Photo courtesy of Jeff Roberson with Associated Press.
The minute I walked into the Cardinals' complex in Jupiter, FL I knew that I was unlike any of the other media members. Yes, I was a girl; yes, I was the youngest one by about 20 years; but the real reason: I was a fan. For the week of spring break, I was able to be the ultimate baseball bum with an inside peek, watching workouts, batting practice and the odd down time between practice and the daily games. What more do fans want to know about their favorite players than what they do and talk about in the down time of Spring Training? Or more interestingly, don’t fans, especially Cardinals fans, want to know about the future of their team? Therefore, I bring you inside information on one of the most intriguing Cardinals names: Colby Rasmus.
Colby Rasmus is the number one prospect in the Cardinals organization, and is expected to be the next coming of Jimmy Ballgame. Many fans were hoping that Rasmus would make the rare jump from Double-A to the Majors this spring; however, Rasmus has recently been sent down to minor league camp, and is expected to be the starting centerfielder here in Memphis. For many Cardinals fans living in Memphis, the first half of the Redbirds season (hopefully Rasmus will be here at least that long) with the myth of Rasmus patrolling the outfield will be more incredible than Rick Ankiel’s stint here last season. While at Spring Training, I gladly interviewed Colby Rasmus in the hopes of learning more about the one referred to as Razzle Dazzle.
Rasmus is only 21 years old and is the oldest of baseball-fanatic family of four boys (his younger brother Cory is a pitcher within the Braves organization). Due to years of a barren crop of prospects in the Cardinals organization, to most fans, Colby feels like a myth. Rasmus hails from Phenix City, AL and was drafted in the first round by the Cardinals right out of high school. As a pitcher in high school as well as a centerfielder, Rasmus was once clocked throwing 90 mph from centerfield. As the story goes, the Yankees tried to pick up Rasmus as a pitcher, but he was determined to pitch no more; he turned down the Yankees and said that he was not going to be drafted as a pitcher, no matter what. Cardinals fans are now rejoicing over the then 18 year old’s boldness.
Rasmus knows what he is capable of, and there is no denying the hint of an ego when talking to him; however, he does say that he is still having a difficult time talking about himself all of the time. He was more apt to talk about his parents and brothers than himself. However, I was able to get some interesting tid-bits out of him.
“I’m from Alabama, and I don’t hunt,” said Rasmus of something most people don’t know about him. This was really funny because the day before I had had an extended conversation with pitcher Ryan Franklin about hunting. Rasmus says that he isn’t a redneck at all, and rather than driving a truck like the typical Alabaman, he drives two BMWs. In his downtime, Rasmus likes to play Halo…doesn’t sound much different than a lot of 21 year olds. However, it is clear that Rasmus has always thought he was going to play professional baseball. “I’d probably be sitting on the couch right now,” said Erasmus when asked what he would do if he wasn’t playing baseball. I prodded him with questions of college and other careers, but baseball is undoubtedly his life: “I guess I’d be in school. I guess I would be a P.E. coach or something…coach baseball most likely.”
The question of Colby’s life outside of baseball is far beside the point for die-hard Cardinals fans…everyone is hoping that this confident baseball player turns out to be the real deal. The good thing is that those of us here in Memphis will get an up-close look at this exciting prospect who will likely be a mainstay in St. Louis for years to come.