Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Great Albert Pujols

Albert Pujols is arguably one of the best players ever to play the game of baseball.  He has always done things right.  As best as I know, he is old school.  Come to work, work hard, prepare well, have fun.  Play the game with integrity.  He has spent his whole career in a St Louis Cardinal uniform.  All this is true....until now.

This is a contract year for him.  He is in the last year of his contract, so after the World Series, he will become a free agent.  The goal of the team, and Albert, was to sign him to a new contract, before  he ever hits the open market.  Both wanted to get it done.  So it seemed.  Both agreed on a deadline (yesterday) to get it done.  Neither side wanted to let this situation become a distraction to the team or their season. 

The deadline came and went.  No deal.  Surprised?  No, not really.  Until you hear of what actually went down.

Everyone who claims they are experts, claimed to have an idea of the money that was to be.  Albert was going to be a $200 million man.  That is to say, the total value of the contract would have to be worth $200 million over the life of the contract.  Don't be fooled.  This IS a lot of money.  Some people have speculated that the hold up in the negotiations between the two sides was the amount of years of the contract.  Albert wanted more years, the Cardinals didn't want to commit to the 10 years Albert was asking for.  But Pujlos himself had come out to say that is not the issue.  So, is it the money?

Here is the word on the street:  The Cardinals offered  $200 million for eight years, possibly with an opportunity for Pujols to obtain an ownership stake in the franchise once his playing days are complete.  There is is.  The offer.  $200 million.  Sounds good, right?  This offer was rejected.  REJECTED !  Really?  Are you kidding?  The team ponied up the money, and Albert himself said the issue was not the years, so what is the problem?

This is where we, the fan, gets SCREWED !  Why don't more of us have season tickets?  Better yet, why don't more of us go to a game that we don't receive free tickets too?  Because of the price of the ticket.  Tickets are sooo expensive because the best players, always want more.  Because $200 million isn't enough for Albert.

I actually read (yes, I do read) in an article by ESPN that Pujols was receiving pressure by the players union not to sign the $200 million offer.  Why?  And this is mind blowing...because of the implications this one contract will have on future contracts.  The union wants him to get more, so it will raise the bar for the future. begs the question, how much is too much?

I was hoping that Albert was going to be different.  It wasn't going to be about the money.  It was about the love of the game. It was about playing for HIS team, HIS town.  Remember who gave you the chance to be great?  Who made you who you are (were)? 

By the way...his current salary?   He will make $16 million this season in his contract's final year, with $4 million of the money deferred with no interest.  Chump change.  To paraphrase  a basketball player once about a time..."How can I feed my children on that?

Pujols is the only player in major league history to hit 30 or more home runs each of his first 10 seasons -- all with the Cardinals, the franchise he's often said he wants to remain with for the rest of his career. This doesn't seem to be true anymore, even if he still says it is.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again...Money has corrupted and ruined professional sports.  The NFL is currently about to shut its doors for next year because owners and player cannot agree on the billions of dollars to be paid to both sides.  Yes, BILLIONS !

Albert, I love your game and what you brought to the ballpark everyday.  Players like you brought joy to the fans.  But now, you are just another greedy player, and what is worse, you broke the hearts of your fans.

So, the next time you want to go to a game and can't, think of the likes of Albert Pujols, arguably one of the best players ever to play the game of baseball.  He turned us away.