10 years, two World Series Championships, three MVP’s and the admiration of one of the best baseball cities in the country. Albert Pujols had it all.
Arguably the greatest player of this generation, the 31-year-old slugger has scorched the league since his St. Louis inception. After almost 450 HR and 2,073 hits, he seriously considered playing somewhere else after his 2011 World Series championship.
Sure, there would be teams clamoring for his services with rabid-like tenacity. The price for a player of his magnitude would be as steep as the long ball he hits, but the product would be worth it.
But, to think he was leaving St. Louis? Please.
What’s next, the Marlins going on an off-season shopping spree?
“For a certain amount of money, you’ll eat Alpo.” Reggie Jackson
On December 8, 2011, Albert Pujols signed a 10 year deal with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for an estimated $250-60 million. The sudden move sent shock waves through the winter meetings and the baseball atmosphere.
The heart and soul of the Cardinals was rumored to be re-signing yesterday, and today he’s in Disneyland forever.
His former team did not allow the burly first baseman to everlastingly jet to So Cal without a battle, of sorts.
However, their offer of $200 million fell well short of the Angels’ offer.
In addition to the Cardinals being left at the altar, Pujols also spurned the Marlins after being offered a contract rumored to be close to $300 million, due to Florida’s lack of income taxes.
Perhaps King Albert couldn't envision a life without “The Genius” Tony LaRussa manning the helm in St Louis, after the manager called it quits a few months ago. Maybe he accomplished everything he needed to for the Red Birds and simply wanted to put his St. Louis days behind him.
Whatever the case may be, Busch Stadium will never be the same again.
Fans of every team love the “hometown discount”. That extra special spot in our hearts that makes us believe we have that personal connection with the player. We only hope the sentiment is returned by the player when they sign with our team for less.
Pujols had an opportunity to be one of a dying breed. To play an entire Hall of Fame career with one team is becoming as rare as a day-night doubleheader.
Taking into consideration he’s made hundreds of million of dollars, it’s hard to understand how he could depart so abruptly from the only place he’s known for a few extra funds.
On Thursday afternoon, fans gathered outside of the slugger’s restaurant, suitably named “Pujols 5”, which had recently unveiled a bronze statue of the slugger. With feelings of betrayal and sorrow, they remembered the years they had with him.
In St. Louis, he left the diamond with the sweet taste of victory. Now, fans will have to digest the reality:
The King has left the building.
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