Monday, December 19, 2011

A Pujols Commentary You Haven't Heard Yet

There are far too many links to the Albert Pujols free agency story to list here, profitably.  Suffice it to say that Pujols is not leaving St. Louis on the best of terms and it might not be his fault.  But it is a shame that the St. Louis Cardinals improbable World Series victory* has to be tainted with a Leaving Controversy.  I see the Cardinals 2012 calendars, with Albert pointing skyward as the January photo, lying unbought at the St. Louis area Samsclubs and I know what's going on.  The sweet taste of victory has soured on the tongue of St. Louisans. It is like Bob Gibson started pitching for the Red Sox in 1968.  Or Ken Boyer bolted to become a Yankee in 1965.  Or, even worse, it is like Stan Musial bolted Eddie Dyer and the Cardinals in 1947 to go on to a solid ten years .. with the Dodgers.

Sutter, Porter, Ozzie, Hendrick, Lou Brock, Curt Flood, ... even Mike Shannon and Nellie Briles ... they were all back with the Cardinals the next year after sipping that World Championship champagne.  Clubs didn't "build for the future" the year after a championship.  They rested on their laurels ... and brought the champions back the next year for at least a victory lap.  Even the 1944 AL champion St. Louis Browns, beaten out by the Cardinals four games to two in the World Series, made only two moves in the off-season (selling backup shortstop Floyd Baker and signing future rookie-of-the year Roy Sievers).

I know that free agency makes everything different now.  But it is still possible to stay with a team.  Somehow, Pujols and the Cardinals should have made that happen,.  For old time's sake, if for nothing else.

* folks, lets face it, that series had EV-RY-thing from Tony LaRussa's Roman soldier/lawyer stoicism to Ron Washington's disco tap-dancing chipmunk cheerleaderism, plus Samuel Jackson-style locker room rants ... and everything on the field too.

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