On June 27th, Jon Paul Morosi posted an article in which he spoke with Albert Pujols at length about his time with the St. Louis Cardinals organization, including some of his memories as a Cardinal, and even touched on some of Pujols feelings on the front office. This topic has been beaten into the ground since Pujols left, but it’s a polarizing one amongst the vast majority of the fan base as a whole.
So, why write about it now? It’s once again topical, and this time it’s because Pujols is finally going to suit up against his former team for the first time as a member of a different franchise.
For me, and possibly many others, it’s going to be bittersweet. Sure, he’s the enemy. He wears a different uniform now, calls another stadium his home, and tries to appease a new fan base with each and every at bat much like he did during his 11 years donning the Birds on the Bat.
It will be bittersweet because for once, I won’t be cheering for one of the greatest hitters I have ever seen play in person to succeed. In fact, I’ll be hoping he goes 0-for-the series once this thing gets underway Tuesday night. He can go back to being successful when the series ends, but for these 3 games I want to see nothing but a parade of outs come from his bat.
Before all of Albertageddon went down, I would have never harbored a thought like this about any player, but this one stung on so many levels. Albert seemed destined to play his entire career for St. Louis, and become a beloved icon to be placed on a pedestal slightly below Stan Musial in the process, but it apparently wasn’t meant to happen that way.
Baseball is a business, and I know that, but it still doesn’t make it any less painful when the brightest star decides it’s time to light another teams sky because he’s chasing every last dollar, or he feels like he’s been slighted by the front office despite already pocketing well over $100 million dollars during his tenure with the club.
I miss the days of the Cal Ripken‘s, the Robin Yount‘s, the Kirby Puckett‘s, the George Brett‘s, the guys who stayed loyal and true to their team despite knowing full well that in the end it is a business.
It used to be about the team first, and the money took care of itself. Somewhere along the way it became all about the dollars. Blame it on the union, blame it on the players ego, but the facts are the facts. The dollars seem to trump loyalty 95% of the time, and baseball is in a sad situation in that regard.
Tuesday night, Albert Pujols will don his Angels jersey and dig in against Lance Lynn and the St. Louis Cardinals. Despite Pujols joking with Morosi that he’d like to “go deep the first at-bat”, you know there is a small piece of him that truly does wish it would go down that way, if only to stick it to the Cardinals Front Office in a see what you lost out on kind of moment.
Time heals most wounds, but in this case time alone won’t ever be enough. I’ll always remember the great moments that Pujols provided as a member of the Cards, and I’ll always remember the title teams that he was a major part of in St. Louis. Unfortunately, I’ll also always remember the player that decided money was more important than his brothers on the diamond as well.