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True Success Comes from Adversity

by: Brian F. Logush

Before I get too deep into this piece, I'd like to remind all Cardinal fans of one thing: Albert Pujols is not, I repeat, NOT LeBron James. I have seen that floated around all day, and it isn't even close to the same thing. Pujols wasn't born and raised in the St. Louis area. He didn't make up his mind weeks ago, have ESPN dedicate a whole show on his announcement and tell Peter Gammons that he was taking his bats to SoCal. He didn't throw use his foundation as a cover-up while doing it. Albert Pujols is a far better human being than LeBron James. Remember that.

Now, onto business.

Shock. Disbelief. A Mistake. Those are the words that immediately came to mind when I read on Twitter that Albert Pujols had signed a ten-year contract with the California Angels. After days of having the Miami Marlins shoved down our throats as the team to sign Number 5, they backed off, having signed an under-rated starter (Mark Buehrle, 4-year/$58 million), a solid closer (Heath Bell, 3-year/$27 million), and the reigning NL Batting Champion (Jose Reyes, 6-year/$108 million). I suppose they figure that was enough for one offseason. Then, late Wednesday, reports of the dreaded "mystery team" surfaced, and Cardinal fans felt a touch more uneasy. Was there really a team lying low, waiting for the Marlins to leave so they could jump in and scavenge the market? Was it just Dan Lozano with gamesmanship, trying to get the Cardinals to panic and overpay? Doubtful. John Mozeliak wouldn't fall for that. Wow. We sure are paying Matt Holliday a lot of money to drop fly balls in crucial situations and have small insects fly into his slightly larger-than-average skull. Anyway....

But once I accepted the fact that when the Cardinals and Marlins meet on Opening Day there was going to be a glaring omission from the line-up and ceremony, I started to understand and appreciate what the Cardinals didn't do. I applaud Mozeilak and DeWitt for standing their ground, and refusing to give in to demands that were, in a business sense, asinine.
Unless a player is twenty-two and bionic, there is no way, and The Rock means NO WAY, to justify a ten-year contract. And you especially don't give out a contract of that length to a man who takes eight seconds to run to first base and, in all likelihood, will not play out his entire contract due to injuries.

By not spending $250 million plus on one player, Mozeliak and Co. have some room to fix gaping holes on the roster. With Furcal likely gone, Allen Craig fresh off the operating table, and no proven shortstop on the roster who can give you 140 or so games and perform adequately, maybe the team takes a run at Jimmy Rollins. It's too bad the Pujols saga went on the way it did, otherwise the club might have had a shot at local-boy Buehrle to shore up the rotation. Ryan Madsen would be a nice piece in the bullpen to help get to Jason Motte, as would Andrew Brackman.

This is the best option for the future of the club. They aren't tied down to one player for the next decade. They now have a chance to make their team better, and while having Pujols at first base for the rest of his career would be great for him, for us as fans, and for baseball, since there is rarely a player with one team for their entire career. But that ideology is gone as Pujols, like Fievel, heads West to start a new chapter of his life.

Good luck, Albert. You helped bring this team three pennants, two World Championships, and jaw-dropping post-season moments (hey, Brad Lidge is available!) You are a three-time MVP, Gold Glove and Silver Slugger recipient, and renowned humanitarian. I don't blame you for taking the money and leaving St. Louis. I can't say I wouldn't have done the same thing. What bothers me is what you said a few years ago. "It's not about the money. I've got my money. It's about winning and that's it."

I don't see where California gives you a better chance of winning than St. Louis. That's my concern. You talk about how you would listen to your family, to your God. My fear is you gave your agent an equal say, and you let him drown out the people closest to you.

Cardinal fans shouldn't be mad at Albert Pujols. It's for the best, people. It's not like he signed with the Cubs.

Don't forget to follow me on Twitter: @Brian_Logush, for all things St. Louis sports and world going-ons.

1 comment:

  1. This article says it all!!! I think you are exactly right about him saying it wasn't about the money, it clearly was. I also agree about him letting his agent have more control than his family and or his god, very rarely does god lead you to take the money. Cardinals will be cardinals, we will pick up someone else and we will still win like we always do. Great article though!!

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