The baseball cleared the right field fence at U.S. Cellular Field on the South Side of Chicago, past the outstretched glove of Alex Rios, and landed in the Toronto Blue Jays bullpen for a two-run home run. Colby Rasmus did what he always does: Not smile. He had business to take care of, a couple of bases to round. This is about as close as Rasmus got, even after a career night: a five-for-five performance, one that saw his wOBA rise from .304 to .326, and his wRC+ rise from 89 to 104, on the season.
Rasmus is stoic. The polar opposite of his fellow high-ceilinged teammate Brett Lawrie. And it’s been a study in contrast to watch the two of them play baseball on a day-to-day basis.
I can say with certainty that Rasmus will not be chucking his helmet in the direction of an umpire anytime soon. Not this year, or next. Probably never. That’s not Rasmus. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Helmet tossing, for the most part, isn’t a good idea. While Lawrie’s the talk of the town in Toronto for the way he plays the game — go go go — fans get on Rasmus for what seems like his indifference to the game. Where’s the hustle? Where’s the heart? If I can’t see it, it must not be there, right?
Wrong. Fool. What I love about watching baseball is observing the different ways players approach the game, and play the game. Both Rasmus and Lawrie have the tools to play the game at its highest level, that’s obvious, yet they go about it in completely different fashion. Is one approach better than the other? I don’t know. I don’t think so. If, at the end of their respective careers, Lawrie ends up worth 0.7 more wins than Rasmus, can we chalk that up to Lawrie’s exuberance? I’m not sure. But, again, I don’t think so.
What I do know is that I love watching both Rasmus and Lawrie play baseball. Both of them for different reasons. I wish every baseball player ran the bases like Lawrie. Even the fat ones. And I wish every center fielder gracefully patrolled his position, making it look easy, the way Rasmus does. I wish every swing looked as pretty, as aesthetically pleasing, as fluid, as Rasmus’s swing. No Blue Jay’s hits sound as good off the bat as Colby’s. Literally, that crack, bat meeting baseball. And I love that sound.
In the end, I believe Rasmus’s approach will pay off, especially in a game marked by failure. Here’s to stoicism.
GIF credit: Toronto Blue Jays gifs. Duh.