COMMENTARY | Well, I thought I would be ready for this day. It’s been on the horizon for a while now, and much like King James, King Albert also leaves his adoring fans with a sour taste in their mouth. I will be fine, it’s OK. It’s not like we’re the Cubs or something. We’ll bounce back.
But it’s that you told us we could trust you that makes it hurt worse. You said:
“So many people can’t wait until I do something negative. I can’t understand it. That’s sad, because I want to be that poster boy in baseball. Just give me the chance.”
-Albert Pujols, 2009
And then you did it. And for what? $2.5 million more a year? I didn’t know the price of a playing on a World Series contender went so cheap.
It’s hard not to compare you to LeBron. But let’s face it, the two of you had a chance to prove that there are more important things in life than money. Like:
But you blew it.
“He is not going to chase the money. He wants to chase the rings.”
– Dan Lozano, Albert Pujols’ agent 2009
“…money is not everything, it’s better to have a competitive team that can go to the postseason…”
– Albert Pujols, 2009
We made our team instantly competitive, on your urging. We took risks and overpaid for players on your urging us to be more competitive.
“…that ring is what it’s all about.”
– Albert Pujols, 2010
We did what you asked. We got that other ring that you said you valued so much. And we’re even poised for a run next season.
” ‘If you look at doing it now,’ La Russa said, of spending a career with just one team, ‘it probably is a little more significant because it’s so unusual [in this age]. Cal [Ripken] did it. There aren’t many guys that do it. It’s just the nature of the game. And now we’re looking at our guy. You know, Albert is one of the guys who have that.’ “
– Tony LaRussa, 2011
Spare me the talk on your market value and business decisions. In this day and age, with so much economic inequality and near-epidemic financial hardship, you could have been the model of moderation, someone who can say “when” to the outpouring of cash from strangers.
I guess the $104,040,436 the Cardinals paid you thus far just wasn’t enough. Nor was the $225 million more we wanted to pay you. Because $350 million seems so much cooler than a mere $330 million. And after all, you’re the best. Right?
Thanks for the rings, Mr. Pujols. You sure were a great ballplayer once.
You’re just another businessman now.
John A. Paz (aka Spiegro)
Cards fan since ’83
St. Louis native
P.S. When you hear me at the next game, it won’t be “Pooo” that I’m shouting.