Since entering the league in 2001, Albert Pujols has never been “the man” in Major League Baseball.
Not in terms of talent, mind you. Pujols plays second-fiddle to nobody between the foul lines.
Talent-wise he has no equal.
Rather, Pujols always seemed to come up short in terms of marketability, Q-rating, jerseys sold, or whatever ridiculous non-baseball statistic Bud Selig’s band of merry men have been using for years when deciding which superstar to push as the “face” of Major League Baseball.
Albert Pujols is a once in a lifetime talent. Every single thing he does on the baseball field only adds to his rapidly expanding legacy.
Pujols, 29, has been consistently amazing since his first day in the league.
During his rookie season at a mere 21-years-old, Pujols raked to the tune of .329/.403/.610 with 37 homers and 130 RBI.
Since then, he's been putting up nearly identical numbers year in and year out. He bats at least .330, hits between 30 and 50 homers, never makes a mistake on the bases, and plays near flawless defense.
Every single year.
Eight-and-a-half years in a row.
Despite his achievements, it seems that every season someone else gets pushed as the “best in baseball” or as a “more deserving” MVP candidate than Pujols.
For years it was Barry Bonds. Since then, it’s been an assortment of media darlings from Ryan Howard to Alex Rodriguez to Manny Ramirez and many others in-between.
It seems that no matter how good Pujols is, no one is ever impressed. Perhaps Pujols is a victim of his own talent. It seems that people have run out of adjectives and adulations for him.
His demeanor never changes. He swings, he crushes the ball into the stratosphere, and he rounds the bases.
He's the most consistent player in all of baseball.
He's the most consistent professional athlete on the planet.
He may be the most consistent player in any sport ever.
This year that has all changed. Pujols is on pace to shatter many of his career highs and perhaps win the all-elusive Triple Crown. There is no longer any room for another name to sneak into the conversation, Pujols is the best.
End of argument.
Additionally, both Manny Ramirez and Alex Rodriguez have been linked to performance-enhancers and, as such, neither is an All-Star. It seems that baseball is finally turning to Pujols to serve as the face of the game.
Pujols is the perfect candidate for the role. He is young, dominant, and—most importantly—he has never been legitimately accused of cheating in any way, shape, or form.
Honestly, it’s hard to envision Pujols taking an aspirin, let alone PEDs. He is the white knight that baseball has been looking for in the wake of the Mitchell Report, the “A-Roid” saga, and the Manny suspension.
Pujols IS Major League Baseball, and this entire week of All-Star festivities is his official coming out party to the entire country.
When the week comes to a close and Pujols has completed his obligations—which include: the State Farm Home Run Derby, catching the first pitch from President Barack Obama, and attempting to lead the National League to a victory in the All-Star game for the first-time since 1996—he will no doubt be a household name to baseball fans from coast-to-coast.
More so, by week’s end, Pujols should finally be seen as the face of Major League Baseball.
And it’s about darn time.