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The Future is Now

The Future is Now

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Published by jhusk24
2,000 word biographical piece on St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Colby Rasmus.
2,000 word biographical piece on St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Colby Rasmus.

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Published by: jhusk24 on Aug 18, 2009
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08/20/2009

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The Future is NowThwock. Thwock. Thwock.The future of the St. Louis Cardinals is taking batting practice. He doesn't hit mammothhomeruns, dropping bombs all over downtown Memphis. Nobody stands in awe as he laceshorsehide-covered missiles. There are no oohs, no ahs. He just hits.Thwock. Line drive over second base. Thwock. Base hit over third. Thwock. Deep fly ball to right.He even hits a few pop-ups. But there is still something about the player, the kid, thefuture. Something in that easy left-handed swing of his that leads a reporter to remark on thetalent standing in the batter's box, two-and-a-half hours before a game against the Salt Lake CityBees."That kid can rake," a Memphis Redbirds intern replies.Drafted twenty-eighth overall in the 2005 Major League Baseball draft, Colby Rasmusappears to be headed for superstardom for the St. Louis Cardinals, and many think that timecould be this year. Rasmus was one of the last players cut from the Cardinals' major leaguespring training camp, and has shown the raw talent necessary to get things done at the big-leaguelevel. The 2005 draft class already has the potential to go down as one of--if not the--best in thehistory of  baseball. Five of the first seven picks are already starters for their major league clubs: JustinUpton of the Diamondbacks, Alex Gordon of the Royals, Ryan Zimmerman of the Nationals,Ryan Braun of the Brewers and Troy Tulowitzki of the Rockies. This does not count JacobyEllsbury (23 overall) who lit the world on fire as a September call-up for the world-championRed Sox last year, or his teammate Clay Buchholz (42 overall), who threw a no-hitter in just his
 
second major-league start.Rasmus has a chance to join them and become the first position player selected with theCardinals' first overall pick to make his big-league debut with the team since J.D. Drew hit St.Louis as a 22-year-old in 1998."I'd love to be (in St. Louis)," Rasmus says. "I just have to wait on the Cardinals to feellike I'm ready."It may not be that simple. The Cardinals, surprisingly successful in the early stages of the2008 season, have a glut of young outfielders, none of whom are worthy of a demotion. Pitcher-turned-centerfielder Rick Ankiel has continued his Roy-Hobbes-like resurgence, and SkipSchumaker, Chris Duncan, Ryan Ludwick and Brian Barton have all earned their stay on the bigleague roster."Ultimately, the Cardinals make those decisions," Rasmus says, referringto who will be called up and who will be sent down. "If I made those decisions, everybodywould be up, all the time."The fact remains, however, that a lot of people expect Rasmus to make the trek up I-55 toSt. Louis sometime this season. The fact also remains that Rasmus is all of 21 years old.Born Aug. 11, 1986, Rasmus has been around baseball all his life. His father, TonyRasmus, played professionally in the mid '80s, reaching low-A ball in the California Angels'organization."My dad played pro ball, so I've been playing since I could play," Rasmus says. "I started playing year-round when I was 8 or 9, and I've been playing ever since."After his playing career ended, Tony turned to coaching, standing at the helm of everyteam Colby played for up through high school. It was in high school that Colby began to realize
 
that a professional baseball field was in his future."I guess probably my junior year was when I thought I had a chance to getdrafted and maybe play in the big leagues," Rasmus says. "But people still said I was too small,too skinny." That summer Rasmus attended a high-profile showcase for high school baseball players in Florida, and was named MVP. After that, skinny or not, Rasmus had caught theattention of scouts on every level."I played that whole summer, then played in the fall," he says. "I had a bunch of collegestalking to me in the fall." After that superb junior year, Rasmus followed it up with an even better senior season. He posted the video-game stat line of a .484 batting average, 24 home runs and 66RBI, leading the Russell County High School (Ala.) Warriors to a state championship and no. 1ranking in both the National High School Baseball Coaches Association poll and the USA TodaySuper 25.That senior year only served to solidify his standing as an elite prospect, and by then thequestion was not "if" he would be drafted, but "when.""I went to a bunch of teams' workouts that had close to the same pick," Rasmus says."The Marlins said they might take me at 27, other teams at 29 or 30, so I thought it might besomewhere around there, but I wasn't for sure." TheCardinals held the twenty-eighth pick, and after Joey Devine, a pitcher from North Carolina StateUniversity, was selected, Rasmus's life changed forever."The first call I got was from my scout," he says, smiling at the memory. "It was anunbelievable feeling. Words can't describe it."Rasmus had just been drafted into the most successful National League franchise in baseball history, with 10 World Series titles, 21 National League pennants and 26 playoff 

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