Thursday, February 17, 2011

Pujols's Sincerity Is Receeding Faster Than His Hairline

As a baseball fan I've become very jaded over the years in some aspects. Greed, steroids, making racial and ethnic slurs in public, slamming the ownership and the manager, banging everything that moves, and generally acting like a class-1 ass clown has become as commonplace in baseball as a Lindsey Lohan arraignment hearing. Naturally you'd assume that Albert Pujols's latest comments about his future as a Cardinal would fall under my umbrella of disillusionment.
Well you' be wrong. Dead wrong.
Pujols's comments to the media at Cardinals' spring training in Jupiter Florida today were more disingenuous than an episode of "Glenn Beck" on FoxNews. His comments that "You have to put a deadline....because you don't want to bring distractions to the ballclub" and "I want to be a Cardinal forever" would be hilarious if they weren't so insulting to Cardinals' fans and management.
After the posturing, offers, counter-offers, and circus show antics that have gone on in recent weeks, how can Pujols possibly play the I--don't--want--to--bring--any--distractions--to--the--ball--club card? MTV's Jersey Shore has less drama than this fiasco. It is starting to make the Derek Jeter/New York Yankee episode look tame by comparison. Guess what Albert? Your contract situation is already a distraction, has been for weeks, and will continue to be so throughout the season. Putting a deadline on contract negotiation talks is equivalent to putting Val Kilmer on a diet. Neither action is going to produce the required effect. Speculation will reign about your future with the Cardinals whether you have a deadline or not.
Abraham Lincoln once said, "You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time." Well Pujols isn't fooling anyone, especially me, when he makes claims that he wants to be a Cardinal forever. Really?? So that's why he's allegedly turned down every offer from the Cardinals, all of which were in the excess of $200 million dollars and/or a stake in the franchise? That's why he's pushing for a reported ten year $300 million dollar deal? It sounds to me like Pujols is willing to be a Cardinal for life if, and only if, the money is right.
Speaking of money, Pujols and agent Dan Lozano have refuted manager Tony La Russa's claims that the players association put pressure on them to "set the bar" on the new contract. Interesting. On a related note I also believe in Santa Claus. As sure as the bird on St. Louis's uniforms is the color red, you better believe the players association put pressure on Pujols and Lozano to have a record breaking contract. How can I believe otherwise? These kind of shenanigans have been occurring for decades going back to the groundbreaking contract Cecil Fielder signed in the 80s. The MLB players association is the gold standard and the envy of every labor organization worldwide. It is a union president's nocturnal emission. For decades the players association has had a stranglehold on labor negotiations. The Pujols case is just another power play in the ongoing chess game between players and owners.
Realistically I have no idea how the Cardinals and Pujols are going to make this work. Neither side seems to be backing down. The Cardinals payroll is going to be in the $100 to $110 million neighborhood this year and isn't likely to change in the near future. They've already publicly stated they can't go into the huge money ranges that the Yankees and Red Sox are accustomed to. I really can't blame the Cardinals for choosing the fiscally conservative route either. Why be held hostage to a titanic contract that allows no wiggle room to acquire starting pitching, bullpen relief, utility infielders, or re-sign quality veteran players? Sad to say that St. Louis fans may not have Pujols for much longer. It's tragic because he is as iconic to that town as Stan Musial.
Too bad that "The Machine" continues to produce more garbage with each sentence he utters.

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