Albert Pujols: Strange things are afoot at the Big A
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Do you remember the time you bought a bunch of Doc Gooden rookie cards because you knew he was a sure-fire Hall of Famer? Or maybe the time you bought that home theater system from the guy in the white van at your grocery store whose company had “ordered too many”? Or maybe the time you made a new Internet friend who had won the lottery in another country and needed some financial assistance in getting the funds released?
And do you remember that time you spent $240 million on a first baseman of questionable age and as soon as your season started, he dramatically underperformed and showed no signs of recovery and you’ve got him locked up for nine more seasons?
Well, these were all quite disappointing, though that last one really only applies to Anaheim Angels owner Arte Moreno – though one could make an argument that a similar thing happened with the Phillies and their awful contract extension with Ryan Howard which looked stupid at the time and became even stupider when Howard blew out his Achilles at the end of last season (before the extension actually began “extending”).
After the first 25 games of the season, Albert Pujols, who currently costs the Angels about $150,000 per game, is having the worst start of his career and maybe even the worst stretch of 24 games in his career. I’m sure I could find this out exactly, but I don’t feel the research is essential to my overall theme (translation: I am lazy, research is for people who care).
The first month of the season is over and Pujols has zero home runs. That’s exactly as many as I have! And you! Do you want to know who’s hitting better than him? Everyone. I know I’m prone to sarcasm, but this time I’m not even remotely joking. But, rest assured the jokes are coming. Speaking of which …
So far Pujols is crappy … Pujols stinks … Pujols keeps whiffing … Pujols isn’t carrying his load … Pujols looks tight … Pujols is missing his thunder … Pujols has a bad eye … And no one seems to know what’s going on with Pujols.
I’m not just writing this column because it’s such a delight to repeatedly say Pujols’ name and have him as the butt of my jokes. I’m also concerned … about my fantasy baseball team. I made this guy the number-one pick in my draft – passing up guys like Ryan Braun, Matt Kemp and Miguel Cabrera – because I thought he was going to, you know, be Albert Pujols – and not be what comes out of a poo hole. You could say I was expecting huge things from Pujols. (Sorry, I can’t stop – and I won’t stop.)
Last year with St. Louis, Pujols also started slow – not like this, but slow enough to raise some concerns. However, he eventually got things going and was back to his old form by mid-season. And, now, after signing a mega deal to leave the Cardinals for sunny Southern California, it would be an understatement to say his performance has been a disappointment. Fortunately for Pujols, when Angels fans get disappointed they don’t actually get angry – they just go for a swim in their pools or stroll down to the beach or go shopping.
Seeing Pujols struggle at the plate, it makes you think that maybe he’s trying so hard to prove everyone wrong who said he was overpaid or maybe prove the Cardinals wrong for letting him go. The same thing happened to Carl Crawford last year with the Red Sox, but now Carl gets to hide behind a series of “injuries” that are responsible for him being a terrible acquisition. And the Miami Marlins are going through a similar problem with Jose Reyes this year. They paid him a ton and he is yet to deliver the goods. Granted, he’s not quite Pujols-bad.
Regardless of whether he’s putting too much pressure on himself or he hasn’t adjusted to Anaheim’s pleasant climate or he’s allergic to Rally Monkeys, one thing is pretty clear: he has a severe case of DCS. He’s got all the symptoms, and he certainly meets all the criteria for DCS. Unfortunately, only time will tell if his DCS is temporary or if he’s got full-blown DCS.
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