I make no claim regarding my ability to hit a Justin Verlander or a Jason Motte fastball, and I have no illusions about my ability to manage a major league game. I have a face for radio and a voice for the shower. I am simply a fan who writes about baseball so that our 3 loyal readers have something to do when they are stuck in their respective bathrooms until their legs get numb. As a fan, I have one decidedly obvious area of expertise. I am an expert at viewing baseball on tv in my living room. From that perspective I derived constant irritation from the insistence of ESPN’s broadcast team on incessantly bringing up the name “Albert Pujols” during the Cardinals vs Marlins game.
To the best of my knowledge Albert Pujols was not in Miami at the game. I heard no rumors about him working as a vendor near the home run expo, and there was no in-game coverage of AP splashing around in the pool at the Marlins new park. Albert Pujols was not in either dugout nor was his name on a lineup card there.
Yet somehow, some way, his name came up no less than 6 times during the 1st inning of the game. There wasn’t a single player involved in the actual game who was mentioned that many times during the 1st inning.
I’m over it. The greater part of Cardinal Nation is not the least bit worried about what some guy named “Pujols” is doing. It’s not that we all hate the guy, although I’m sure a few people sitting on hundreds of dollars in Cardinals merchandise with his named plastered on it might disagree. It’s just that we’ve moved on.
We haven’t necessarily forgiven the man, but that’s because there really is nothing for us to forgive, and it is probably isn’t our place to offer anyone forgiveness, either. We are Cardinal Nation, and we are unyielding about a few things. We like free stuff, we love Cardinals baseball, and we root for the team represented by the front of the jersey and not the player-specific name on the back. In other words, “Holliday”, “Freese”, and “Molina” could have just as easily been “Black”, “White”, “Redallover”, and we would still be fine.
Players come and go. Managers and coaches come and go. Seemingly, the only 2 real constants are Fredbird and the fans, and I could honestly live with avoiding the “beaking” I somehow endure almost every year.
The harsh reality is that we already understand Albert’s place in St. Louis history. We will inevitably honor that, and we will honor him for it. We’ll give him a huge pat on the back for all he has done through his charitable organization. If we’re feeling charitable ourselves, we’ll even stand up and give him a solid ovation when he is next announced at Busch Stadium. We’ll probably stand and cheer again before he comes to the plate, and he’ll likely pause or maybe even tip his helmet. Then he’ll dig in and go through his ritual.
So will we. As soon as he’s ready to go, we’ll be cheering for him to strike out our finally ground into a double play that doesn’t have us pulling out what little hair some of us have left. He may blast one 450 feet to dead centerfield, or he may halfheartedly run out a ground ball back to the pitchers. As long as the good guys come out on top with some “crooked numbers” on the board, we’ll be fine.
And Albert will be just another player we respect but wouldn’t necessarily follow unless he was on our fantasy baseball team. We’ve basically moved well past the drama, and every time some analysts brings up his name for the sake of “ratings”, our response will be “PuWho?”
TIDBIT: If you use Twitter and wish to express your displeasure with the media coverage that skews to all things Pujols, please use the hashtags #PuWho?, #PuTangClan, and #WhinyThePu.
Follow gr33nazn on Twitter for more not-so-clever hashtags.