By John Kanelis / firstname.lastname@example.org
I don’t follow big-league baseball the way I once did.
My interest lies in too few players these days. One of them, my current favorite MLB player, has been cut from a team he joined a decade ago in one of the biggest deals in baseball history.
I am saddened to see Albert Pujols get the boot from the Los Angeles Angels.
Pujols is, as the saying goes, a serious “gamer.” He comes to play hardball the right way every time he suits up. He also is 41 years of age and his best years are long gone. The Angels believe it would be in the team’s best interest and in Pujols’ best interest to let him find a spot with another team that will enable him to play if not every day, then on most days.
That wasn’t meant to be for the Angels.
Why am I sad? Because a guy with Pujols’ stellar character and all that he has done to promote baseball positive image deserves better than what he got from the LA Angels. Spare me the lecture about how pro sports is big business. I get all that.
Still, an athlete who for the first half of his career playing for the St. Louis Cardinals put up utterly staggering offensive numbers — hits, home runs, runs batted in, batting average — to my mind had earned a more graceful and dignified exit than what he got from the Angels.
It’s unlikely Albert Pujols will put up the kind of offensive numbers he did when he was much younger were he to end up in another lineup. I just wish he could have left the Angels on his own terms.
One of the more thrilling scenes I’ve ever watched occurred when the Angels played the Cardinals in 2019. It marked Pujols’ return to St. Louis since he left the team. The reception he got from what he has called “the best fans in baseball” is stunning. Here is the link.