Help Me Albert Pujols, You're My Only Hope

chris daviesAnalyst IFebruary 20, 2009

If you had been paying attention to ESPN today, you may have seen the bottom line scroll this lovely new bit of information: "Primobolan was not available for legal purchase, over-the-counter or with a prescription in the Dominican Republic between 2001 and 2003."

Does this ring a bell?: "A-Rod connected to steroid-linked trainer Angel Presinal."

After his lackluster press conference that left more questions than answers, A-Rod's fall from grace has deepened. His ubiquitous press conference left many reporters questioning his honesty as well. After journalists answered some of these unanswered questions, it seems that they have cracked his armor and discovered the cowardly liar underneath.

At first it seemed as though he had learned from the mistakes of Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Rafael Palmeiro, and other steroid users. His almost tearful admission had me convinced that maybe he was telling us the truth. It seemed like he wanted to be on a different page in history than these previous steroid users. It seemed so simple: tell the truth, be forgiven.

We didn't get the truth though. We got fragments and unanswered or hole-ridden answers. Those holes have been filled now, and the Yankees no longer have a third basemen.

They have a joke.

There will be no escaping the media for Rodriguez this season, maybe ever. No matter how many times he says "I'm done talking about that," the questions will never go away.

So what is baseball to do now? With its highest paid player, once a figure of the utmost respect, now no better than a cheater. Where does it turn?

The answer is simple: Albert Pujols.

For several years now, I have argued that Pujols has been the best player in baseball. Without the "'roided-out" monster Bonds, he would have three MVP awards already.

If we compare A-Rod's performance-enhanced numbers to Albert's numbers, Pujols was as good as the cheating A-Rod.

Batting Average:

A-Rod - '01: .318, '02: .300, '03: .298

Pujols - '01: .329, '02: .314, '03: .359

Home Runs:

A-Rod - '01: 52, '02: 47, '03: 57

Pujols - '01: 37, '02: 34, '03: 43


A-Rod - '01: 135, '02: 142, '03: 118

Pujols - '01: 130, '02: 127, '03: 124

In these categories, we only see a slight edge for A-Rod over Pujols. Considering that Rodriguez was five years older than Pujols, the statistical gap between him and Pujols should be bigger.

So what can baseball do? Attach yourself to the image of Pujols: a clean ball player, a player with no controversy, a player who won the Roberto Clemente Award in 2008 for his outstanding community service work.

Just do whatever you can to distance yourself from the tarnishing image of Rodriguez and bring the game back to the prestigious level it needs and deserves to be at.