Braves drop ball not taking Rasmus

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Well the Atlanta Braves dropped the ball again.

I wouldn't call myself a baseball purest, but I do keep tabs of baseball and the Atlanta Braves when it counts.

It sure is hard to be a New York Yankees fan in the deep South, especially this year.

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We are a day removed from the First-Year Player Major League Baseball Draft. As the 27th pick in the draft, the Braves took right-hand pitcher Joseph Devine from North Carolina State.

The St. Louis Cardinals had the next pick in the draft and took a player that Greenville baseball players would have loved to forget as would most pitchers across the state. Colby Rasmus of Russell County was taken as the 28th pick in the first round.

Sports fans remember Rasmus from the days he led the Phenix City All-Stars to a Little League United States Championship in 1999. It was a dream season for the boys from Phenix City. Only that dream turned into a nightmare when the Far East team blanked the Alabama boys 5-0 in the World Championship game.

It was a disappointing August day in 1999, but it was the beginning of the Rasmus legacy.

Since then, Rasmus has led Russell County to a Class 5A championship and a mythical national championship.

Now, the Phenix City native is a member of one of the top major league organizations in the country.

What were you thinking John Schuerholz?

The Braves general manager has been notorious for taking local talent and turning them into all-stars. You would have thought that the Braves would have liked to keep the Phenix City connection alive.

They already have Tim Hudson, who played high school ball at Glenwood Academy in Phenix City. And they could have had Rasmus.

Albeit Rasmus is not known for his pitching prowess, his overall package as one of the best players in the state speaks for itself.

This kid was destined to play for the Braves, which he once listed as his favorite team.

Not anymore.

Rasmus closed out his senior season with a .484 batting average, 19 stolen bases, 24 home runs and 66 RBI.

Rasmus was considered to have all the tools of the trade: running, hitting, power, throwing and fielding.

Guess that wasn't good enough for the Braves.

Greenville baseball fans as well as the players can attest to Rasmus' ability. And the Braves will too one day.

I once developed a strong liking to Schuerholz for his ability to spot talent and make sure that person was sporting an Atlanta Braves uniform.

Schuerholz certainly dropped the ball on this one.

I understand the Braves are in desperate need of pitching, but one can only wonder why he would pass up a player like Rasmus.

Braves fans have wondered what has happened to the Braves over the course of the last five years. It has been bad deals and poor drafts like this that have affected the Braves.

The Braves can begin second-guessing their pick now.

Kevin Taylor is sports editor of The Greenville Advocate. You can reach him via e-mail at or call (334) 383-9302 ext. 122.