Phillip Thompson

Crime Fiction writer

Before I get into tonight’s post, a word of support for those affected by the events at Virginia Tech today. They remain in my thoughts and prayers.

In a way, we knew it had to end this way: Albert Pujols, quite possibly the best baseball player in a lifetime, is no longer a Cardinal. Around my house, it’s a pretty sad day — my daughter is a die-hard (and that’s putting it lightly) Cardinals fan. As for me, I’m a Dodgers fan, but I grew up listening to the Cardinals on the radio (yes, kids, on the radio). They were THE team in the South back in those days — the Braves weren’t even worth listening to. So, I’ve always had a soft spot for them — even if Jack Clark did knock the Dodgers out of the NLCS with one swing of the bat in ’85.

And, we used to live about 5 minutes from the stadium of the Class A Potomac Cannons, a farm team for the Cards (now the Potomac Nationals). When we first moved to Virginia, I went to several games and remember seeing a Cannon with a BA of something like .893 who hit the ball startling distances. And the announcer could never get his name right: Albert Pujols. And of course, Memphis is the home of the Redbirds, the Cardinals’ AAA affiliate. So, yeah, I’m partial.

I won’t rehash the courting of Prince Albert, but he (presumably) turned down the Cubs and the Marlins and went the Angels’ offer. I don’t hate him for it — unlike many, Cards fans or not. That’s unfortunate — Pujols is not LeBron, and shouldn’t be treated as such.

In a way, it fits. The Angels are a class act, with a Series championship and a solid team. The Angels and the Cards have a relationship — remember all those Angels that went to the Cards back in the ’90s? My daughter and I used to refer to the “St. Louis Angels.” And Pujols was going to get a new manager regardless — Mike Scioscia is a pretty move on that count. It’s a sad day for St. Louis, no doubt, and it’s sad that in the end a business decision won out over an emotional one, but I think the fact that Pujols went “the other L.A. team” says something about him as a person that goes beyond the business decision.

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