Hebrews 12:1-2

"..let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith..." - Hebrews 12:1-2

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Albert Pujols - The Choice

On January 6, 2012, I posted this status update:
Albert Pujols is a generous man. I pray that God uses him powerfully in California, as He is still doing in St. Louis.
My sentiments toward that end have not changed. However, reading the following from Albert today kind of altered how I view him:
Pujols says his preference was to stay a Cardinal for the rest of his career, envisioning the day he would be revered in the city, just as Stan Musial, Bob Gibson, Lou Brock and Red Schoendienst were. He would have his number retired and have a statue erected outside Busch Stadium along with the other greats.   (Source: USA Today)
Albert Pujols Homerun off Brad Lidge -  2005 NLCS
Albert Pujols was already revered in St. Louis. He was a living legend, with nothing but further respect and support to gain as the years ticked passed towards his retirement. He could have coasted into the Hall of Fame on his first ballot, wearing the Cardinals hat that gave him a chance to play, prove himself and become one of the best players in history. He could have spent his entire career with the organization and town that held their breath every time he winced or appeared even slightly injured. He could have been the shining example of how a player can stick with a club that may not be the most glamorous, or have the largest payroll, but is dedicated to winning and representing their city and fans well.

So much could have been different.

I'm not saying that Albert Pujols should have turned down the Angels offer. He is a professional athlete and if he wants to maximize his earning based on his abilities and skills, then more power to him. He has every right to make the decision he made. I'm praying that God uses him to dramatically impact his new hometown.

I don't think the Cardinals should have paid him anything near that contract. It wasn't in the organization's best interest long-term. Did they want Albert to retire a Cardinal? You bet. Could they compete with the big money that was thrown at him from the West Coast? Absolutely not.

Sometimes the numbers just don't compare well, and it appears that this is one of those instances where the disparity between dollars and years in the contract offered were apparently too large to overcome for a smaller ball club. The Cardinals made their stand. The Angels made their offer. Albert made his choice.

And I guess that is what bothers me about this statement in this article. St. Louis did not drive Albert Pujols away. The Cardinals didn't ride him out of town on a rail. It's not as if the extremely loyal fan base of the St. Louis Cardinals collectively removed their numerous Pujols jerseys, set fire to them at first base in Busch Stadium and then march down to the Mississippi River and chucked them in.

Stan Musial's Christmas WishI'm pretty sure that Bob Gibson, Lou Brock and Red Schoendienst, along with numerous other former Cardinals all wanted to see Albert remain a Cardinal. In fact, Stan Musial, the man that is, according to Albert Pujols, the only player worthy to be called "The Man" went to the internet to do his part to get Albert to stay in St. Louis.
If Albert Pujols wanted to remain a Cardinal for life, he could have made that happen.
If Albert wanted a statue next to the greats of Cardinal nation, he could have made that happen.
If Albert wanted to see his number 5 retired at Busch Stadium, he just had to keep playing ball.
If Albert wanted to be revered as a Cardinal, then all he had to do was stay in town.

But he didn't choose that for himself.
It was all right there for the taking.

If that was his dream, if that was his hope, then I'm afraid he gave it up for some numbers that the dedicated, hard working, baseball loving, intelligent St. Louis Cardinal fans recognize as detrimental to the team's future.

Albert made his choice. Now he has to work really hard at making that dream happen over the waning years of his career as an Angel. Something tells me that the people of California may have other stars to follow when Albert's productivity starts to decline.

I wish him well, but I wish he would stop talking about how desperately he dreamed of staying a Cardinal for life. You had that choice Albert, and you chose to move on.

And now, so shall we.

No comments:

Post a Comment