Livan Hernandez was targeted for termination.
In Thursday’s ballgame between the St. Louis Cardinals and the New York Mets, Cardinals’ first baseman Albert Pujols went 3-for-4 with a walk and hit two home runs off Hernandez. Phat Albert now has six home runs on the season and 21 RBI.
Let me explain to you just how freakishly good Albert Pujols is.
He broke into the majors in 2001 at the age of 21 and played in an unheard of 161 out of 162 games his rookie year. He hit 37 home runs and batted .329. Without a doubt, he won the NL Rookie of the Year Award.
He hasn’t slowed down a bit since then.
He’s been in the majors only eight-plus seasons and has career totals of 325 home runs, 997 RBI, and a batting average of .334. Oh, and he’s also won a Gold Glove Award at first base.
It was widely thought after the Mitchell Report that Alex Rodriguez was going to be the savior of baseball.
Pujols is the savior of baseball. He is not the jewel of the game because of his statistics, although they certainly help fill out an astounding resume, but his work off the field is what makes him one of the best.
He and his wife set up the Pujols Family Foundation, a foundation for those afflicted by Down Syndrome and their families, after his daughter was born with Down Syndrome. The Foundation also reaches out to his native Dominican Republic, a nation crippled with poverty.
There is nothing bad that can be said about this guy. He has never trashed the fans, has never acted bigger than the game, and as far as we know, hasn’t been ‘roided up.'
Now, we said the same thing about A-Rod, but A-Rod isn’t the man Pujols is. Few baseball players are.
Now let’s look at Pujols’ career and see what injustices have been done to him.
In 2002 and 2003, Albert Pujols came in second to Barry Bonds in MVP voting. This simply will not do. Not only does Bonds carry an egomaniacal persona, he is also a ‘roid freak for the purpose of feeding the beast that paid attention to him.
So we’ll just go ahead and give Pujols those two MVP’s. He won the award outright in 2005 and 2008, so his total should be four NL MVPs. Pujols lost the 2006 award to Ryan Howard, who had a beast year in 2006.
A-Rod is stuck on zero championships in zero World Series appearances. Bonds also never won a ring, because the baseball gods do not reward those who disrespect the game.
Pujols should put up another high-caliber year on his way to the Hall of Fame. Enjoy him while you can. Players who perform as well off the field as they do on it don’t come around very often.