Ricky Romero and the “Care Factor”

Image courtesy of Daylife via Reuters Pictures

Today’s professional athletes ride a very fine line. Some of the best players blur the line entirely, while others are clearly on one side of the divide or the other. I’m talking about the “care factor”; that line between appearing to care and appearing to not care.

Whether they show it or not, every player cares … otherwise they wouldn’t play the game. However, you can clearly find examples of guys who play with their heart on their sleeve, and others who appear to be more subdued.

Take a look at the Blue Jays roster and you’ll find examples of guys on completely opposite ends of the spectrum. There’s Brett Lawrie who plays the game with reckless abandonment, and then there are others like Colby Rasmus who prefer to take the laissez-faire approach.


I’m not saying one of these styles is necessarily better than the other. Brett Lawrie plays how he plays, Colby Rasmus plays how he plays …. that’s just their personality. Nobody expects them to be anything but themselves both in “real life” and on the field.

On one hand, fans want to know these players truly care about winning and they want to know the players actually give a damn. Proof of that is often times shown on the field in either results or just pure emotion.

But on the other hand, one wonders if these players sometimes get a little too consumed with the pressures of having an entire team’s fanbase rest on their shoulders. That was no more evident than a series of Ricky Romero’s tweets that he sent out last week.

One of the things I’ve always respected about Ricky Romero is he presents himself as the consummate competitor. He’s obviously very passionate for the game of baseball and doesn’t like to lose. So one can understand his frustration coming off a 7 walk outing last Wednesday.

Lashing out on Twitter seems like an odd therapy of sorts for a professional athlete. Romero may have been directing his anger towards his “haters”, but in truth I think that anger stemmed from himself.

I’m not against a Blue Jays player going out there and speaking their mind. In a world of cookie-cutter and cliché ridden answers from post game pressers, I truly appreciate athletes who are able to present their thoughts raw and unfiltered.

That’s exactly what Ricky Romero did following his loss in Tampa Bay last Wednesday; he presented his thoughts unfiltered for every single one of his 101,000+ followers to see. There’s no question it wasn’t the best way for Romero to vent, but he got it off his chest nonetheless.

Earlier this week on TSN 1050, Richard Griffin insinuated that last night’s game would be not only a watershed moment for Ricky Romero, but the Blue Jays as a whole. I find it difficult to use a game in late May as an indicator for the entire season, but I guess Toronto passed the litmus test.

Romero was cruising until that two run home run given up to Chris Davis, but I really don’t think he should be all that mad since Chris Davis and Adam Jones have given the Blue Jays so much trouble this season. Davis and Jones are hitting a combined .413 against the Blue Jays this season with 9 home runs in 8 games.


If anybody was going to get to Ricky Romero, it was going to be Chris Davis and Adam Jones. Frankly, I’d rather Romero get beat by those hitters than Ricky beat himself up by surrendering walk after walk.

In the end, I guess it really doesn’t matter whether somebody like Ricky Romero reads like an open book on Twitter, or whether Colby Rasmus just keeps to himself. So long as they put up results on the field, they can say whatever they want or whatever they don’t want to on Twitter.

Ian Hunter

Ian has been writing about the Toronto Blue Jays since 2007. He enjoyed the tail-end of the Roy Halladay era and vividly remembers the Alex Rodriguez "mine" incident. He'll also retell the story of Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS to his kids for the next 20 years.