As they say, Hope Springs Eternal, and to that end, there were 242342 different (the same) articles in the Toronto (and presumably, St. Louis) newspapers this weekend about the eternal spring training hope that Colby Rasmus is a new man. Following the array of Brett Cecil is a new (thin) man articles, The Toronto Star, Toronto Sun, National Post, and Globe and Mail, discussed the merits of Colby’s new attitude, new swing, and new haircut, based upon his 12-minute media scrum on Friday.
We’ve heard the St. Louis story told a number of times, the one that says Colby came up with a sense of entitlement, that he rubbed teammates the wrong way, that he didn’t do things the Tony La Russa way. There were the stories that he didn’t listen to his coaches, that his dad was constantly in his ear, swaying him away from the advice of hitting coach Mark McGwire. There was the hugely successful Colby Rasmus of 2010 who OPS’d .859 as a 23-year old. Then there was the severely messed up Colby Rasmus who played his way off the eventual World Series Champions, although getting a $250k World Series share and a ring, onto the up and coming Blue Jays team, where he again struggled, hitting just .173 in 33 games after the trade.
So now, after 12-minutes of candid talk, Colby Rasmus is a new man. He addressed the stories, the La Russa debacle, the relationship with his teammates in St. Louis, likening himself to a new puppy, to whom the veterans took it upon themselves to teach new tricks. He discussed his relationship with his dad, noting his dad’s propensity to dwell on the negative. And he discussed his new beginning with the Blue Jays, noting that Jose Bautista’s leadership style lends well to an atmosphere of hard work, humility, happy vibes, and treating everyone right. The nagging concern to Jays fans will be fixing his swing the Blue Jay way, without input from his Dad. To that end, Colby spoke of the 2-day session with Hitting Coach Dwayne Murphy, “We looked at my swing for a couple of days, hitting the ball, so we can bang heads during the season, but just me and him, and no one else.” The and no one else part will be key here, and it remains to be seen if he has learned his lesson, and will listen to Murphy in a way he, allegedly, never did with McGwire.
To be honest, at first glance, this guy seems to be a head case. The messed up kid with the messed up family with a messed up personality that struggles to fit in. Digging deeper, though, you can’t help feel for the guy. Good people are put in bad situations, and with the eyes of the world focusing in when trying to navigate that situation, can’t be easy. While the articles this weekend do well to paint Colby Rasmus as a new man, which seems to be the early theme this spring, his candid responses point to the fact that he’s the same guy, in a new situation with a new awareness. It seems that many of his personal ills will simply be fixed by the change of scenery, and the realization that listening to his coach, not his dad, will not only endear him to his new team, but also lead to success in the bigs. So…Is Colby Rasmus a new man? Like a lot of these ‘feel good’ springtime stories, it remains to be seen.