My mother-in-law called me yesterday, all out of breath, because she heard that Albert Pujols was going to be a Cub.
To be fair, she loves the Cubs, and she sees his presence as a good thing, as would I if it would come to that. But I had to gently let her down, that all that happened yesterday was that the Cardinals did not meet Big Al's deadline, and that not only does that not mean he is going to be a Cub, in fact, he is still very much a Deadbird all year.
I didn't get into some of the finer points, which I am about to do with you all, now. Mainly because I was on the telephone, and being on the telephone is one of the things in life I hate. I would rather be on a treadmill, going uphill at a 5-degree climb at 8 mph, than sit on a phone. Fortunately, depending on your point of view of course, I do like to write.
After the jump, find out what those so-called finer points are:
Just in case you, gentle reader, are not crystal clear about the
situation by now: PooHole and his agent drew an imaginary line in the
sand, namely noon EST on February 16th, 2011. This line just happened
to be the exact
moment in time that His PooHolesness would step out of his locker
room to commence his Spring Training with his employer. So the story
goes, he is so devoted to his craft that he cannot abide by any distractions
such as negotiating contracts, whatsoever.
Which of course is
bull. Perhaps Albert is such a muscleheaded tool that he doesn't
realize this, but I am certain his agent understands that his not
having a contract is 10x the distraction to himself, his manager, his
team and his beloved franchise that his mere negotiations would be.
Which is exactly what his agent wants, of course. I'm sure every single
toothless wonder from Pontoon Beach to Kimberling City to Kirksville is
kicking his live-in girlfriend and kids and dawgs and punching holes in
the side of his single-wide in dismay because Pujols might decide to go
free agent at the end of the season, and leave the 'birds. And
shoooot! If he ends up in Wrigley Field?!?
Might as well tell
them that rassling is fake.
Unfortunately for the Cardinals'
front office, these are their fans, and what passes for media down there
knows this very well, and will do their best to spell it out in the
plainest, simplest English possible that Cardinal Nation needs to be
Afraid. Because, hell, nobody in St. Louis wants to actually lose the
guy; especially the media, because he is really all they have. Now, I
am not saying the Cardinals are a one-man team, or that they are
irrelevant. Far from it; they are relevant, they have won a World
Series quite recently, and although it is quite possible to hold a Cubs
organizational roster in one hand and a Cardinals in the other and argue
that overall, we have more quality than they do?
Fact is, if
they lose Pujols, they lose nearly all of their relevancy. The guy IS
So the agent uses all the fear and apprehension from
the fanbase, and somehow, quietly, I am sure the front office will give
the man the salary he wants, for the length of time he wants. Ergo, I
think the odds that Albert Pujols is allowed to test free agency after
2011 is virtually nil.
Now, what IF he is allowed to become a
free agent? Well now, that will be epic, to say the least. And if so,
shoot, there will then be all kinds of financial, moral, and emotional
balls to juggle. Can we forget that he is probably closer to 35 than 31
as we speak? Can we pretend that he is most definitely clean? Will we
decide to lay our faith on the fact that he has never tested positive;
which to me only means he doesn't use your typical steroids that can be
detected by commonly used tests.
As the man who crawled through
the poo in the movie said, hope is a good thing, the best of all things,
and even the slimmest of possibilities that the best ballplayer since
Mays and Aaron might play for us next year brings the best of hopes!
Please, though, kids. Let's cross that bridge when we come to it, and
we are at least one whole baseball season and several behind-the-scenes