Dear Albert

Dear Albert,

Please sign a contract extension with the Cardinals following the World Series.

Instead of pleading, I’m going to appeal to your logical side.   That pragmatic voice of reason that I know governs your world.   Yep, that’s the Albert that I want to read the rest of this letter.

Best Fans in Baseball

Yes, St. Louis is the home of the best fans in baseball, and you just got a big taste of that the other day, in the NLCS.   You saw the ovation the Cardinals fans gave you, right ?   I know we did, TBS wouldn’t shut up about “is this the last time Albert will hit at home as a Cardinal” blah, blah, blah.   And you also got a chance to see Milwaukee show their appreciation to Prince Fielder.   It was a nice ovation, very nice.   But it wasn’t what you got in your stadium, was it ?

You see, we both have a relationship here.   For the last decade you have been the best player in the game.   And we cheered loudly.   This year as been a bit of a different season though – it started off a bit rough.  But we were there.   We cheered for you when you were hitting .240 and hitting into double plays.  We cheered for you as you made your assault on .300/30/100, and still hit into double plays.   Because we cheer the man and what he does, on and off the field, not just because you can hit a ball across two area codes.

I think you love us as much as we love you.   It’s what scientists call symbiosis.  In St. Louis, we call that baseball.

Has Been to Wild Card to World Series

Has there ever been a season as exciting as the one you are about to finish ?  I’ve been around a long time, and I can’t think of many.   But let me ask you a question – what other team do you think could have pulled that off ?   Yeah, I know – the Tampa Rays.   Besides them ?   Nobody.

And that post-season so far ?  Kinda like being the underdog and proving everybody wrong.  Happy Flight sorta gets under your skin, doesn’t it ?  Yes it does.

Phone rings or World Series Rings ?

You play the sport to win, right ?  Well, Big Fella, did you know that you are already on one of the most successful teams ?   I’m not talking about history that goes back to Phenomenal Smith and Old Hoss Radbourn.  I mean while you have been a player.

Here’s a breakdown of each team with more than one post-season appearance, and how they have done.  You might find the results, well, unexpected.

Team Division
World Series Titles
New York Yankees 10 5 3 1
St. Louis 7 5 3 2
Boston 6 4 2 2
LA/Anaheim 6 3 1 1
Atlanta 6 1 0 0
Minnesota 6 1 0 0
Philadelphia 5 3 2 1
Arizona 4 2 1 1
LA Dodgers 4 2 0 0
Oakland 4 1 0 0
San  Francisco 3 2 2 1
Houston 3 2 1 0
Tampa 3 1 1 0
Chicago Cubs 3 1 0 HA HA HA HA
Texas 2 2 2 0
Chicago White Sox 2 1 1 1
Colorado 2 1 1 0
Detroit 2 2 1 0
Cleveland 2 1 0 0
Milwaukee 2 1 0 0
San Diego 2 0 0 0

Florida, Cincinnati, New York (Mets) and Seattle have had one post-season appearance. Florida made the most of theirs, winning the World Series. Baltimore, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Toronto (poor Colby) and Washington have not been in post-season since you have been in the Major Leagues.

Wow, only one team, Boston, has won more World Series titles, and you still have a bit of a say in that.   No team has played in more League Championship Series or has gone to the World Series more than the Cardinals.   The Yankees have been in post-season a few more times, but have also had far more first round exits.  Maybe the national sports media should spend a little more time in St. Louis, huh ?

If you are looking for rings, and I know that you are, I think you are already in the right place.

The Future is so Bright……

Let’s talk about that, shall we ?

Position 2011 – first half 2011 – second half 2012 (projected)
1B Albert Pujols Albert Pujols ????
2B Skip Schumaker Ryan Theriot Daniel Descalso ?
SS Ryan Theriot Rafael Furcal Furcal ?
3B David Freese David Freese David Freese
LF Matt Holliday Matt Holliday Matt Holliday
CF Colby Rasmus Jon Jay Jon Jay
RF Lance Berkman Lance Berkman Lance Berkman
C Yadier Molina Yadier Molina Yadier Molina

Dude, you won 90 games with that second half lineup and probably would have won a ton more, had it been in place earlier in the year. Most of the key parts are coming back next year. You are about to play in the World Series. Where else other than Philadelphia, Boston and the Yankees will you find a lineup that screams post-season ? And I hate to break it you, Big Fella, those other guys already have a first baseman.

But it’s much more than that.   It’s not that 2012 promises to be as good as 2011, it should be A LOT BETTER.   You got to 90 wins without Adam Wainwright.  A healthy Wainwright at the top of the rotation screams NL Central title (or whatever concoction Uncle Bud comes up next year).

And have you seen Lance Lynn ?  Shelby Miller ?   Carlos Martinez ?   John Gast ?  Joe Kelly ?    Maybe even some guys like Nick Additon and Brandon Dickson.   Dude, this team is going to have pitching by the bucketfuls.  Heck, you guys might have to let Edwin Jackson get away because there’s no room.   That’s pitching, my friend.

The bullpen, are you kidding me ?   Jason “not the closer” Motte, a healthy Eduardo Sanchez, Lance Lynn, the Scrabble guy, Fernando “not the other closer” Salas, Kyle McClellan, maybe even Octavio Dotel.   If it will make you sign the extension, I’ll talk to Mo about trading Mitchell Boggs.   There’s this real tall kid down in Memphis that slings unhittable sinkers and can do it every night.   And you’ll love his name – Chuckie Fick.  You’ll have fun with that one, I promise.     And there are even more down on the farm.  Samuel Freeman, Adam Reifer, Jordan Swagerty, Maikel Cleto (the kid is so Lee Smith, he even walks slowly).

You can’t leave this.   3 trips to the World Series in the last 11 years is nothing.  You are part of a Dynasty.   No, not Joan Collins and John Forsythe, but I’ll see if Heather Locklear is a fan, if that helps.

And don’t worry about those declining years.  There’s a kid down on the farm named Taveras, you will love him.  Toolsy guy.   Runs like the wind, and can hit the cover off the ball.  Sort of like you with a dash of Adron Chambers.

Face of the Franchise or Hired Help

I know this last point isn’t lost on you.  You see the way that Stan Musial, Red Schoendienst (ok, we’ll pretend he wasn’t traded away) and Bob Gibson are treated by the St. Louis fans.  Franchise players don’t come along every day, especially in an era of free agency.  But you are one of those rare players.

But it’s different in St. Louis.   Look at how we love Jim Edmonds, Scott Rolen, Ozzie Smith, Lou Brock.   It’s not like that in other cities.   If you could, ask Roger Maris.   The Yankees were Mickey Mantle’s team, even though it was Maris that won back to back MVP awards.   In New York, Maris was just a hired hand, a transplant.   But he was loved when he came to St. Louis.   As was Mark McGwire.

Let’s say that the Yankees make you a huge offer to come play for them.  You will be the next Alex Rodriguez – arguable one of the best players of his era too.   But it was never Rodriguez’s team, it was Jeter’s, Rivera’s.  Before that it was Bernie Williams.   It will soon be Robinson Cano’s team.   It will never be Albert’s team, even if you hit 900 home runs.

Boston has Yaz and Ted.   San Francisco has the Willies (Mays and McCovey).

You are a special player and need to be mentioned with those guys and not Barry Bonds (forgetting the whole steroids thing).

In closing, we’ve loved having you be a part of the St. Louis sports community this last decade.   I know that you have enjoyed being a part of it too.   The Cardinals ownership will open their checkbook, especially after tallying up the World Series gate receipts.   When they do, I hope you consider all of this and sign on the dotted line.

ps: That Adams kid is really something, isn’t he.   Might be able to get a slugging second baseman or a five tool right fielder for him if you sign.   Remember what the Cardinals got for Brett Wallace.   Ahh, just a thought.

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4 Responses to Dear Albert

  1. oates03 says:

    Yes, Mr. Albert Pujols, we need you


    • While I’m fine with the idea of Matt Adams eventually taking over first base, I think Albert Pujols as a Cardinal to finish out his career is the best thing for the team. He was a big part of something special, and I can’t see him walk away from that. I remember reading in Bill White’s book how disappointed he was when they started blowing up the ’64 team. Just don’t see that kind of thing here.


  2. K R Clements says:

    Excuse me, but the Marlins have TWO World Series Rings,,,,1997 & 2003.


    • Thanks for the comment.

      Yes, they do have two World Series titles in their franchise history, but only one during Albert’s 11 year playing career. That was the premise of that part of the article. In 1997, the Marlins first title season, Albert Pujols would have been 17 years old and still in high school. I wasn’t trying to short change the Marlins franchise but rather pointing out that Pujols has been a member of one of the most successful teams and that there’s really no place he can go that improves his odds of winning another title.


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