So I played hooky on a beautiful 75-degree day and went to yesterday’s Memphis vs Omaha game. They say the worst day at the ballpark beats the best day at work, and for the Redbirds, it was the worst day at the ballpark. I left during the seventh-inning stretch — I’d seen enough in what ended up a 20-3 loss, and Memphis has no Aaron Miles to come in to pitch to have compelled me to stay.
But I got to see Oscar Taveras, who with just one swing was worth the price of admission. But watching him that afternoon, I came to a disturbing conclusion.
Cardinals fans aren’t going to like Oscar Taveras.
There’s no denying his talent, he CRUSHED a first inning home run to right off Storm Chasers’ lefty Chris Dwyer against a howling 25-mph wind blowing out to left. It’s like the wind just noped its way out of the baseball’s way and let it just go until it crashed into the Werner Park berm. His swing is almost exactly like Vladimir Guererro’s was, long and full of fury. Dude is SCARY.
But here’s what I thought about watching him other than at the plate. He never looks like he cares enough, and the biggest sin? He’s definitely not scrappy. He was kind of goofy, loping around in warmups, always grinning, slump shouldered, cutting up, laughing with his head bobbing around, that sort of thing. That sort of thing that will spark a working class Cardinals fan to take to Twitter or Cards Talk in righteous indignation that here we go, another “superstar” who doesn’t play The Cardinal Way.
I fear Oscar Taveras is going to be another J.D. Drew or Colby Rasmus, another of a line of extremely talented players who will appear never to get the fullest out of their natural talent. I say that like it’s a bad thing. Cardinals fans love their Scrappy Guys(TM) like David Eckstein, Stubby Clapp, Bo Hart, even Allen Craig, those sorts of players, while hating on guys who can help the team such as Ray Lankford, Rasmus and Drew (I have to admit calling him Lazy Drew myself — in hindsight, we all should have appreciated him for what he was, a near-superstar who really could play the game).
So will we appreciate Oscar Taveras for what he can do, or will we scowl and work ourselves up in a froth over all the things he won’t do? I hope we learned from our time blessed with J.D. Drew and Colby Rasmus … but I’m just afraid we won’t.