Let me add to the chorus currently sweeping the baseball land: Wow. Holy s@#t!
If I once thought it unlikely the Mets would ever let Jose Reyes -- their signature player -- walk, I thought it impossible the Cardinals would ever let it come to that for Albert Pujols, who is only one of the handful of greatest baseball players ever, homegrown, native to St. Louis and the best and signature player on two World Series champions.
But there it is. Albert Pujols will apparently play in Anaheim, or Los Angeles, or wherever the hell the Angels play their baseball games.
I'm still bitter about Reyes being allowed to walk to a division rival, but that's nothing next to what just happened to Cardinal fans, who lose arguably the greatest player since Willie Mays, and who look poised to contend for most of the Pujols contract. Sports, as everyone will be telling you today, is a business, after all. But sometimes, two parties have the same interest. I can't help but feeling that Pujols and St. Louis both would've been better served compromising. Maybe St. Louis pays a little more than it was willing and Pujols takes a little less than he got.
The guy always seemed inhuman, not only because the things he did on a baseball field occur so rarely as to seem impossible. But there was something about the stoic, surly Pujols, toiling away in semi-obscurity with his hometown team, staking claim to an insane legacy of awesomeness while the not-quite-as-awesome Derek Jeter, A-Rod, Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz, Jose Reyes, David Wright and others garnered the attention that would normally be reserved for a candidate to be considered the greatest of all-time.
Now? He's sort of like A-Rod, another guy who chased the biggest paycheck. Maybe, like A-Rod, he won't find that to his liking.
Of course, that's probably not the case. The Angels have Dan Haren, Jerred Weaver, Ervin Santana, Mike Trout, Peter Borjous, and Howie Kendrick to go with Pujols. They have Kendry Morales as trade bait. They even appear likely to sign CJ Wilson. By all objective standards, they are among the favorites to win the World Series next year. Plus wherever the hell the Angels actually play their games, it's sunny and it's warm. You can't discount that as a factor.
But I can't help feeling that the bloom is off the rose with Pujols. That's not fair to him, but it's how I feel. For some reason I always thought he was above this -- more like Tim Duncan, a relatively anonymous all-time great who stayed with one mid-market team for his career, winning rings and being paid handsomely for it. I had no reason to think he was any more likely to take loyalty over a seemingly insignificant increase in salary (what's the different between $200 and $220m after all?), but I thought it.
I harbored similar illusions about Reyes. Thought he loved New York so much that he couldn't possibly skip town. That was obviously a ridiculous notion in retrospect, and I held it because I believed what I wanted to, all evidence to the contrary. But that doesn't make it hurt any less. Only more. The same likely goes for the Cardinal fans right now, who, I'm guessing thought, in the end, there's no way Pujols would ever leave.
So if this kind of split is good enough Prince Albert and the Cardinals, it's good enough for Reyes and the Mets, isn't it? Don't worry St. Louis fans, I'll never get over 2006, but I'll drink one for you guys in spirit tonight, because I know how you feel.
Bring on the LOLCardinals.