Are The St. Louis Cardinals Really Going To Let Albert Pujols Slip Away?

Ray TannockSenior Analyst IFebruary 15, 2011

PITTSBURGH - SEPTEMBER 23:  Albert Pujols #5 of the St Louis Cardinals rounds the bases after hitting his second home run of the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the game on September 23, 2010 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Can the St. Louis Cardinals afford to let Albert Pujols slip through the cracks? Could the St. Louis fanbase even fathom the notion of their beloved team without their adored first baseman?

Well considering that possibility could perhaps become reality, the Gateway City may well be facing a heavy aftershock of seismic proportions.

The ripple-effect of marquee players leaving for greener pastures is a situation that all teams—and their fans—inevitably have to deal with at some point:

Brett Favre to the Jets, and then to the Vikings of all teams; the irony of Mark Teixeira—California’s “Angel”—going to the evil empire known as the New York Yankees; and of course, the coup de grace, LeBron James leaving the deprived Cleveland area for the lavish life in Miami.

Well, move over boys, there’s a new coal burning on the hot stove and the media collective are waiting on bated breath for something—or someone—to give in St. Louis.

The news of Albert Pujols and his ongoing contract saga, shouldn’t be an antique headline. Contract talks, questions of Pujols even attending spring training, and even speculation of the MLBPA being involved have taken a stranglehold on just about every major sports site across the country.

But it doesn’t stop there.

Rumors of rival teams champing at the bit for Pujols’ upcoming free agency—such as the Chicago Cubs, and their “supposed” 10-year, $275 million deal just waiting on the table to be presented—have added just enough fuel to a fire already out of control.

But while the organization and the player, throw down negotiating “fisticuffs,” the St. Louis fanbase is caught in the cross fire.

The Cardinals’ organization and their faithful followers, have already been through the mire and back thanks to their current hitting coach—and previous adored first baseman—Mark McGwire.

As if that whole debacle isn’t enough, this team hasn’t even been to a World Series since 2006.

How possible would it be to get to the Fall Classic without the face of the franchise?

The purpose of this little piece isn’t so much to delve into who’s right and who’s wrong in this chronicle, but rather, what type of long-term effect it will have on this organization and their congruent fanbase—a fanbase that quite frankly has been through enough.

If Albert Pujols wants a long-term deal, then there should be no qualms about inking such a contract. Let us not forget, this is a player who bleeds Cardinal Red, and requests such a deal to ensure that he will be a part of this great city and their supporting cast for years to come—a difficult achievement in this modern day world of sports.

The aforementioned modern day of sports doesn’t always favor what is right, in regard to the player and the fans, but there always seems to be obvious exceptions that just make sense.

For instance: You should entertain signing Pujols to a 10-year deal; you should not entertain signing Colby Rasmus to a 10-year deal.

In the grand scheme of things, it is the opinion of this writer that Albert Pujols stays—no matter what the cost. Is that statement a bit premature, even made in haste? Perhaps.

But, there is little room to argue against this player’s stance, a player that has the right to possibly, one day, become an indelible mark in St. Louis Cardinal history.