Albert Pujols, unplugged
Albert Pujols has obviously done a lot in five years in the big leagues, and he’s established himself as basically the face of the Cardinals franchise. One thing he hasn’t done a lot of over his five-plus years, however, is speak for the team to the media. He’s bright and interesting, but interviews are far from his favorite thing.
The reason I preface this entry with the above is that I think it’s admirable, and a step forward, for Albert to say what he said tonight. He hasn’t often been the guy to step forward and take the heat off his teammates, or to say the hard things that need to be said. That’s not a failure; it doesn’t mean he’s not a leader or that he’s not a bad teammate, but it is something you’d like to see the face of the franchise do. It’s what Jeff Bagwell has done in Houston. It’s what Derek Jeter does for the Yankees.
I asked him after the game how big a deal it was for Jason Isringhausen to come in and nail down the save, and Pujols ran with the question. He took the opportunity to stick up for two of his teammates who have heard it from the fans. Whether or not you think it’s OK to boo these guys, whether or not you were actually booing them, I hope you appreciate Pujols stepping forward and being the leader, being the face, sticking up for his guys. Here’s his answer, unedited, uninterrupted and unaltered, to my question. There were no follow-up questions. This is all one statement from Pujols.
"It’s good. It’s good to see. I told him to relax. It’s a
long season. Everybody goes through some slumps. Same thing with Juan Encarnacion.
I’ve seen these guys for seven years in the league, and they know how to do it.
"For the fans in St. Louis to be
booing Encarnacion, I don’t think that was right. I didn’t say anything the
other day because I respect our fans, but I think that’s not our fans, booing a
player like that. Because he’s trying just as hard as we’re trying to win
games. The thing is, you’re booing a guy right now, but when he gets his
approach, everybody’s going to love him. And I don’t think that’s right.
really mad at our fans the other day for booing Encarnacion. Because the guy is
frustrated right now. The guy is trying to do as much as he can to help us out
to win, and the last thing you want to do is have our own fans, 45,000 people,
booing a poor guy like that. I know he’s going to get out of his slump.
with Izzy, they were booing him at our place, and I’m telling you, I don’t know
what’s going on with our fans, but I don’t think that’s the right way to
approach it. It’s a long season and that’s why you play 162 games, so you can
make your adjustments. We’ll win some games. That’s the key."
Now playing on the iPod: Better than Ezra, Before the Robots (hi, Erin!)