Rasmus earned himself a day off, but it wasn’t for the right reason.
Gibbons scratched Rasmus from the lineup yesterday after the 27-year-old centre-fielder and pending free agent failed to arrive on time for yesterday’s game. The move was described as an “internal decision” and was meant to send Rasmus a message.
When asked about it, Rasmus was quick to support the decision and take complete responsibility for his (in)actions. He left lunch with family late and got stuck in traffic, but that’s no excuse according to Rasmus.
“They punished me as they should have,” he explained.
For his part, Gibbons was coy about the decision, telling reporters he had a “hunch” Nolan Reimold would have a big game in Rasmus’ place.
“It’s called good managing instincts, that’s what it is, and it’s about time you say something like that,” he told reporters, adding a wink for effect.
This is why I love Gibbons.
Critics highlight his sometimes firm hand with the players, but I actually think it helps to keep everyone focused and responsible for their actions. Reimold had a huge night – he hit two home runs and cashed two runners – and it can’t hurt to let Rasmus know he might be competing with Reimold for playing time down the stretch. It creates a healthy competitive atmosphere that can only really help the team moving forward. As well, it should give the Jays a better sense of what Reimold can offer should Rasmus land elsewhere in the off-season. (Is Reimold his heir replacement?)
I also like Rasmus’ response.
He assumed full responsibility for his tardiness without hesitation or delay. It suggests he’s committed to the team winning as a whole – aside from actually arriving late to the game, there was nothing selfish about his response.
We’ll see if that’s enough to give Gibbons a “hunch” Rasmus should play tonight.