We continue our look at the 2011 season as the main story line of the season (we expected) showed up to spring training and kicked off Albertgeddon.
Albertgeddon Is Here
The clock is ticking loudly. Only a few brief hours remain before talks are broken off and the fears of Cardinal Nation are finally realized: Albert Pujols will become a free agent at the end of the year.
There were a lot of rumors floating around Twitter last night. One had the team mulling an eighth year. One had Pujols asking for a portion of ownership. Lots of talk, but no action and there’s little to say that any of it had much basis in fact.
From the Joe Strauss story, it appears that the first offer the Cardinals tossed out there paid Pujols less on average than Ryan Howard. If that’s true, it’s no wonder that things haven’t been going smoothly. You are going to offer a player that is miles ahead of Howard less money than him? That’ll get you off on the right foot. You may not agree that the Howard contract is a good one (and most people don’t) but you have to recognize it as law of the land, as it were, and bid accordingly.
However things come out today, it’s worth remembering two points. One, Pujols will be with us through the 2011 season and has a team around him that can likely contend for postseason glory. Two, there’s no guarantee he’ll walk at the end of the season. It’s likely that he’ll come back after testing the market.
That said, the idea of Pujols in a Cubs uniform will probably wake me up in the middle of the night at least 10 times this season. You hate to let uncertainty into any equation, and that’s what free agency is. Sure, it’s likely he’ll come back…..but not guaranteed.
If nothing else, we got a strong symbol of what a player can be to a city yesterday, as Stan Musial received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. It was really neat to see pictures of the current crop of Cardinals watching the Man get honored. I enjoyed watching the ceremony, though obviously when you watch with a bias toward one person, you feel like they are getting shorted. I’m sure the President spoke about the same length of time for each honoree, but I felt like he could have spoken much more about Stan, to recognize the Stand for Stan push that got him there, to talk about his life and legacy in St. Louis. Again, though, I realize that it was a personal bias and totally irrational. What was great was seeing Stan up there, resplendent in his red blazer, standing out from the boring blue and black suits. (BTW, White House announcer dude–next time, practice the names, will ya? How could you butcher Musial like that?)
I hope that Albert was watching and maybe he realized that, with his off-the-field work, if he stayed in St. Louis there’s a strong chance that in 50 years or so there could be a “Push for Pujols” campaign to get him an honor like that. Would there be anywhere else that he was a hired gun?
We’ll talk about a lot of this on the UCB Radio Hour tonight. As I noted in the last night’s post, Scott Lamb will be with us to talk about his new book and how he reconciles what happened today with what he wrote. Should be fun.
For now, I’ll leave you with the chorus of the official theme song of Albertageddon, “I Don’t Want To Miss A Mang”.
Don’t want to close my eyes
Don’t want to miss a tweet
‘Cause it’s Albert, baby
And I don’t want to miss a MangGotta know when Strauss says boo
Derrick and Buster Olney too
‘Cause it’s Albert, baby
And I don’t want to miss a Mang