Cardinal baseball, from the girls
January 28, 2011Posted by on
I have felt rather guilty (as a Cardinal fan) for having these thoughts, but honestly,
I am tired of hearing about Albert Pujols.
For weeks I have been unable to muster the enthusiasm to read one more article, blog or interview about Mr. Pujols or his looming contract deadline. The topic is simply stale, all supposition. There has been nothing new or exciting to banter about concerning the future of Albert with the Cardinals for weeks (maybe months). Even the intelligent opinions have been recycled ad nauseum over the winter. How can something so important become…. well, so boring?
And more importantly…. why am I writing a blog about the very topic that bores me to tears?
Well, a few days ago I had a surprisingly engaging and fresh discussion about this very Albert topic, including the reasons why I think it is a waste of time and mental energy to discuss it further.
By the way, if you are still reading, thank you! I would have moved on after the title.
A Fresh Look At The Pujols Contract Saga – A True Story
The scene: Lunch hour at a busy Chili’s restaurant in Oklahoma City
The cast: Two dazzling ladies meeting for lunch.
The blonde – lives and breathes for the St. Louis Cardinals.
The brunette – relatively unbaseballed, but a great listener and friend.
After catching up on life, family and work, my charming and intelligent brunette friend asks me about baseball. (She doesn’t really care about the sport, but as one of my closest friends, knows how much I love to talk about it.) I sigh and tell her “there just isn’t all that much to talk about… other than Albert Pujols… and I am sooooo tired of talking about Albert.”
She looks at me, surprised and confused. My not talking about baseball is on par with Oprah’s not talking about light bulb moments … or something like that.
Her reply was “Albert Pujols? I think I’ve heard that name.” (She probably recognized it from the hours she has logged kindly lending an ear while I energetically prattle on and on about the Cardinals. Did I mention she is a really good friend?)
So, almost reluctantly, I fill her in on the very basic bullet points, expecting to leave it at that, thus completing my duty to enlighten any willing, listening ear on the current news of Cardinal baseball.
- Albert Pujols is the best player in baseball.
- Albert’s contract with the Cardinals will expire after this season, and he has said he will not continue contract negotiations once Spring Training has begun so as not to interfere with the 2011 season.
- Albert and the Cardinals have agreed that negotiations will not be played out in the press. So, we know little else.
What followed was a fresh and welcome discussion about how and why this contract negotiation is so very important to fans, St. Louis, the Cardinals, and baseball as a whole. Because my friend had no background or loyalty to the team, I had to turn the issue upside down, seeing it from an outsider’s point of view and start from scratch in order to explain (and justify) the very facts that have lulled me into a coma these past months.
I did my best to describe the angst felt by Cardinal fans at the thought of losing the “face of the franchise.” I explained the level of commitment Albert and his family have made to the St. Louis community. When challenged about the potential of this being just another example of greedy professional athletes, I shared stories of Albert’s character, dedication to his faith , his charitable spirit and his work with children affected by Down Syndrome. I found myself defending the justification of paying vast sums of money to an athlete because of his elite status compared to contracts of other marquee players and the important benchmark that a Pujols’ contract would set. We touched on the excesses of the sport, the responsibilities of ownership to the fans and realistic (versus unrealistic) expectations. We laughed, wondering if we (as average folk) would even notice a difference between earning 25 million and 30 million a year.
Our discussion brought me to the realization that while I may be exhausted by the stale discussion of “will he or won’t he,” I was pleased to discover that I do still care very deeply about the outcome of the Pujols contract negotiations.
So, if you too are weary of all the supposition, hearsay and stirred-up drama, thank you for spending your valuable time reading yet another blog on the topic. I am hopeful we will soon all be privy to the scrumptious details of what will surely be a history-making contract. Then we can move on to the “Did the Cardinals Overspend” debates.
Until then, I highly recommend attempting to explain the importance of the Albert Pujols’ contract to your Oprah-loving neighbor, your pen-pal from Germany or your two-year-old niece. Perhaps getting back to the basics will inspire in you a renewed appreciation for Mr. Pujols and the game of baseball… just long enough to get you through until the big announcement, or Opening Day.
Postscript: In an oddly ironic, yet timely twist of fate, the publisher of the new Albert Pujols biography contacted Diamond Diaries today offering to give three copies of the new book to our readers!
Keep checking back for your chance to win. Details coming soon!
If you can’t wait, you can preorder your copy here. It should release any day now on amazon and will hit bookstores on February 22nd.
It looks to be a welcome distraction… I wonder if there is a chapter on contract negotiations?