Which left me time to poke around on the internet, you know, to see what's out there. And naturally, time to blog about it.
Spring training means I spend some time monitoring the Cardinals, but most of it searching for nuggets that will help my fantasy team. I know, I know - nobody cares about my fantasy team. But I've got a title to defend.
Which is how I ended up reading about the Toronto Blue Jays. Well, it's more than that; as you know, the left side of their infield played for the Cardinals last year. While reading the article by Jayson Stark, I came across this gem of a quote from Scott Rolen:
"St. Louis is as good a place to play baseball as there is anywhere -- the city, the fans, the personnel there, teammates, the whole package," [Rolen] says. "My wife loved being there. I loved being there. I had every intention of finishing my contract there. And from what I'm told, many of the people who make the decisions there had every intention of me finishing my contract there. So the fallout, and the situation that became untenable, was personal. There was no contract issue. There was no organizational issue. So when I'm asked about that relationship [with the manager], the way I look at it, everybody has their story. And if you give both sides of the story, I don't think they're going to match up. I've said it before. We were different people with different morals."Isn't that an interesting thing to say? What the hell does that mean?
After Rolen's injury in 2005, and the debacle with his surgery/rehab that required a second procedure, there were questions raised on how the team handled his medical treatment. I asked them here; Bernie Milkasz asked them publicly in his column and took some heat from LaRussa at a subsequent press conference.
Could we speculate that perhaps the sub-standard medical treatment Rolen received wasn't the whole story? Was perhaps he rushed back to help the team before he was physically ready to, and, being the gamer he is, he tried it to his physical detriment?
And what does it say about LaRussa if he has 'different morals' in light of the steroid era, when two of the biggest stars now associated with steroid abuse played significant years for him (Canseco and McGwire)? Did he really know what was going on and turn a blind eye, to get any advantage to win?
Of course, this supposes that Rolen's moral code closely approximates mine, which doesn't condone cheating on any level. I'll never know that, just like I'll never know what LaRussa's code is. But as someone with some leadership experience, I did find it interesting that LaRussa took their issues public, including his excoriating comments against Rolen this winter.
Seemed like someone trying awfully hard to set the ground rules for how the dispute would be viewed.
Seemed like someone trying awfully hard to spin the story in his favor.
Seemed like someone with a guilty conscience.