From Legend to Just Great: It Really Is All About the Money

The older I get, the less value I see in vitriol.

I am trying not to be angry right now.

But I am hurt.

I’m human.  And humans have feelings — feelings that, obviously, get hurt.  I understand Albert Pujols had some hurt feelings too, because Ryan Howard — a mere scrub in comparison — was making more money than him.

Boo hoo.

Once again, a professional athlete tells the world with his actions that the fans don’t really matter — that having statues erected in one’s honor, charitable foundations in one’s namesake and a universal key to the city, forever and ever and ever just ain’t worth a pass at a few extra million.

The Cardinals will be fine.  Maybe they go hard after Prince now.  Or maybe they just move Lance to first and let Freese and Craig become superstars hitting in front of and behind Matt Holliday.  Maybe they go and get Jimmy Rollins or one of a bazillion other high value free agents.

But Albert Pujols’ legacy will not be fine.  No longer will we mention him among legendary Cardinals like Gibson, Brock and Ozzie.  His seat next to Stan the Man is no longer available.

That was Albert’s choice.

Pujols will be remembered as a great Cardinal, yes, but one who, in the end, was all about the money.  I thank him for all the memories — memories I will hold dear to my heart until the day I die.

But now there’s no denying that those memories will always be bittersweet.  And there’s nothing I can do about it.  In the end, the fans don’t matter.  And that’s just a reality we’re all going to have to deal with on our own.

Peace,

Jeff

14 Comments

Condolences, Jeff. Sincerely. But the Cardinals didn’t win a WS by Albert alone. They’ll be just fine.

Thanks, Jane. I wish I felt better. I will, eventually. I know the Cards are still good without him, but, it’s just not gonna be the same.

In the end, it’s usually all about money with these guys. Unless they have the character of Jeff Bagwell or Craig Biggio. I know they took pay cuts to stay with the Astros.

I can understand what you are feeling to some extent, as I’ve been feeling it as an Astros fan the last couple of years. Rebuilding mode sucks. It’s like rats running from a sinking ship but now…the fans are joining them. I have to admit, I’m not feeling like an LOLstros fan at this juncture.

Thanks for the sentiment, Austin. The odd thing about this situation is that we’re nowhere close to rebuilding mode. We have arguably the best 1-2 punch in starting pitching (rivaling the Phils) plus Holliday, Berkman, Yadi and two future starts in Freese/Craig. Albert’s walking away from all that — a chance to be on top for a long, long time. And as much as he will say it’s what GOD and JESUS wanted him to do, we all know he’s full of b.s. It’s about $$$. Pure. And. Simple. Why would god and jesus want so many St. Louisians to be crying their eyes out for days to come? Makes no sense other than: it’s all for that pay-puh.

I debated whether it was appropriate to drop by and comment. If we lived in the same town, I would offer to buy you a drink and then depart the premises so you could enjoy it without any Halos reminders. Of course it was about the money. It’s almost always all about the money and even when it’s not, it’s still mostly about the money. And while I certainly am not going to complain about landing Pujols (for the first five years or so at least – 10 years is ludicrous), it would actually have appealed more to my sense of right and lingering baseball romanticism if Pujols had stayed with the Cardinals. But, as the World Series showed, Pujols is a great player but he was hardly the Cardinals only strength or even their greatest strength. Especially with Wainwright coming back, the Cards are going to be fine.
– Kristen

We’re all friends here, Kristen, so I’m glad you stopped by. I will pretend you bought me this Bell’s Amber on my desk ;-) As the day has progressed the anguish has become less destructive, so I’m hoping I will get over it quickly. Like I told Austin though, I really dislike when players try to act like it’s not about the money — and I assure you Albert will; been listening to his Jesus speeches for 11 years now — when clearly that’s all this is about. No hard feelings towards the Halos or their fans. Y’all are great. Remember, as a NoHo’er, I frequented the Big A (even got caught wearin’ their duds if you recall). You guys are set to bash and I wish you all the best. Hopefully we get to meet in the World Series. Wouldn’t that be something!?!?
–Jeff

I’m sort of glad that IF he’s leaving, it’s to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim of California North of Mexico But Not the Pacific Northwest of the United States of America of North America. The Halos are an easy team to get behind, whereas I’d be unbelievably depressed if he’d become a Yankee or Cub, or if they had to face him several times a year.

Just speaking for myself, I really don’t begrudge the guy for making the choice he did. I’m most bummed because for 11 years, I could scrounge up a ticket for $20 or less, drive a few miles into the city from the Hill, and witness greatness the likes of which the game of baseball has rarely seen. And now, I can’t do that anymore.

John, it’s devastating. I feel your pain. I really, really do. And you make a good point about Los Anaheim. They are nice people down there.

Jeff, I’m actually disappointed, too. My gut told me he was staying put in SL. He had a rare opportunity to change the way superstars are viewed by the fans and media, but the almighty dollar won out in the end. Just more proof that us normal people just can’t relate to high end pro athletes anymore. In this era todays fans really shouldn’t invest in a certain player, but just the team (execpt for the classy former players you mentioned). Personally, the only Tigers player shirt I have has ‘Fidrych’ on the back. The Cards are still the greatest franchise in the history of the National League, and no doubt the fans and franchise will persevere.
–Mike

Mike, you’re right. My innocence is gone forever from this game. I still love it and will follow its every aspect, but I’m loyal to the uni and culture. No more doting on players.
–Jeff

I would have loved to see him in a Cubs jersey on Opening Day, but I really thought he would stay with the Cards.

As for getting over it, you won’t……ever! I never got over Greg Maddux leaving, and he wasn’t here as long as Pujols was in STL.

Little different situation with Maddux I think though, WR. The Cubs didn’t make a respectable offer to him. And Maddux didn’t even take the most money offered (Yanks threw a ton at him). Maddux went where he knew he could win and be a part of something special.

I’ll get over it. Believe me. I have abandoned any hope of nostalgia or legacy being a part of the modern game. I’ve been awakened. It’s the birds-on-the-bat for me. No one player can ever trump that.

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