You Can Call Me Al
Albert Pujols got a better standing ovation at Cardinals spring training on Monday than most guys get their entire career
You might be the most extroverted, globe-trotting party animal on earth, but you still have to admit it feels good to come home. For the normies, that might mean the same four walls and a roof, but for professional athletes it’s not just a place—a city, a franchise—but also a time; that brief window of their careers when they were on top of the world and not even the sky seemed like the limit. We’ve seen these sports homecomings a few times in recent years—Cristiano Ronaldo back to Manchester United, LeBron James back to the Cleveland Cavaliers—but none was perhaps more powerful than Albert Pujols moseying out to a 90-second standing ovation at St. Louis Cardinals spring training on Monday:
Hours earlier, Pujols inked a one-year deal that will see him finish his career with the Cardinals. The news had barely even broke when he made his surprise appearance in Jupiter. If the crowd got a shock, however, just imagine how former (and now current) teammate Adam Wainwright must have felt when he woke up from a nap before his five-inning outing to this …
Charming stuff … that also just so happens to raise some questions about the Cardinals' roster construction this season. The signing of 42-year-old Pujols doesn’t exactly reduce the median age of the Cardinals, who already have card-carrying AARP members at several key positions. In other words, this team is old and they got even older on Monday.
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Competively speaking, that’s not what you want to see from a blue-blood baseball franchise which, after a couple lean years, looked to be on the upswing last season. As far as emotionally? Well, you saw the video. Maybe everything will work out after all.