Wow! How things have changed in the past 48 hours. 2 days ago Cardinals fans were sure that Albert Pujols, the very beloved star athlete of our team, would sign a deal that would make him a Cardinal forever.
If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you know that I was more than a little annoyed by Albert leaving. I absolutely believe it is his right to leave and I can't sit here and say if I were in his situation (wouldn't that be great!) that I would or would not make that same choice. My frustration comes from a few things:
1. Just the sadness that he will no longer be a Cardinal. He's been in the uniform for 11 years and it just seems weird to think of him as an Angel now.
2. Albert is a first-round Hall of Famer. Sports is a business and I understand that but it would have been amazing for a Hall of Famer to spend their entire career with the Cardinals.
3. For those of you who aren't from St. Louis or you are not a Cardinals fan, it will be hard to understand this one but . . . Albert has made a point, as have all of the media covering him, how important faith, God, Christianity is to him. To be honest, it has almost been like a public relations campaign. In 2009, Albert Pujols stated:
"Do I want to be in St. Louis forever? Of course. People from other teams want to play in St. Louis, and they're jealous that we're in St. Louis because the fans are unbelievable. So why would you want to leave a place like St. Louis to go somewhere else and make $3 million or $4 more million a year? It's not about the money. I already got my money. It's about winning, and that's it."-Source
I hate to question someone else's values but it just seems to me if the fact that you have such strong values and faith has raised you to deity-status in St. Louis and you make a statement like the one above then how can you turn around and leave for essentially that $3 or $4 million a year over the course of 10 years?
But, as I stated above, I've never been actually faced with this question. It's easy to say what you would and wouldn't do until it hits you in the face which is what I believe happened to Pujols.
4. I'm not bitter that the Cardinals didn't sign Pujols. In fact, I think it would have been a horrible deal for them to wrap themselves up in a player for 10 years, $23M a year . . .not smart.
The St. Louis Cardinals and fans got the best years out of Albert Pujols. I'm sad that he didn't choose to stick it out with us as I know that Cardinals fans would have stuck it out with him even in his inevitable declining years.
Now, it's on to a new chapter. I'm excited for next season to start. A new manager, young players, and the World Series Champs. It's hard to stay bitter about all of that.
Thanks for the memories, Albert. I hope when you enter the Hall of Fame, you go in as a Cardinal.