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Albert Pujols is upset with hitting coach Mickey Hatcher for telling the media what he said in a meeting

At some point this season, Albert Pujols is going to turn it on. He has to. Through 23 games this season, Pujols has yet to hit his first home run as a member of the Angels and has only four RBIs. He is hitting .217 with an on-base percentage of .265. Albert is one of the reasons Los Angeles is off to an 8-15 start, and he will probably be one of the reasons they go on a tear at some point later in the season.

Pujols knows he isn’t coming close to living up to the $240 million contract he signed this past offseason, and he acknowledged that during a recent meeting with his teammates. According to Eye on Baseball, hitting coach Mickey Hatcher says Pujols stood up during a pregame meeting on Monday and assured the team that his slump will not continue. While it sound admirable, Albert is unhappy with Hatcher for telling all of us that he did that.

“Mickey should have never told you guys that,” Pujols said. “That stuff needs to be private. He should have never told the media. What we talked about at the meeting, not disrespecting Mickey, but that stuff should stay behind closed doors.”

Pujols is right in the sense that private meetings should be kept private, but Hatcher certainly wasn’t trying to make him look bad. In fact, he was doing the exact opposite. The media has been all over Pujols for his slow start — as they should be with the amount of money he’s being paid. Hatcher was trying to show the public how determined he is. Pujols’ reaction to Hatcher telling the media about it probably speaks more to his frustration level at the moment than anything.

Photo credit: Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE

Angels would not confirm to C.J. Wilson that they were pursuing Albert Pujols

Signing a player to a $250 million contract is not something that just comes together overnight. Very few of us thought of Los Angeles as a potential landing spot for Albert Pujols this past offseason, but the Angels had to have been planning it all along. Considering we are living in an era where Twitter and other forms of social media prevent anyone from keeping a secret, the Angels did a tremendous job of keeping their intentions under wraps. In fact, they even kept C.J. Wilson in the dark about it when they were courting the left-hander.

“I personally found out about the Albert Pujols thing via twitter,” Wilson said during an interview with ESPN Los Angeles. “(Angels GM) Jerry Dipoto was sitting in my agent’s hotel suite and we were sitting their talking to him and he said look I don’t mean to be blunt, but if there is a paper that walks in here I am going to have to divert my attention to that because there is something else going on. I was like what the hell is this guy talking about right now? It is 3 in the morning. Either he has had too many beers or something. We were all kind of loopy at this point.

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Albert Pujols does not like the Angels ‘El Hombre’ billboards (Picture)

When he was with the Cardinals, Albert Pujols earned the nickname “El Hombre.” The problem is he never liked it. Cardinals Hall of Famer Stan Musial was known as “The Man” throughout his career in St. Louis. Because of his level of respect for Musial, Pujols feels uncomfortable having the exact same nickname as the legend — even if his is the Spanish version of the phrase.

According to ESPNLosAngeles.com, Albert does not like the billboard campaign that has been launched in California, which you see an example of pictured above.

“Like I say, I haven’t talked to them, but I prefer not to use (El Hombre),” Pujols said Wednesday. “I still have the same respect for (Musial) as I had, not just for what he’s done in baseball but for what he did for his country. That’s something you have to appreciate.”

The Angels reportedly did not consult with Pujols and his agent before launching the campaign, or they likely would not have gone through with it. Angels vice president of communications Tim Mead says they have explained to Pujols that the billboards are only a portion of their campaign, but the team should have done a little research first and realized he was uncomfortable with the nickname in St. Louis. Not that I feel badly for a guy who just inked a deal worth $250 million.

Photo credit: @DowntheRFline

Albert Pujols’ name dropped from St. Louis restaurant, statue remains

Pujols 5 Westport Grill in St. Louis is a thing of the past. Sales at the restaurant named for Albert Pujols have slowed since the former Cardinals slugger signed with Anaheim, so the owner made a name change. The restaurant is now calling itself Hall of Fame Sports Bar and Grill.

They’re removing all Pujols-related items from the menu, though the Albert Pujols statue unveiled outside the restaurant in November will remain.

Pujols was never an owner of the restaurant, but he had a licensing agreement with them where he lent his name in exchange for 5% of restaurant profits being donated to his foundation. Pujols’ agent says since business has dropped, “it didn’t make sense” for the owner to continue his relationship with Pujols.

“Albert’s a good guy and a lot of people here still like him,” the restaurant’s owner says. “I think after some time has passed people will realize that what he did was the best for him and for the Cardinals.”

Nothing shows how much the fans have turned on a player quite like a restaurant changing its name. I bet Albert never thought it would come to this.

Tony La Russa: Albert Pujols Has Been ‘In Pain’ Since Signing with Angels

Breathe, Angels fans: not physical pain. They say money isn’t everything. Surely there are plenty of unhappy billionaires in the world, but that doesn’t mean we have to feel sorry for them. Albert Pujols just inked a contract that guarantees him $245 million over the next ten years of his life. Most of us would cut off a finger for that type of financial security, but his former coach says Pujols is not completely satisfied with his life.

According to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, former Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said Pujols has been “in pain” since he decided to sign with the Angels.

“I know it was a painful decision and it pains him now,” La Russa said. “He deserves what he got. He earned it. There’s no bad guy here. I think the Cardinals went where they thought they should go. If they can’t go farther, they shouldn’t. I believe in Albert’s case he was disappointed there wasn’t more enthusiasm from the Cardinals. The (Miami) Marlins came at him hard and then here comes Anaheim. I think that the Cardinals were being careful.”

If the things Deidre Pujols said earlier in the week are true, it is plausible that Pujols could be hurt by the lack of aggression the Cardinals showed in trying to retain him. That being said, the guy just made a quarter of a billion dollars.  La Russa obviously has a great relationship with both Pujols and the Cardinals organization, so he has no choice but to tread lightly.  Pain or no pain, Pujols shouldn’t expect any sympathy from the people who have turned his jersey into a money symbol.

Fist pound to Hardball Talk for passing the story along.

Albert Pujols’ Wife Says the City of St. Louis has Been Deceived

In all likelihood, we will never know the real reason Albert Pujols ended up in an Angels uniform.  Some will insist it was about the money.  Angry Cardinals fans have demanded an explanation from Pujols, a player they insist lied when he said he wanted to be a Cardinal for the rest of his life.  It’s quite possible he was simply telling the fans what they wanted to hear when he made that statement, or it’s possible it was the truth.  Perhaps Pujols made that statement assuming the Cardinals would match any free agent offer he received and not expect him to give them a hometown discount.  Albert’s wife, Deidre Pujols, tried to bring some clarity to the situation on Monday.

“When you have somebody say, ‘we want you to be a Cardinal for life,’ and then only offer you a five-year deal, it kind of confused us,” Deidre told 99.1 Joy FM in St. Louis.

The Cardinals’ initial offer to Pujols was reportedly for five years and $130 million.  Contract negotiations always need a starting point, but that sounds more like C.C. Sabathia money.  When you take into account the fact that the Red Sox gave Carl Crawford a seven-year, $142 million contract, you can understand why Pujols’ wife called the offer an “insult.”  The Cards’ final offer is said to have been 10 years, $210 million with $30 million deferred with no interest.  It was still far too low.

“I’m going to tell you what, listeners especially, had that offer been given to us with a guarantee (i.e. no deferred money), we would have a Cardinal on our bat,” Deidre continued. “Albert and I never, not one time ever, made plans to leave this city. We had no reason, not one reason, to want to leave. … People were deceived by the numbers.”

Fans have already begun customizing their Pujols’ jerseys and newspapers have accused him of turning his back on the city, but none of us know what went on behind closed doors.  The Angels gave Pujols $254 million without a cent deferred.  The fact that Pujols took the deal would seem to indicate money was important to him.  It could also show that the Angels cared more about acquiring him than the Cardinals cared about keeping him.

Albert Pujols Takes Out Full-Page Ad to Thank Fans in St. Louis

At the moment, the fans of St. Louis are not all that pleased with Albert Pujols.  He told them all that he intended to finish his career in a Cardinals uniform and then skipped town for a few million bucks.  When Cardinals fans see the No. 5 on the back of a Pujols jersey now, they will likely see it as a money symbol like this one.  In any event, Pujols did spend a lot of years in St. Louis and was part of two World Series teams.  For that reason, he decided to give the fans the thank you ad treatment in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch — the same paper that pictured him as a villain when the big announcement came in on Thursday.  Here is a picture of the one-page ad with transcript below.

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