(By the way, I still don’t get that name. Anaheim is Anaheim — I’ve been there, and it was quite the trek by airport shuttle from LAX, so it’s certainly not Los Angeles. And Anaheim Angels was such a simple, alliterative, unconfusing name. Right?)
Anyway, we have many thoughts about Albert. We invite you to share your sentiments on him as well.
No matter how much I didn’t want this day to happen, it has. Albert is no longer a Cardinal. It is painful to even type that sentence. Despite telling us of his desire to be like Stan Musial and be a Cardinal for life, Albert proved he is pretty human and took the money and ran.
Offering a 32-year-old a 10 year contract for that much money is pretty crazy in my opinion. Especially when that guy had the year Albert started out with this season. Remember that? It wasn’t pretty. But he did turn it around and was the guy who his three homers in Game Three of the World Series. He is Albert. There is no replacing him. His presence on this team. His leadership with the Latino players. His bromance with Yadi. The way he can look at Brad Lidge and make him tremble.
Speaking of Lidge, I obviously have a favorite Albert moment. The mammoth blast off the choo-choo train in the 2005 NLCS to take the series back to Busch. Before the homer, I said Albert was about to do something special. I could feel it. And boy, did he! That homer ranks high on top homers for me.
Now that he’s gone, I hope he’s as successful as he can be there.
As for the Cardinals, they will be fine. Think of how much money this opens up. There is so much potential! I’m excited and look for this offseason to continue to be entertaining.
I went to bed Wednesday night feeling better than I had in three days. I woke up to news that made me feel worse than I had about the Cardinals since Aug. 24th. We all knew losing Albert Pujols to free agency was a possibility. And, in fact, I was resigned to that early in the season. But to see it in writing — official writing, not rumors — was painful.
In the years I’ve actually paid attention to the Cardinals personnel (not just, “Daddy, did they win?”), Pujols has always been there. No. 5 is a part of every single Cardinals memory I have. As much as I know this was a good decision on the part of the Cardinals, there’s a pit in my stomach thinking of Albert in anything other than the Birds on the Bat.
It’s hard when your childhood hero lets you down. I know, I know. It’s a business. He had every right to take the money offered. He’s earned it. But I’m a dreamer. I believe in fairy tale endings. And there was a part of me (bigger than I wanted to admit) that believed Albert Pujols was different — a worthy hero.
Now, there are probably other players I love more. Adam Wainwright, Skip Schumaker, David Freese. Who am I kidding, I love them all! But in my mind, Pujols has always been the centerpiece of the team I love and the weapon we could claim, the legend St. Louis produced. And just like that, he’s gone. And we’re left with nearly as many questions as we had before.
I love this team. I’m sad Albert doesn’t understand what he’s walking away from. If he did, he wouldn’t be walking away. But, the team still stands strong. John Mozeliak did his job, and will continue to do so. The 2012 season still looks promising. So, my heart may take some time to heal from watching my first real Cardinal hero make a new life on west coast, but I promise, I’ll be ready. The first game sans-Pujols may be hard to swallow, but I’ll be cheering as loud and strong as ever.
Let the post-Pujols era begin.
What’s it like to be Albert, to make a decision like this — what’s the thought process you go through? I’m trying to imagine it. Not having much athletic ability (my time playing softball was short and not sweet), it’s not easy. I have no clue what it’s like to excel as he has. But, when making a life decision, wouldn’t you consider what you had already?
Albert had to think about his 11 years in St. Louis, right? Think deeply about the seven trips to the playoffs, five times in the NLCS, three World Series appearances and two times winning it all? About the fans in St. Louis — everyone lining the streets for those two World Series parades, the thousands of jerseys and t-shirts with his name and No. 5 on the back? All the adulation, all the devotion, even all the money spent at his restaurant? About all the experiences unique to Cardinals baseball alone — that sea of red in Busch Stadium game after game, Opening Day, the Clydesdales, the appearances by the Hall of Famers and most especially Stan the Man? He had to think about Stan, right? I mean, seriously, how could he not think about what he had, what it meant to be a Cardinal, before choosing what we wanted?
And, with all that history and everything he accomplished and a city and fan base who adored him, he said, “The Angels are the ones tugging on my heart.”
Since I’m me and not Albert, there are a lot of things I don’t understand about making such a life decision. That kind of ego, that kind of pride, that kind of (what to seems to me, at least) greed are all totally foreign. So I’m not going to judge him. He’s made his decision — that was his whole point of becoming a free agent, to see just who wanted him.
But it definitely changes my opinion about the last 11 years. Yes, I appreciate what he did. But — as I read many times yesterday — I’m a fan of what’s on the front of those classic white jerseys. The Birds on the Bat are what have my heart, not a name and number on the back.
Thanks for all you did while wearing the Cardinals uniform, Albert.
It’s hugely disappointing that somehow the chance to continue doing all of that and getting paid well for it wasn’t enough.