spring training continues. one week on from the first official pitchers and catchers report day and still no dramatic injuries or difficulties for our heroes in red. although count me skittish about jordan swagerty's bone chips flying about inside his elbow joint.
jenifer langosch - whose writing continues to surprise me, pleasantly - rounds up an extended quote from colby rasmus to the toronto press about his experience in st. louis. my ability to link material appears to have been fed some sort of kryptonite code. not sure whether to blame SBN or the latest, fiendish incarnation of Internet Explorer. actually, i'm gonna go with microsoft here. i think it's messing with some of the scripting functions on this site.
this follows a somewhat overlooked article from joe strauss exploring john mozeliak's role on a tony la russa-free club, in which strauss confirms that la russa "last summer pressed ownership and Mozeliak to reconsider their reluctance to trade center fielder Colby Rasmus." not that anybody had any serious doubts that la russa had a hand in the trade.
and oh, dear, jeff gordon opened his mouth, too. i don't know why anyone would read this drivel, but here's a link to gordon's ramblings. you'd be better off asking your cat what she thinks about the rasmus situation.
of course, rasmus remains a divisive issue, much like counterpart/nemesis tony la russa. and anybody who wants to can read into the interview whatever they like to support their thesis on rasmus.
i certainly have little difficulty believing that la russa is a hard man to work with, having collected more than his share of hacked-off ballplayers who ultimately had to be traded to suit his management style. and there's some support for those claims in rasmus's interview. la russa, it seems fair to say, is a high-tension man, and some ballplayers may simply not respond to high-intensity, high-pressure management styles.
at the same time, the interview lends more than its share of ammunition to the "rasmus is whiny" crowd. colby at one point claims he didn't even watch the world series, weakly claiming he had something else to do without, you know, mentioning what that something was. and, while tony may have been too intense and too insistent, rasmus reminds us that la russa was basically asking him to focus on doing his job. having coaches ask you to work hard, focus, and accept criticism is part of the game.
having come at the issue from the perspective that both tony and colby likely contributed significantly to the rift between them, i am totally unsurprised that i come away thinking the exact same thing. in the end, if rasmus succeeds in toronto, st. louisans may re-evaluate whether the media was accurately portraying the tense player-manager relationship. if rasmus fails to live up to his potential, it will become harder to find rasmus defenders.
the good news is that anyone reading the interview, whichever camp they come from, will agree that colby rasmus is either the least coherent interviewee ever or just high as a kite throughout. it's good to find some common ground for everybody.
the good news is that we don't have to continue rehashing the drama of last season.
derrick goold has an interesting interview with erik komatsu - whom no one has YET compared to jeremy lin. i'd like to say that this restores a small amount of my faith in humanity, but it's probably moreso that the usual suspects (gordon) don't know who komatsu is yet. i bet if he hits well in spring training, somebody makes the comp. anway, goold's lin-free interview is worth a read, like pretty much everything else he writes. of interest is to what extent komatsu's foot fracture kept his offensive production down last year.
willie "mr. average" mcgee is in the complex, through the intervention of john mabry, of all people. he joins ozzie smith and lou brock and a wealth of other former cardinals with wisdom to share.
i'm besieged by technical issues at this point, so i will leave you here. tell us in the comments which player you are following most closely in spring training.