As it turns out, Albert Pujols isn’t okay with the “El Hombre” billboards, after all.
Nonetheless, they’re still plastered all over L.A., and it doesn’t look like that’s going to be changing any time soon. Pujols says he had nothing to do with it, and that he doesn’t want to be called that now anymore than he has in the past. His feelings on the matter have been made more than clear time and time again.
Tim Mead, vice president of communications for the L.A. Angels, is justifying this marketing campaign by saying, “The reason [Pujols] had those sentiments in St. Louis is different,” and that “there’s a tremendous difference in context.” I disagree. I think the advertising move exhibits blatant disrespect toward the Cardinals, Stan Musial, and Albert Pujols himself. It’s certainly not just a coincidence that they’re determined to use Stan “The Man” Musial’s nickname. And no one is fooled by any “different context.”
However, I no longer think that it’s Pujols who is thumbing his nose at the Cardinals. I now think doing so is a part of the Angels’ marketing strategy now that they have one of our former star player. Apparently, the players themselves have no control over how their name or likeness is used, and the public relations people seem to be able to do whatever they want.
This wouldn’t be an issue at all if it hadn’t been so publicly addressed in St. Louis by Pujols while he was one of the Cards. However, he asked even his most devout fans not to call him that. For that reason, it’s clear that the whole point of this strategy is to rub it in our faces that they’ve got Pujols– and they’ll call him whatever they want. Sure, Spanish speakers in L.A. deserve to have signs in their language that promote the Angels’ new star player; just not these particular signs.
It seems like players would have more control over these marketing techniques, but apparently they don’t. I guess Pujols didn’t think to put something like this in his contract, because, well, who would? Still, it’s disappointing that this is going to continue. Maybe I’m just being defensive, but what can I say … I’m a Cardinals fan.
Angela Woods is a fan of St. Louis Cardinals baseball. She has family in Missouri and is planning to make it to at least one game in 2012. (Hopefully more.)