Cards need to keep Pujols

mlough@macon.comOctober 13, 2011 

Dear St. Louis Cards management,

I’ve been to your city twice, once as an adult, and on that trip, it was the first time I’ve stayed in a really classy hotel, and oh my God, the bed was unbelievable.

Peter Angelos having crashed the Baltimore Orioles into a river a few decades ago -- that, and distance from Baltimore as an adult, and the job -- have soured me a bit on baseball, along with a season that’s too long, Tim McCarver, few/no daytime postseason games, Fox’s “broadcasting” style, overdosing on the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees and well, Tim McCarver.

But I know how great a baseball town St. Louis is. Growing up as an Orioles fan, I know what it’s like to cheer for players with integrity, players who stayed with one team forever or for nearly all of their career: Brooks Robinson, Cal Ripken, Boog Powell, Paul Blair, Ken Singleton, Jim Palmer, etc.

Goodness, I probably got Brooksie’s autograph a dozen or so times back in the day, and no more polite professional athlete walked the earth. Chatted with Cal Ripken his rookie season, and he was as personable on his farewell tour as he was way back then.

Having watched gross mismanagement in sports for so long, I’m not one for blank checks, by any stretch, especially since so many go to blank-headed players.

But sign Albert Pujols.

I hate that Pujols, by all accounts a tremendously classy human being, is playing a numbers game. Rather, his agent is.

Pujols and company want/wanted 10 years for $23 million per year. He’s currently 31. It goes against all I believe in regarding fiscal responsibility in sports, like spending a lot of money on a long-term contract for somebody in “middle” age.

But the Cardinals need to pay Pujols. They need to talk to him, negotiate him down like they’re supposed to and play the game.

And then pay the man.

Here’s a silly thought that goes against my normal logical tendencies: do it before Game 1 of the World Series. If the Cards, now with huge momentum because of Pujols’ huge Game 2, make it, do it then.

Have a short news conference, let the world see a relaxed Pujols smiling -- and probably tearing up -- before the World Series begins and end the speculation and pressure and worry.

There are players who look like Phyllis Diller when they’re in a different uniform, and Pujols is one of those. I can tell you virtually no Atlanta Braves fans yet stomach Tom Glavine in the New York Mets’ digs or Greg Maddux in the Los Angeles Dodgers or Chicago Cubs’ threads.

Sign him, and then let a huge banner with him in uniform flow from the top of the arch during the World Series.

It would make the world a little bit better, and we need all of that we can get. After all, we still have the Kardashians and Jersey Shore to deal with.

Contact Michael A. Lough at 744-4626 or mlough@macon.com

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