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I went to bed last night with the assumption that Albert Pujols would be a St. Louis Cardinal by the end of the day today. I woke up to several text messages from "friends" telling me that Pujols had agreed to a deal with the Angels.... Some friends they are, giving me this news. Every indication that I had heard up to this point was that he would remain a St. Louis Cardinal for the rest of his career, which made this even more surprising and hurtful.
There are a couple of things that bug me about this move besides the fact the Pujols won't be wearing the "Birds on the Bat" uniform next year or probably ever again:
1. The perception he gave about his character leading up to this move. "It's not about the money" and "St. Louis is the best city to play baseball in" are a couple things that he had said on several occasions. If it's not about the money and St. Louis is the best baseball city, as a baseball player, why would you possibly want to leave? Pujols gave so much to the Cardinals over the last decade, I'm not denying that. But, I like to think that the Cardinals and Red Bird Nation have given him a lot in return. Obviously this was a strictly financial move, which I understand, but to say that it isn't before going into negotiations is a lie. Forgive me for expecting a man to keep his word. I expected more from a guy whose character is so often praised.
2. The timing of this move. If this move would have happened a few days ago, the Cardinals could have tried to sign Mark Buehrle, who has said he wants to play for his hometown Cardinals at some point. After signing him, we could have possibly traded Jake Westbrook or Kyle Lohse for some offensive help. In an ideal world, this would have happened. It didn't, thanks again, Albert.
With all of that being said, I am very appreciative of everything that Pujols has done for the Cardinals; 3 MVPs, 3 World Series appearances, 2 World Series championships, etc. Plus, I'm thankful for everything he's done for the St. Louis community. Up until this point, he seemed like a stand-up guy, but I can't get over him lying to the media and his fans so many times about wanting to stay in St. Louis. If he wanted to stay in St. Louis, he would have.
One thing I won't miss is yelling at my TV at him for not hustling or running through a stop sign from Jose Oquendo at third base.
I'm excited to turn the page and see what the new look Cardinals can do on their quest to repeat as World Series Champs! Peace out Pujols and go Cards!!!
Me before Game 6 of the 2011 World Series (maybe the best World Series game of all time):