Can you imagine if A-Rod ducked the press like Pujols did?

Pujols made a critical error in the 9th inning of a World Series game that his team lost.
I wouldn’t say it cost the Cardinals the game but it didn’t help.
And the memory of it would have faded with a quick “I screwed up, let’s go get them on Saturday” comment from Albert Pujols after the game.
Yet he wasn’t there. Neither were veterans like Lance Berkman, Matt Holliday and Yadier Molina. But none of them are the face of the franchise. None of them are carrying the torch lit by Rogers Hornsby and been carried by Dizzy Dean, Stan Musial, Bob Gibson, Lou Brock and Ozzie Smith.
This is a historic Cardinals run and Pujols is the identity of this team. And he’s been there front and center during their mind boggling charge to the playoffs.
Thursday was one of the few stumbles since the beginning of September. Pujols needed to be there. Instead it was Jason Motte and the younger players covering his butt.
According to Yahoo Sports, his response to people objecting to being a no show for the press was he didn’t realize that he should have been talking to reporters. And that his “responsibility is to God and my family. I don’t have any responsibility to anybody else.”
Um… horse crap.
Pujols isn’t a rookie. This is his 11th big league season and third trip to the World Series. Maybe he noticed that a few reporters asked questions after the game. And they tend to ask questions to the BIG STARS. This isn’t a new development.
And the media savvy MVP face of the franchise should deflect attention away from some of the younger players.
And Pujols DOES have responsibility beyond the invisible creator of the universe and his wife and kids. It is to the franchise that he will be asking to pay him hundreds of millions of dollars in a few weeks.
He will be asked to be paid not just as someone to put up numbers but be the face of the team… including in front of the media when they make an error in the 9th inning of a critical World Series game.
Which brings me somehow to A-Rod.
A-Rod is someone who can do no right in New York. He’s won 2 MVPs as a Yankee and led them to the 2009 World Series title. Which makes him a bum in Yankee fan’s eyes.

Take a look at this headline from the New York Post after the death of Muammar Qaddafi.

(Did we EVER figure out how to spell his name?)
Look at the bottom of the headline.
The New York press can’t even report the death of a crazy despot without taking a dig at A-Rod.
(Thanks to friend of Sully Baseball, Lisa Swan of Subway Squawkers, for pointing out the headline.)
A-Rod gets crap for stuff that happens 9,000 miles away from him.
Can you imagine if he ducked the press after a World Series game?
What kind of storm would he endure if he screwed up a relay and it set up the game winning rally? And compound that with being in the steam room afterwards!
And saying “What? I didn’t know that the reporters liked to talk to the big stars after a World Series game!”
Or saying “I didn’t think it was important that I talk to reporters after a critical World Series loss. Besides, they could ask those questions to Greg Golson or Jesus Montero.”
Or saying “All that matters is Zeus and my daughter. My responsibility isn’t to my teammates nor to the team that is putting a quarter of a billion dollars into my checking account.”
He might actually be MORE hated than Qaddafi (or Khadafy for that matter) in New York.
(Then again if JETER ducked the press, he would be praised for being above the fray and bringing the dignity of DiMaggio and Gehrig back to the clubhouse, but that’s another post.)
I’m not a Pujols hater. I made a video which was basically a love letter to him. I think he is one of the most exciting and best players I have EVER seen (please don’t test positive.)
But this whole “What? I’m supposed to meet the media? WHY?” stance is bush league. And something for him to keep in mind as he approaches free agency.
He has 11 years of eternal love in the back in St. Louis where he could get away with this.
Everywhere else he has exactly zero.
Be accountable and don’t throw your teammates under the proverbial bus. That’s as much a part of being the team leader as pounding out homers.
And I don’t know if there is a supreme creator of the universe or not, but if there is I’m guessing God would say “Albert, what in the name of me are you doing avoiding the press after a World Series game?”

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Albert Pujols doesn’t owe St. Louis anything… including an extension

I have a feeling that I am not going to make any new friends in St. Louis with this post, but I hope that you can at least hear me out.

Albert Pujols is signed for 2010 and has a club option for 2011. I am going to go out on a crazy limb here and say the Cardinals will probably pick up that option.

After that… who knows? Clearly the Cardinals want to sign him to a long term deal. According to an interview last October he is leaving the contract issues “in God’s hands.”

If by “God” he means his agent Dan Lozano, then he is theologically correct.

Call it a hunch, but I think Pujols is going to stay in St. Louis.

But, if the Cardinals don’t pony up the cash, and Pujols skedaddles after the 2011 season and becomes a Yankee, or a Red Sox, or a Dodgers (assuming the McCourt divorce is over), or an Angel, or a Ranger (assuming Tom Hicks took over the team again and thinks an MVP slugger is the commuter lane to the World Series) or a Pirate (assuming it is snowing in Hell)… then I don’t want to hear ANY complaining from Cardinals fans.



But the truth can be harsh.

In this era of free agency and players not being associated with a single team, Albert will give Cardinal fans 11 years… and of his first 9 seasons, he finished in the top 10 of the MVP vote each year, in the top 5 for 8 seasons and won the award 3 times.

He’s been a home run king, batting champ and has led the league in OPS 3 of the last 4 seasons. He has 13 homers in 56 post season games with a career .322 October batting average and 1.009 OPS in the playoffs.

He’s been a playoff MVP and nearly destroyed Brad Lidge’s career the next season. He helped deliver a pennant in 2004, a World Series title in 2006 and led the Cardinals to 6 post season berths.

And he has put up eye popping numbers without being caught injecting something.

Now I am phrasing that carefully because who can be stunned anymore? But if he never tests positive, then he may already have a Hall of Fame resume.

And that plaque will have him wearing a Cardinals hat.
And #5 will be retired.
And Cardinals fans will have more than a decade of continuity.

In this day and age, asking for more than 10 seasons from a player is being greedy. He already signed one mongo 7 year deal with St. Louis, foregoing free agency. Asking him to do it twice might be too much to ask.

Would you?
If you were the best offensive force in the game and a sure fire Hall of Famer, would you pass up on making literally hundreds of millions of dollars?

What I am saying is I WANT HIM IN FENWAY!

I want Pujols mashing balls over the Green Monster… just for 5 years… enough time to win another World Series and sell some hats.

I can be greedy.

But if he does indeed stay in St. Louis, you can thank God for that… and by God I STILL mean Dan Lozano.

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