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I really don't know. I'm a bad source of information for stuff the team said to him. I'm not sure Colby's ever mentioned to me five things anybody on the Cardinals has ever taught him about. If I hear anything about anything he does with the Cardinals, it comes from his brothers or his mother. He won't talk to me about any of that stuff because I would take Tony [La Russa]'s side over his side in anything. And Colby knows that. He's actually told me ten times that me and Tony are identical — hard-ass, sarcastic. And so he don't tell me any of that stuff.
I don't want him to tell me anything that goes on. What's said between his coaches and him is his business. Nobody that teaches hitting wants to be second-guessed by somebody's dad. That just sounds horseshit. But in the end, I think he trusts me a little bit. And I think he's really skeptical of other people. Why, I don't know.
I'm not sure I understand the dynamic. You're saying he seeks out your advice, but then he disagrees with it and gets angry, but at the same time he trusts you — and he gets better results when you guys work together.
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I'll tell you what I think it is. I think he works hard to make himself good. And if I don't agree with what he's been working on, I think it makes him mad. Because he feels like he's put a lot of time into it. He's working hard on it. So when he does things and tries to get his swing like he feels comfortable with it, it seems to him that I never agree with him. He'll ask me what I think, and we'll get to talking, and then we'll get in an argument because whatever I say he won't agree with. And then after the argument, he'll say, "Well, hey, come work with me on it a little bit." That's kind of the progression of how that goes. It's the same four of five things we always work on. He'll cuss me and throw stuff and fling bats in the net. I think he understands it works. But it just aggravates him to process it.
What are the bad habits he falls into?
I'm not a big leg-kick guy, and he likes that big leg kick. When he takes that knee back, it has to come back to the midsection of his body. I'll say, "Get the knee back to your sack." If his knee goes straight up, that means he'll be out front. If his knee goes back to his sack, his head stays in position.
Now when the knee goes back — what he did last year, his knee would go back, and his hands would go back at the same time, and that's a no-no. When the knee goes back, your hands shouldn't move. Colby's problem is his knee'll go back, his hands'll go back at the same time, so when his knee goes forward, his hands'll leap forward with it. Well, there again, that ball middle-away is going to give him problems, because he's leaping forward already. That's all we work on. When I throw to him, I throw outside-edge, up to a foot off the outside edge. I want him to hit ground balls between short and third, because that's two things he's got to do: let the ball travel and get some top hand on the ball.
In the comments you posted on Brian Walton's [Cardinal Nation] blog in December, you seemed to ridicule that approach. You said the Cardinals just want to turn Colby into a slap hitter like Jon Jay or Skip Schumaker. What was that all about?
I just cut up on some of those places. It's funny to me how crazy some of those people get about all this stuff. I'm not a huge Cardinal fan, and it makes people mad because I don't love the Cardinals. I'm just pulling people's leg, basically. That's probably the best way to put it. And the thing about Cardinal fans is this: They're probably the most passionate that I've ever been around. Really. They love baseball more than oxygen. But you can't joke about anything! And I'm probably more of a prankster kind of guy.
Part of the reason those comments got a reaction is that they play into a perception that's already out there: that Tony La Russa dislikes Colby or dislikes his game.
Do people think Tony's trying to lose? I mean, come on! That don't make any sense. I don't think you need to be a rocket scientist or Rod Carew to know that you gotta work the outside pitch and hit that thing the other way. Personally, I think Tony's trying to get Colby to be a better baseball player. I think Colby started pushing back with some of the things he feels comfortable doing that may not be best for him, but he's comfortable doing them. But to think that Tony doesn't want Colby to be a better baseball player? That's just jabber, in my opinion.