I was at a restaurant last night, eating dinner with a friend of mine, and the establishment's televisions were tuned to the Cardinal game. Of course, being a noisy restaurant, the sound wasn't audible, but the closed captioning was on, so I could still read the commentary coming from Dan 'n Al
Well, about that time, Colby Rasmus
comes up in the third inning and proceeds to hit a bomb out to left-center field
, his sixth long ball of the year. I'm happy, my friend is happy, the few other diners who were paying attention were happy. Exciting to see the Cardinals score a run, and the kid look like he's starting to come out of his tailspin a bit.
In fact, the only person who didn't seem happy was Al Hrabosky.
Al's first bit of commentary after Rasmus' home run was that, according to Colby's father, he should be in early May right now. Colby's dad was going on about five homers a month, and so six is about what he should have had a month ago.
Al followed that up by once again criticizing Colby, saying that the Cardinals want him to be a line-drive hitter, and the home runs aren't what they're looking for out of him. He also said sure, Colby's two for two, but his average is still in the low .220s, and that's just not good enough.
Al wants Colby to get off his lawn, and NOW.
The funny thing is, I barely even listen to what Hrabosky says half the time. So when I actually read what he was saying, I paid attention to it in a way I rarely do. And I have to admit to being really confused. What the hell is Al's problem with Colby Rasmus, and how in the hell does he get away with being so unprofessional as to take shots at the kid every time he comes up?
Every time Colby hits a ball that leaves the park, Al criticizes him, saying that's not the sort of hitter the Cardinals want, or need, him to be. When Colby got caught laying back on a groundball and allowed the runner to advance to second, it was the worst thing anyone has ever done. (And for the record, it was a terrible play, but I've seen plenty of outfielders get their pockets picked in the exact same way. Credit to the runner, and hey, pay more attention out there. Not the end of the world.) But when Swingin' Dick Ankiel missed second base on that ridiculous double play ball late in the game, not a peep was heard from the Hungarian.
Colby went 3-4 last night, and was a triple short of the cycle. Yet the team's color commentator did nothing but bash him. Isn't it enough the kid has played outstanding defense, even while struggling to make the adjustment to major league pitching at the plate? Yes, his average did fall all the way below .230, but that sort of thing happens to rookies. Ankiel's average is all the way down to .221, and he's still the Golden Boy, even with the wild swings at balls in the dirt, balls over his head, and the outfielder's practice tosses between innings. Even Chris Duncan, who is only on the team because of his bat (and maybe his last name, but that's neither here nor there), is hitting .256 with very little power, yet he is still regularly lauded as being a dangerous hitter, a winning player, and a hell of a dancer.
I have to wonder, is it just the fact that the kid is a rookie? Is Al somehow rebelling against everyone else's excitement over such a dynamic talent? Maybe the antics of Colby's father
is what really sticks in Al's craw; I have no idea. But what I do know is this: the primary color man for the Cardinals, whose main talent seems to be that he can still talk with both of Tony La Russa's testicles lodged firmly in his mouth, does nothing but run the kid down no matter what he does. It's unprofessional, and just one more reason why I can't believe that Hrabosky still has a job.