A Message to Albert Pujols and All Big-Named Free Agents: Beware Who You Hug

Chris MurphyAnalyst IMay 12, 2011

Apparently, St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols can no longer hug someone without it being sprayed all over the sports stratosphere as some kind of news.

Pujols hugged Chicago Cubs GM Jim Hendry Tuesday night before the two teams opened up a three-game series. It was indeed a two-armed hug around the waist, but Pujols did not elevate Hendry in the air, which is only saved for BFFs who have not seen one another for an extended period of time.

Yes, Pujols could be a free agent after the season and not only will the Chicago Cubs have money coming off the books (around $45 million), but the Cubs will also have an opening at first base with Carlos Pena being just a one-year signing.

But, come on, people—it's a hug.

Pujols has been on the other side of the Cubs-Cardinals rivalry for his entire career and I'm sure he and Hendry have shared a kind word or two in a few of those instances.

Just listen to the men involved in the free agent embrace heard around the sports world:

"I have a good relationship with Albert," Hendry told Sports Illustrated.

"We'd have that if he wasn't the best player in the world. I told you guys in spring training I wasn't going to be any different to him than I have been in the last eight or nine years. Great guy, great player."

Pujols told the St. Louis Post Dispatch the hug pub was ridiculous. As hugs usually are, it was just a greeting between two people who respect one another—unless it's those one-armed hugs around the shoulder you do to the hated girlfriend of your best friend.

"He's on the other side. I'm on our side. I just think it's kind of ridiculous," he said. "Three writers came and talked to me about that and the contract. Are you serious? C’mon."

Are we going to assume Pujols' family is going to sign him or he's going to retire if he hugs any of his four children or wife?

I understand with the Internet, everything is news, but it's just a hug. With the LeBron James free agent summer, are we now going to follow every tiny move any big-named free agent ever makes?

Baseball has tampering rules preventing any team officials from conversing with players from other teams about their future or contract status, but hugs tend to be a gray area.

Wake me up if Pujols and Hendry start making out or if there's some kind of relevant action by the Cubs or Pujols that isn't something Barney or Mr. Rogers would sing about.