Tony Rasmus goes to Toronto, talks St. Louis

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Tony Rasmus, the father of Blue Jays outfielder Colby Rasmus, was an endless source of intrigue and entertainment for the St. Louis media during the two-plus years that his son spent with the Cardinals.

And now the Toronto press is getting a taste.

The elder Rasmus made his first-ever appearance at Rogers Centre on Sunday afternoon, joining 12 other dads of Blue Jays players in a pregame Father’s Day celebration before taking in the team’s 6-2 win over the Phillies in a reserved box along the right field line.

Tony Rasmus also spent a little time with John Lott of the National Post, discussing topics that revolved primarily around last year’s eight-player blockbuster trade between the Jays and Cardinals, and the events leading up to it. We’ll attempt to package the craziness into easily-digested bites, but Lott’s entire interview transcript is worth perusing.

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Tony Rasmus on his first visit to Toronto:

I was lucky enough to have my passport ready. My wife still hasn’t got hers. When they called and invited me up, I had to go over and say, ‘I’m sorry, baby, you don’t have your passport; I’ve got mine, so I’m going to have to go ahead and leave you here.’ She called me a thousand times. You know, ‘be careful, be careful walking around, that’s a big town.’

On why things went south at the end of Colby’s run with the Cardinals:

Looking back on it, maybe the fact that he was such a big prospect and they expected him to be Albert Pujols in St. Louis and not too many people are going to be Albert Pujols. Maybe the expectations they had for him were just hard for him to live up to. Maybe that pressure just wore him down. Obviously Tony wore on him a little bit, but Tony’s a Hall of Fame manager, you know. Maybe everybody can’t play for him.

On how things played out the week the trade was finalized:

Some stuff came out in the [St. Louis] newspaper that wasn’t accurate from Tony and we called [Colby’s] agent and said, ‘Man, he’s not going to keep saying all that stuff without somebody responding to it, so y’all need to get him out of there.’ That was about the way it went. So whenever they called and told me [about the trade], I was dancing the jig around the house. I called [Colby] first thing and he was like, ‘That’s an answer to a prayer. Thank goodness.’ Everything since that day has been absolutely awesome here.

We’ve been happy ever since the trade.

On the active role he’s played in Colby’s career — a point of contention in St. Louis:

My involvement’s really basically a batting-practice pitcher. It’s not like I get in there and go, ‘Hey, move your hands up here, do this.’ I’m not really a technical [coach]. But the fact is, I’m 46, but I can still throw about 90. So I can back up 60 feet and throw BP versus having to soft-toss to him. And I can throw breaking balls and changeups and that kind of stuff.

And obviously Colby had a hard time [in St. Louis]. I always told Colby, ‘Don’t mention my name, let me go ahead and throw to you, man, and go in the newsapapers and say Mark McGwire is my man, he’s the reason I’m hitting.’ But he don’t know how to lie and I think that’s a key to making it in this business, being able to not tell the truth a lot of the time.

To summarize: Colby Rasmus isn’t a good liar. And Tony Rasmus throws 90 mph with pinpoint control.

Odubel Herrera flips his bat on a fly ball, gets benched for lack of hustle

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Phillies outfielder Odubel Herrera has been a polarizing figure in his young career. He’s talented and at times has shined, inspiring the Phillies to give him a long term contract this past offseason. At other times, however, he’s aggravated the snot out of his manager, his teammates and his team’s fans. Last night, in the Phillies-Astros game, he did the latter and was the subject of mockery of the opposing team to boot.

In the first inning he hit a long fly ball to center. He thought it was going out but . . . it didn’t. When the ball came off of his bat, however, he flipped his bat like he went yard. You know our view about bat flips — who cares? Flip away! — but you flip at your own risk. Just because you’re allowed to flip it whenever you want doesn’t mean you’re not gonna get mocked if you flip prematurely. That’s what Herrera did, and he was mocked for the flip by the Astros from the dugout:

If that was all that happened in the game, life would go on just fine. I mean, it’s just a bat flip. But later in the game he committed a more substantive transgression: he failed to hustle in a hustle situation.

In the sixth inning Herrera struck out swinging on a 1-2 curveball. The catcher didn’t hold on to it, though, and the ball went in the dirt. Herrera didn’t bother to run to first base and Pete Mackanin pulled Herrera from the game in a double switch right after that. Asked if Herrera was benched for not running that ball out, Mackanin said “It had something to do with it . . . I’m going to talk to him tomorrow.”

If you’re a veteran and you have hamstring issues or something you can take a dropped strike three off and no one is gonna say anything. If you’re hitting like Herrera has been hitting of late (i.e. pretty well) and you otherwise have no issues with your manager along these lines, it’s doubtful anyone will hold that sort of play against you either as long as it’s an isolated incident.

Herrera is not in that position, however. He’s raised Mackanin’s ire in the past for ignoring signs and taking what Mackanin believed to be a lackadaisical approach to the game. Whether that’s a fair assessment of Herrera or not — we can’t fully know everything about their interaction from the outside — is sort of beside the point. He has to know by now that Mackanin is going to get after him for that stuff and he has to know that him not being in the game is neither good for the Phillies or for Herrera.

Are these growing pains or a signs of a growing problem? That, it would seem, is up to Odubel Herrera.

Video: Minor leaguer bounces a home run off of an outfielder’s head

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Jose Canseco hit 462 homers, was the 1986 Rookie of the Year, the 1988 MVP and played for 17 years in the big leagues, winning two World Series rings and making the playoffs five times. Yet he’s not remembered for any of that. At least not very often.

No, he’s remembered for his ignominy. For his role in participating in and, subsequently, exposing baseball’s PED-fueled world of the 1990s. For his continued insistence that he was blackballed by Major League Baseball and his continued attempts to play via the independent league route. For his crazy post-playing career antics in which he spent a few years tweeting about aliens, conspiracy theories and non-sequiturs of every stripe.

Mostly, though, people remember Canseco for one random play: the time he helped the Indians’ Carlos Martinez to a home run when a fly ball bounced off of Canseco’s head and over the wall back in 1993:

 

Well, Canseco now has a friend in infamy. That friend: Zach Borenstein of the Reno Aces, the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Triple-A affiliate. Yesterday Borenstein pulled a Canseco on what should’ve been an Alex Verdugo F-9:

Borenstein’s glove may have gotten a piece of that — the announcer seemed to think so anyway — and I have a hard time figuring that his head would give it that much bounce. I mean, look how far he was from the wall! He wasn’t even to the warning track. That’s a serious assist.

Still: gonna rule this a Canseco anyway. It’s too good not to.