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No, the Cardinals aren’t trying to change Colby Rasmus. But his father is taking shots at the organization…

Dec 10, 2010, 11:03 AM EDT

St. Louis Cardinals Photo Day Getty Images

“Not satisfied with the current product, the Cardinals are trying to change center fielder Colby Rasmus.”

That’s how I headlined my piece Thursday night — a piece that detailed a new contact-oriented hitting approach for the young Cardinals outfielder with direct quotes from his father, Tony Rasmus.

After a bit of digging I learned that the comments were made in a tongue-in-cheek manner, meant as a joke for bloggers and message board types that are prone to jump on any kind of juicy bait.  I jumped.  I bit.  Whatever.

The comments were indeed made by Rasmus’ father — that has been confirmed — and I had no way of knowing they were meant facetiously.

That’s not the end of the story, though.  Far from it.

Here is one of Tony Rasmus’ more revealing comments from the original story on Brian Walton’s The Cardinal Nation Blog:

“I’m curious to see this new hitting style at work. What they’re telling me is Colby most likely won’t hit 10 jacks this year but will be more consistent. I’m told that he will look alot like Jon Jay without all the pre swing motion. More like the Skip Schumaker and Jay stuff to left field. IT will be curious to watch.”

This isn’t light humor.  What we have here is the father of a prominent Cardinals player publicly mocking the organization on a message board.  Tony Rasmus jokingly said that manager Tony La Russa and hitting coach Mark McGwire are attempting to turn his son into more of a Skip Schumaker-type batter.

To be more like Skip,” is exactly how the elder Rasmus put it later in his diatribe.  Anyone with a baseball almanac or a desktop computer knows that Schumaker is one of the least productive regulars in the game of baseball.  Tony Rasmus is well aware of that fact and was taking a shot at the Cardinals’ braintrust.

La Russa has talked frequently about pushing Colby to use his legs more on the basepaths and to drive balls gap-to-gap rather than shooting for the fences.  Tony Rasmus, high school baseball coach and overbearing parent, clearly disagrees with that strategy and made a mockery of it on a Cardinals-centric internet forum with about five paragraphs of tongue-in-cheek commentary.  It was meant to reach a lot of eyes, with the St. Louis front office included.

Cardinals fans were appalled Thursday when the “new hitting approach” story came out.  Why are they putting a leash on one of baseball’s best young hitters?  They’re turning Colby into Juan Pierre!

The story isn’t true.  If there’s a leash, it’s not all that tight.  And Rasmus certainly isn’t being asked to stay out of the weight room.

But what’s worse?  The Cardinals asking a young power hitter to become more contact-happy or that power hitter’s father taking public jabs at the hitting philosophies of his son’s big league ball club?  Remember, Colby has made more than one trade request in the last two years.

You think someone — a parent, perhaps — might be in his ear?

  1. sknut - Dec 10, 2010 at 11:39 AM

    The father needs to lay off, Colby is a big boy and while I am not a LaRussa fan, he knows more about baseball than the Rasmus family combined. And in this whole process elder Rasmus has hurt his son’s trade value what smart organization is going to deal with Rasmus and his father when he is slumping. I know the kid is talented but come on be a man and perform and tell your old man to shut up and live his life.

  2. apbaguy - Dec 10, 2010 at 11:45 AM

    This reminds me of the comments Dusty Baker reportedly made about Joey Votto his second year up. Votto had an extremely high OBP as a rookie, and Baker wanted him to be more aggressive at the plate. The comments were reported as if Baker wanted Votto to turn himself into Manny Sanguillen or something, when in fact Baker wanted Votto to swing aggressively at selected pitches in his zone, especially in hitter’s counts. Basically Baker was giving Votto a crash course in slugger development, and his comments got misrepresented.

    I think that’s what LaRussa is trying to do with Rasmus: get him to exploit all his natural gifts. Even Josh Hamilton beats out dribblers off the end of his bat, and Josh talked a lot about how he cut down his swing to make better contact more often this year. But clearly LaRussa’s dad thinks he knows better. It’s a different game from High School at the top of the professional level.

    • apbaguy - Dec 10, 2010 at 11:47 AM

      I mean Rasmus’s dad. Still early on the West Coast…

  3. Charles Gates - Dec 10, 2010 at 11:59 AM

    I took my niece and nephew to a t-ball game a few weeks ago and the parents were yelling, screaming and all sorts of incoherently urging their kids to do this, run there, and throw that way all while contradicting the parent that they were next to, proving their opinion was right by using more volume than the adjacent wack job.

    Apparently, when their kids grow up, they don’t. And instead of howling through a chain link fence, they ramble in internet chatrooms and message boards.

    Parental input is the new inefficiency.

    • Old Gator - Dec 10, 2010 at 12:07 PM

      Just a little note to the goyim: this parental interface has been going on for five thousand years before the internet was a gleam in William Gibson’s father’s eye. We don’t have a Hebrew font handy but the term for it is kvelling. I suspect it even pre-dates schmaltz.

  4. sportsdrenched - Dec 10, 2010 at 12:13 PM

    I didn’t realize Helicopter Parenting had reached the level that they were telling proffesional orgnaizations how to run things.

    Certainly, If I have to consider what Pops thinks in a potential deal. I’m going to do my best to find a player whose parents are a little further removed from the players life.

  5. seattlej - Dec 10, 2010 at 12:22 PM

    Must be a slow day… why does anyone care what this guy says, and why waste the time to repeat it? Damnit… I just wasted my time reading it and writing this comment.

  6. PanchoHerreraFanClub - Dec 10, 2010 at 12:44 PM

    Hey, isn’t this just “great fun”.

  7. jblazeandem - Dec 10, 2010 at 2:34 PM

    i figured this site would be like profootballtalk. Usually when the guy who wrote the article writes his follow up article after he was wrong and believed some dumb bull, the comments reflect that he is an idiot for believing it in the first place and more so for then trying to spin it and make up a story talking bad about the guy he got his info from. I guess its different. This guy silva is lucky he’s not florio.

    • JBerardi - Dec 10, 2010 at 6:32 PM

      As baseball fans, we’re a notch about football fans/throwing our own poop.

  8. FYMYAWF - Dec 11, 2010 at 1:04 AM

    Jeebus, this guy sounds like a complete tool. He must have gone to the female tennis player school of parenting. Your son is a grown man, stay the f**k out of his business and stop ruining his rep by association.

  9. pogodog7 - Dec 11, 2010 at 1:35 AM

    What can McGwire teach about hitting? He was a .260 hitter and a steroids user.

  10. macjacmccoy - Mar 28, 2011 at 12:46 PM

    I would think the father would no more about what the Cardinals were trying to do with his son then you or your “sources” tell you.

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