Let me start off by saying that I was shocked when I heard Albert Pujols signed with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for 10 years and 254 million dollars. No trade clause included. Shocked. Stunned. I really thought there was no way he would leave St. Louis. Baseball is a business and if you don’t treat your employees how they think they should be treated, things happen.
I will always respect Albert Pujols as a baseball player. Yes, he didn’t hustle every time he hit the ball. He never did the big interviews. He just played the game in what I believe is an honest way. As a person and a Christian, I am disappointed in him. Severely. I read the Lamb & Ellsworth book called ‘Pujols, More Than the Game’ and I believed in him. I believed there was a man who had integrity. I am not sure I want my son to read the book now. In 2009 he said that winning was the most important thing to him. He said there should be no reason for a player to go somewhere else when they were playing to the best fans. Yet here he is now gone. He says in a letter that his home is in St. Louis. But will that change too? It hurts me to say that I believe Albert Pujols is a liar. I really do not know the whole story and hope I never do. Only God knows the purpose.
Albert Pujols will probably never have a large statute in front of Busch stadium next to Stan Musial. He will never be known as the greatest Cardinal ever. Heck he won’t even be known as the greatest Angel ever. That distinction goes to Tim Salmon. A man who spent all 14 of his seasons with the Angels. Albert will be more like Nolan Ryan, Reggie Jackson, and Rod Carew. They are all hall of famers that spend time with the Angels but made their names with other teams.
Do you know that only the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees won more games than the Cardinals in Pujols’ first 11 years? Will the Angels come in third for the next 10? Probably not. They do have one heck of a pitching staff but they look like the San Francisco Giants when Barry Bonds was at his steroided best. He is surrounded by a bunch of older guys in the lineup with some promising young guys that now will be playing out of position. Albert goes from being protected by Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman to now being protected by an aging Torii Hunter. That doesn’t make sense to me. Remember that Albert is playing with a partially torn ligament in his right elbow, messed up feet, and knees that are hurting from the additional weight his body has put on over the years.
I am also disappointed in some of the reactions from Cardinals Nation. I have unfollowed a few sportswriters and personalities on Twitter because of their hurtful and just plain mean comments. I was shocked that some people I respect and hoped they were Christians told Albert to don’t let the door hit you. Those are the nicest words I will put on here. Be bigger than that Cardinals Nation. The name on the front of the jersey is more important than the one on the back.
Albert Pujols gave the Cardinals the best first 11 years any player has ever had. The Cardinals have now maybe 21 million dollars to spend on other players. I have heard talk that they may be in on names like Jimmy Rollins (wants a longer contract than the Cardinals are willing to offer), Carlos Beltran (who I never thought I would see in a Cardinals uniform), Michael Cuddyer (hear he’s a good guy), and even former Cardinals Ryan Ludwick could come back. I want to make it clear that I am a St. Louis Cardinals fan. No one player can top that. Even the 1964 Cardinals won the World Series the year after Stan Musial retired.
Earlier today, three NBA teams had a trade in the works that would have in theory made each team better. The NBA commissioner blocked the trade because the small market New Orleans Hornets would have lost Chris Paul and he is more valuable to the NBA with the Hornets. NBA owners are saying that you need a guy to market their team. This is why I love the St. Louis Cardinals and Cardinals Nation. I was born bleeding Cardinals Red and forever will be a Cardinals fan no matter what player is on the team.