Albert Pujols - Los Angeles Angels
Los Angeles - What to Expect?
If you are a fan of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, or whatever you are calling yourselves this year, you may be wondering what to expect from your new first baseman, Albert Pujols.
As a lifelong Cardinals fan, it is hard right now not to view him as a traitor. In fact, I actually thought there was a good chance he would leave St. Louis, but now that it has happened, my reaction is not what I thought it would be.
If I were to have written this before the news, I would be waxing about what a great man he is. Untainted by the steroid era, die-hard Christian, devoted father, entrepreneur and charitable leader. I have no reason to think he won't be all of those things in Anaheim, but I do wonder how he will fit in in Hell-A.
Los Angeles seems like a Sin City, far from the baseball town of St. Louis. Los Angelenes have many baseball teams to choose from, so it will be interesting to see if the Angels draw fans away from the Dodgers. I wonder how his Christian schtick will play in the land of Hollywood and TV, but I am confident that the burgeoning Hispanic population in California will be glad that Albert is there.
It is sad to see that he simply chased the money. I actually thought he would be THE ONE professional athlete who would put money second. After all, he is "from" Missouri, has built a life for his family there, and has established the Pujols Family Foundation's roots so deeply in the region. I feel like a fool for thinking that because he was a Christian, and that he said he wanted to be a Cardinal for life, that he would somehow transcend the horrifying money trend in professional baseball.
So now Pujols becomes the highest paid first baseman, and perhaps earns the machismo respect that he so deserves. We now wait for him to speak, to say why he is leaving. I have seen him being compared to LeBron James, and some even saying that he is worse. The Cardinals built a team around Albert, whereas the Cavaliers failed to do so for LeBron. The Cardinals gave him another World Series in 2011, because it is clear that he did not carry the team this year. But with Tony LaRussa retiring, maybe it is time for a change, a new era.
I sincerely hope that California taxes eat away all the "extra" money he received from the Angels. Knowing Albert, he would say that more money in his pocket is simply more money he can donate to his charity, or to the needy people of his homeland - the Dominican Republic.
The only real winner here is Dan Lozano, Pujols' agent, and all sports agents. It was a disgusting spectacle to watch them float rumors of what team was offering what, in an effort to bid the price up as high as possible.
The fault really lies with the Cardinals for not aggressively locking Albert down a few years ago. A ten year contract when he was 27 or 28 may have made him a Redbird for life. Now we can only watch number 5 as he dons a new red, Angels red.
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