “I couldn’t relax and play.”
Thanks go out to my MLB.com colleague Gregor Chisholm, who passed along some interesting quotes from former Cardinal outfielder Colby Rasmus. I’ll let you read his words for yourself, but it is clear that Rasmus. who was dealt away to the Blue Jays last July, does not look back fondly on his days in St. Louis.
“Last year I was beat up a little bit mentally. [I] just couldn’t do many things right last year. I felt like my confidence got down, but this offseason I’ve had some time to get that back and I’m just going to try have fun, smile and just enjoy my teammates and not let the things that I can’t control bother me. Last year, sometimes, I might have tried to control some things I couldn’t control and worry about things I shouldn’t be worrying about. If I would have just focused on the game — see the baseball, hit the baseball, run it down and catch it — it probably would have [taken] care of itself.
“In St. Louis, I got into some trouble where my outfield wasn’t very good, but I just wasn’t playing like myself. I wasn’t relaxed. I was worried about messing up and thinking like I had to go over the top to do these things, and I just got stressed out, got caught in a place where my confidence wasn’t there. Now I’m getting my confidence back and now I’m just going to go out and play the game.
“Once it got down to it in my last little bit in St. Louis is just got crazy. The fans were upset with me, the coaches [were] just banging heads a little bit and I just wasn’t comfortable. I couldn’t relax and play.”
Rasmus was asked if anyone from the Cardinals took the time to work with him when things weren’t going right.
“Not really. I just went home and spent some time with my family, which I usually do, and got in the weight room, which is a place that I’m comfortable at, trying to put some strength back on. But I didn’t really talk to many people. I think that might have been my problem to begin with, getting too much advice from too many different sides, my headed started spinning a little bit, I didn’t know which way to actually go. Instead of just having confidence in myself and sticking with what I know, I kind of listened to other people and might have gotten my head into different places where I felt like I wasn’t confident when it came down to it when I needed myself the most.
“In St. Louis, I just got to where I was so much just business, I was out there with no emotion, every day, I felt like I couldn’t, I just felt like everything I did was the wrong thing. If I showed emotion like I was happy, I wasn’t playing good enough so I could do that.”
And then he provided perhaps his most pointed comments of the day after being asked if Toronto was the right fit for him.
“Everybody’s been great, all the players, some young guys who have a lot of life to them. 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. These guys are cool. [Jose] Bautista’s awesome, always upbeat, don’t show anybody up or try to put his ego on top of you. This all about playing the game, having fun, just a bunch of guys trying to win a ball game.”
Unprompted, Rasmus later discussed what he perceived as unfair media scrutiny.
“The media in St. Louis, they were always on me. I guess I’m an easy target because I’m nice and I try to talk and be nice to the guys, but that’s just not how it works. They’ll take you for everything you can get. So I’m just going to try keep my mouth shut, play the baseball game, relax, and just have fun.”
He was asked what specifically happened that fractured his relationship with the Cardinals organization.
“I don’t know, I guess I just said some things that rubbed people the wrong way. I don’t know really. It’s all about how you play. If I would have played good, it wouldn’t have mattered. But 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, I’m not worried about it.
“I really never felt good in St. Louis. I always felt like I wasn’t … I don’t know. I was always so much younger than everybody else, and I just felt like I was never really, I guess you could say, a part of the team, kind of. I never got comfortable, and Tony [La Russa] 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. So I think that was one thing that might have hurt my game a little bit. I feel like it would be good for me to get comfortable, and know I’m going to be here and know I’m going to be a part of the team, know I’m going to be here ‘til the end instead of worrying about maybe getting sent down and this and that. Just go out there to play the game, have fun, relax. During the offseason, I had a lot of time to spend with my family. It’s quiet in Alabama, you know.”
Rasmus added that he didn’t watch any of the Cardinals’ playoff run.
“I got a lot of friends on that team, a lot of guys I love and respect. I have no hard feelings towards anybody, you know? [I] just didn’t watch it. I was doing something else.”
He said he did receive a small postseason share and expects to get a World Series ring, since he did contribute during the regular season.
“That’s what I hear, I don’t know. I’ll believe it when I see it.”
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