Albert Pujols: Friend or Foe?Friday, May 18, 2012 By Drew Viguet
L ast year was a great year for Cardinals fans. At the end of October, the Cards made an amazing run as a wildcard team to win the World Series. This marked the team’s second World Series title in six years. This was manager Tony La Russa’s crowning achievement. Thus, La Russa retired the week after the championship game. Cards fans still respected La Russa after he left. However, the same cannot be said for first baseman Albert Pujols, who was signed to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Dec. 10. Pujols is one of the greatest Cardinals in history, and arguably one of the best players in MLB history. No doubt, he was the fan-favorite while on the Cardinals. But the reaction to Pujols leaving was rather shocking, at least to some. Fans did not show signs of sadness, but more aggression and bitterness. Needless to say, people miss him and are jealous. I have to say, I do not understand the hostility felt towards Pujols. Yes, he claimed he would like to stay a Cardinal, but that’s not all he told the public. He admitted he would like compensation for his efforts. Here’s the part where the Pujols haters say, “How dare he demand more money! No one needs that kind of money!” An expected but misleading statement; have you looked at what Pujols does in his personal life? Pujols and wife Deidre opened the Pujols Family Foundation in 2005. The Foundation supports and helps those who have Downs Syndrome, a genetic disorder in which Pujols’ step-daughter, Isabella, was diagnosed with. They also help others who have serious medical conditions. The Foundation also aids people in the Dominican Republic, where Pujols is from. Pujols makes regular visits to the country. The Albert Pujols Wellness Center for Adults with Down Syndrome was also opened in Chesterfield in 2009. When deciding to hate Pujols for all eternity or remember the great things he did for St. Louis, consider this: Albert Pujols gave the best years of his baseball career to the city of St. Louis. He is still one of the greatest Cardinals in all of history. Would they have two World Series titles in the last decade without him? Doubtful. Pujols is consistently one of the most feared hitters in the MLB, and was almost always in the running for the National League Most Valuable Player Award (he won it twice, along with numerous other awards). I’ll never forget watching the Cardinals win the World Series twice, and wearing my Pujols jersey to the first Saturday game at the new Busch Stadium. I wish Pujols the best, and while I’m sad to see him leave St. Louis, I am thankful to him for all that he did for the Cardinals organization.