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Former Redbirds: Andy Van Slyke rips Colby Rasmus

Jul 31, 2011, 9:31 AM EDT

van slyke cardinals

Colby Rasmus has been in Toronto since Wednesday, but the former first-round pick’s departure remains a hot topic in St. Louis and everyone seems to want to weigh in.

Andy Van Slyke, who was also selected in the first round by the Cardinals (back in 1979), was quite critical of the entire situation in a Saturday conversation with Hall of Fame writer Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Van Slyke played 13 major league seasons, mostly with the Pirates. He hung up his cleats in 1995 having registered a .274/.349/.443 career batting line with 164 home runs, 792 RBI, five Gold Gloves and three All-Star appearances. The 50-year-old now makes frequent appearances as a baseball analyst on St. Louis-area radio programs.

Here are Van Slyke’s comments to Hummel:

“According to what I read, he’s never been happier (being traded) since he’s been a Cardinal,” Van Slyke told Hummel. “How can you be happy being traded from the St Louis Cardinals? It’s the most nonsensical thing I could ever imagine. I couldn’t have been more upset than when I got traded (to Pittsburgh). It took me a month to get over it. … Shows you how totally emotionally different a player he is than I was. He’s going from a potential playoff team to a team that hasn’t won anything in 20 years. If he stays where he is emotionally, he’s going to be the same player he is right how. His whole game is derived from emotion. He doesn’t use his intellectual mind; he uses his emotional mind. No wonder he’s never performed the way he should have.

Then his father says the Cardinals have changed his game. Well, I would hope so. He and his father think he’s still playing in high school. He continues to throw the ball to the wrong base and not break up double plays. You can’t do those things at the big-league level. It’s up to the Toronto organization to keep him accountable, like Tony (La Russa) and his coaches tried to do.”

Rasmus, 25 in August, is 0-for-12 with one walk and five strikeouts since Wednesday’s eight-player trade was finalized, but he remains a five-tool talent and seems likely to prosper in his new locale.
  1. paperlions - Jul 31, 2011 at 10:12 AM

    “According to what I read…..”

    At least he didn’t start off with, “I don’t have any first hand knowledge at all and really don’t know anything about the situation, but…”

  2. thefalcon123 - Jul 31, 2011 at 11:36 AM

    Why would Andy Van Slyke have been upset about being traded from the Cardinals? Herzog never used him as a full time player (he never managed 500 PA’s in his time with the Cardinals), and he earned his AS appearances, gold glovers and reputation as a great player in Pittsburg.

    • paperlions - Jul 31, 2011 at 11:49 AM

      I was thinking the same thing, I was a kid at the time, loved Van Slyke (he just “looked” like a ball player), and was pissed when he was traded….but I also remember that Herzog didn’t seem to care for him enough to play him everyday or to just stick him in a position and leave him there.

  3. pcyopick - Jul 31, 2011 at 12:31 PM

    Remember, this is the same idiot that scraped the Canadian flag off of his helmet in 1991, saying “Canada is a pacifist, socialist country.” I think it has more to do with his hatred of Canada. Why he hates it here, I have no idea.

    • proudlycanadian - Aug 1, 2011 at 10:26 AM

      So Van Slyke defaced the Canadian flag. I suspect that if a Canadian had defaced the US flag that he would have been outraged.

  4. spudchukar - Jul 31, 2011 at 1:08 PM

    When Van Slyke was traded I mourned for days. He was traded in the winter of 1986, a year after losing the World Series to the Royals, and before a similar fate was bestowed on the ’87 team. When you factor in he came up through the organization, his feelings on leaving the Cards is more than justified. Plus, he didn’t dis the Pirates, just expressed his ruing of being moved.

    Van Slyke never put up great numbers vs lefties in the early years, so a platoon system had some merit. Sorry about the Canada thing it is ignorant, nuf’ said. But all in all, his criticism of Rasmus seems spot on. This is a tough, tough game to play, and no matter how talented or how many tools you possess, your most vital quality is still the one sitting on your shoulders. Rasmus has stated that all he wants to do now is “to play, not think about anything,” which is a great way to minimize your God given gifts.

  5. texasrangersfan - Jul 31, 2011 at 3:31 PM

    I always liked Van Slyke too… but he’s acting like a moron. He starts out “according to what I read…” And then goes on to describe his own distraught time after being traded from the Cardinals to the Pirates. Did he go on TV, Radio… or talk to baseball writers about how distraught he was at the time? To tell the good people of Pittsburgh how much he hated his new team, his new city… and wished he could go back to the Cardinals? No. Is Van Slyke channel ling one of these talk radio smurfs who want to churn controversy out of nothing? I’m really disappointed coming from a guy who knows better. What was the kid supposed to do or say? “This trade has ruined my life, I hate Canada, the Blue jays suck and I’ll cry myself to sleep every night here.” Andy Van Slyke… Good bat, GREAT arm… one tool missing apparently: The Brain.

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