“I just see the ball and run and try to catch it. I’ve been running and catching baseballs since I could walk…”

That’s what Toronto Blue Jay, Colby Rasmus told the Toronto Star and I know exactly what he means. I started playing when I was a little boy and loved the game right away.

“The more I think about it, the more it messes me up.”

That is how he finished the thought… and I know exactly what he means by that as well. I think we all do. Whether you are or were an athlete at any point in your life or not you have no doubt been in situations where the things that are supposed to be easy for you become terribly difficult.

Maybe it’s writer’s block or parallel parking or pouring the perfect beer, it doesn’t matter. Once you get all up in your own head, you’re screwed.

It can be hard to step back and realistically evaluate the expectations of professional athletes sometimes. To take a second and recognize that there is a lot of pressure that comes with doing your job in front of tens of thousands of people every night and hundreds of thousands or more on TV at the same time. And yes, pro athletes like Colby Rasmus make a lot of money to deal with that pressure and perform. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

If it was easy I would be doing it.

Colby Rasmus Toronto Blue JaysRasmus is 25 years old now – 7 years after he was drafted in the 1st round by the St. Louis Cardinals. There was a time when he was the youngest player on the team in St. Louis, he didn’t fit in with the veterans who knew what they were doing and how to deal with the media and pressure and everything that comes with being a big leaguer. Now he’s just another 20 – something in a Blue Jays clubhouse that looks like a group of friends playing baseball. It’s a group of players that he should fit in with a lot better. Maybe he’s not as outgoing or enthusiastic as Brett Lawrie or JP Arencibia – but he can hang with them when it comes to playing baseball and it’s good to see him smile on the diamond.

Sure, there’s still a lot of pressure. Heck, I wrote that he is one of the most important 2012 players in my Blue Jays season preview at TheReviewsAreIn. Rasmus has also admitted that he doesn’t really feel comfortable in the “go, go, go” mentality of big cities. He’d rather hunt and fish and hang out at home (next door to his parents and down the street from his grandparents). But by all accounts he is getting comfortable in Toronto and is ready to let the past go and become the 5 tool player that scouts and fans have drooled over for years.

And as a fan, I hope he does because this kid has everything it takes to be a very special baseball player and we’re lucky to have him.