As the Cardinals have their hands full trying to find their way back into the playoff
picture, I can’t believe the club is allowing itself to be distracted with this whole
Colby Rasmus mess.
To be honest, I really don’t care if Rasmus is happy to play for the Cardinals. Not
only is he a millionaire ballplayer, but — as Albert Pujols said — he gets to play for
one of the greatest teams in the game, both historically and lately. So, if, he’s not
content with what he has, that’s his problem.
Personally, I think it is pretty disgusting to hear his whining about how the manager
isn’t nice to him and the players don’t like him. Get over it. Almost everybody has a
tough boss. We deal with it and do jobs that can be back-breaking, boring or even
dangerous 12 months a year for eight, 10 or 12 hours a day just so we can pay our
mortgages, groceries — and for our Cardinals tickets. We don’t ask to be traded to
another business where the bosses are nicer and the demands are less. It’s called
the real world.
He’s not paid to be happy and make friends. He’s paid to hit the ball, score and drive
in runs and play defense. Like Whitey Herzog says, it’s not the manager’s job to be
a player’s pal. If a player wants a friend, buy a dog.
Besides, it’s not like Rasmus is being singled out and treated unfairly. Major league
managers have always been tough on youngsters. It’s called paying your dues. You
earn respect, you don’t snap it up for free like Halloween candy.
In the early 1940s, youngsters who made errors or who didn’t hustle often found
themselves up close and personal with team captain Terry Moore. Moore would put
his arm around the young player and subtly pinch him on the back of the neck
— hard — while letting him know what he did wrong.
The story goes that Enos Slaughter was walking off the field, drenched with sweat
during a minor league game in Columbus, Ga., when manager Eddie Dwyer
approached him. Dwyer sarcastically offered to find someone to take over in the
field for Slaughter if the poor kid was too tired to run. Today there would be a
hearing complete with agents and representatives of the players association. But
what did Slaughter do about it? He learned a lesson and he ran — for the rest of
his career. It became his trademark.
If Rasmus isn’t tough enough to play for the Cardinals in 2010, what would have
happened to him in 1934, 1942 or 1967?
We all stand and applaud manager Tony La Russa as he scales the all-time wins
list. But suddenly everyone is critical of his methods because he has had problems
with a handful of players of the couple of thousand players he has managed over
the last three decades?
The accusation that La Russa can’t manage young players is bunk. Albert Pujols
made the transition from minor leaguer to superstar under La Russa. Jaime
Garcia, Jon Jay, Jason Motte, Kyle McClellan and David Freese have all seemed
to do alright playing under La Russa.
It’s Rasmus who has something to prove in this case. Not La Russa.