I’m a fan. The uniforms you see above are the ones the Cardinals will be wearing during their home opener on April 13, when they will also be receiving their World Series rings. It’s almost gotten to the point where I cringe every time I hear the phrase “new uniforms” because of some of the absolute nonsense we’ve seen, but the Cardinals got it right with these. At first glance, they aren’t even that much different from their regular hats and jerseys. The gold adds a perfect touch in my opinion. The Cards are the champs and they just lost arguably the best player in baseball. Might as well flaunt what you have while you have it.
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 has signed with the highest bidder. Given what we know about today’s day and age, that should come as a shock to absolutely no one who pays even a little bit of attention to professional sports. As Yahoo! Sports’ Tim Brown reported Thursday morning, the Los Angeles Angels swept in out of nowhere and offered Pujols a monstrous 10-year contract that is believed to be worth between $250-$260 million. The last reported offer from St. Louis was in the range of $210-$220 million, so as you can see Pujols decided to take the extra $30-$40 million and run.
Most fans would probably take it too, but good luck getting them to admit that. You certainly won’t hear anyone in St. Louis admitting it, as evidenced by the LeBron James treatment the St. Louis Post-Dispatch gave Pujols on the front page of their website after the deal was announced.
David Freese. David freaking Freese. We’ve never changed the title of the website here in nearly five years of operation, but it felt like the appropriate way to honor the man for his incredible performance in Game 6.
Freese clutched up in the bottom of the 9th inning with a two-run triple to tie the game at 7. Nelson Cruz slowed as he neared the right field wall and the ball went over his and off the wall. We still wonder if Cruz could have made the catch if he went balls to the wall, but he slowed to avoid a crash. It cost Texas.
In the 10th, after a gimpy Josh Hamilton hit his first home run of the series — a two-run shot to go up 9-7 — Lance Berkman delivered a two-run single to tie the game.
Then facing Mark Lowe in the bottom of the 11th (seriously, who is Mark Lowe and why was he pitching in the World Series?), Freese had a full count and blasted a walk-off shot to straightaway center field. It was a magical moment.
Have you ever batted in the bottom of the 9th with the game on the line? Have you ever batted with your team’s season on the line? How about being down to one strike with the World Series on the line? David Freese did it all, and he delivered. One of the most clutch baseball performances I’ve ever seen. I still love what Scott Spiezio and the Angels did to rally in ’02, but Freese’s performance was awesome.
Freese donated his bat and jersey from the game to the Hall of Fame. That jersey, by the way, was ripped to shreds by his teammates:
The Cardinals are winning the 2011 World Series. Mark it down. Empty your bank accounts and go for it. We all know a good rally symbol can be all a team needs to hoist the championship trophy. While the Brewers have the Tony Plush rally towel to fall back on, I’m sorry to inform Milwaukee fans that the Cardinals have that blown out of the water. No, we aren’t talking about the rally squirrel phenomenon that is sweeping the St. Louis area. Check out this Cardinals fan’s prosthetic leg, courtesy of Joe Sports Fan via Big League Stew:
St. Louis Cardinals teammates Yadier Molina and Gerald Laird reportedly got into a fight when the team arrived in Florida late last night. Cards GM John Mozeliak confirmed the two had a “disagreement” which is likely P.R. speak to cover up the incident.
Craig Mish of Sirius/XM Fantasy Sports Radio reported that the players had a fight Wednesday night that “had to be broken up by team.” Mish adds that the fight was “ugly.” He writes “I was also told Laird called Molina a “cheater” with what context I’m uncertain.”
If the two indeed fought, it wouldn’t be much of a surprise. Laird is the same dimwit who instigated this fight earlier in the season with Cincinnati. He also got arrested for brawling alongside his brother at a Suns-Celtics game in 2009.
As for Yadier Molina, well we already know what he’s capable of. Did we mention that Laird will be catching for St. Louis while Yadier serves his suspension? I’m sure that had something to do with the fight.
Fist pound to Hardball Talk for the story
It’s no secret the relationship between Cardinals manager Tony La Russa and outfielder Colby Rasmus is strained. Rasmus is only 24 years old yet he has plenty of Major League experience. The third year pro is loaded with potential but he’s struggled this season, batting just .246. La Russa has been hesitant to let Rasmus play every day the past two years, electing to platoon him or play other outfielders instead. That has led to Rasmus becoming frustrated, which has led to trade rumors. While St. Louis has kept Rasmus on the roster, the issues between him and La Russa are evident.
In an interview with KSDK, La Russa complained that Rasmus doesn’t listen to the Cardinals coaches and that is one of his problems:
This has long been a complaint for La Russa. He’s felt that Rasmus gets coaching from his father and tunes out the St. Louis staff. The discord between the two is the main reason people feel like Rasmus will be traded. It’s hard to say a trade wouldn’t benefit both parties; La Russa would be rid of his problem and Rasmus would have a fresh start elsewhere.
Very few people would want to see Rasmus set free more than LBS contributor Alan Hull. He’s been dying for the day that Rasmus can do his thing without worrying about La Russa yanking him around.