It is all but official the way I see it, 1B Albert Pujols, soon be 32, has left the World Champion St. Louis Cardinals to sign a 10 year deal worth in excess of $250 million with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. As a long time fan of baseball I find this signing disgusting, I hate what baseball and baseball players have become, money hungry mercenaries. I know, I know that this is baseball in 2011 but that does not mean that I have to like it and as a baseball fan I have a right to express my feelings.
Pujols has been a Cardinal icon for 11 years and to see him forget his roots and take the Angels deal for a few million dollars more than the Cardinals were supposedly offering makes me sick. The man has banked over $104 million dollars in career earnings with the Cards and now he drops his allegiance like a hot potato. We have all heard it before, but how much money does a person really need? I have seen where Albert Pujols has done a lot of community work but actions speak louder than words and his decision to leave St. Louis, a great baseball city for a few dollars more shows me nothing but greed, straight out-and-out greed. How else can you explain it to me?
When you think of the Cardinals of the current era you think of Pujols, same as you think of Jeter or Mantle with the Yankees, Puckett with the Twins, Banks as a Cub, or Ripken with the Orioles, that is the way it should be. It killed me to see Harmon Killebrew as a Royal, Carew as an Angel, Wade Boggs as a Devil Ray or Steve Carlton as a Twin, that is just plain wrong and to me Pujols should have stayed a Cardinal. This is not a new problem, it has been going on for a long time but it seems to be getting worse.
Baseball should come up with something like a “franchise icon” label that will allow teams to keep a true icon player as a member of their organization during their entire playing career. I am not saying they should not be fairly compensated, I am sure something could be worked out that would be fair for everyone but come up with a plan that will allow teams to keep their icons where they belong. There are a lot of smart baseball people out there, come up with a plan that will allow fans to once again be allowed to grow old with their baseball heroes.