Albert Pujols has officially been named the National League’s most valuable player for 2009.
This is Mr. Pujols’ third MVP honor, previously being named NL MVP in 2008 and 2005. Earlier this award season the St. Louis Cardinal first baseman collected his fifth Silver Slugger award and his second Hank Aaron award. 2009 also brought his eighth All-Star selection via the most votes of any player in either league and depending on your definition of “decade”; he was named the ‘Player Of’ this past one by The Sporting News.
In summary: Your resume sucks in comparison.
It used to be said that the most unfortunate job in baseball was being a first base farm hand for the Cardinals. You could be a combination of Derrick Lee, Mark Teixeira, and Adrian Gonzalez rolled into one and you’d have exactly a 0.0 percent chance of playing in Major League Baseball until you got traded or moved positions. But now?
Now it’s unfortunate to play baseball anywhere in the National League if you care about awards. Because Jose Alberto Pujols doesn’t regress. And your favorite player wasn’t better than him when Albert started.
He’s like a bad case of the herpes for the opposition- you think he’s going to eventually go away if you just ride out an outbreak of massive moon shots and frozen ropes. But he doesn’t. He won’t.
Here’s a short list of the statistics that Mr. Pujols led the league in for 2009: Home Runs, Runs, On Base Percentage, OPS, OPS+, Total Bases and Intentional Walks. Pretty much the best any team could even hope for, right?
Let’s ask El Hombre...Albert, what do you think? “I had a nice season, but it could have been better. We didn’t accomplish our goals and that’s partly my fault.”
STOP IT. You egomaniac! I don’t know if I should slap some sense into his face or eat a piece of Apple Pie. You’re going to get a reputation with such bombast, sir.
Want to know the best part? He hasn’t turned 30 yet. (As far as we know, but still.) That means the best four to six years of this Dominican monster’s career are theoretically STILL AHEAD.
For the foreseeable future, the St. Louis Cardinals will be anchored by the best player in baseball, who also happens to be the best player in baseball from the past 50 years. And if you want to argue that last point, bet me. I’ll take Pujols’ career to date plus the next 10 years. As much as you want.
The past nine seasons of Pujols have been a warmup. The opening act. The appetizer before the meal. He’s three MVP’s down and just getting started with the meat of his career. He’s a Hall of Fame player now with a hall of fame career ahead of him if he was a rookie again.
He’s the one player in baseball that we will go to our grave telling people that whatever youngster they’re talking about is not one-tenth of Albert.
I think I just heard a Cub fan do a Wrigley urinal slide .
In fact, Albert’s SO great, here are three moments you completely forgot about, but happened just this year:
1) He knocked the ‘I’ out of Big Mac Land . McDonald’s got their money’s worth of advertising with one swing as The Machine went top tank on the signage above left field. Those things aren’t built without some heft- that shot was heavy.
2) He beat Shaq in a HR Derby . In the middle of the season, AP took Mr. O’Neal to the woodshed, decimating any shred of manhood this 7’0" giant thought he had. Even when ABC heavily edited the contest to air- it still ended up being a blowout. Most athletes took this Shaq Vs. show at its face value: a lark. Mr. Pujols didn’t. He competes. That’s what he does.
3) He shot his first SportsCenter commercial spot . Not the most spirited writing, but he still was able to convince John Anderson and Steve Levy to back the F up before he dealt with their punk asses. Look for at least a local Emmy before the end of 2010.
On a personal note, this column was very hard to write. Covering the Cardinals for years now, I can personally attest to how hard it is to write an original knob-slobbing piece on Albert Pujols. Just when you think you’re going over the top—he proves you to be woefully short on praise. You write A, he does A and then B and usually C, too. And on it goes.
So all we can really say at this point is this; Congratulations and Thank You, Albert. You’re the MVP for 2009. We didn’t expect less, but you still over-delivered.