Albert Unplugged. Again.

One of my colleagues in the press box tonight basically said that we should all take a pay cut tonight, because Albert Pujols did our work for us. Actually, this scribe said that he himself did the work, by asking the questions that sent Pujols on his way, but either way. I respectfully disagree — especially since my game story was about So Taguchi, and I just cranked out a little sidebar on Pujols.

Anyway. For those who are interested, here are Pujols’ comments, in their entirety, on Oliver Perez and the bat-flip issue. Some great stuff in here. If Pujols is really turning into a quote machine, life on the beat is going to be a lot better this year.

"If you look at it, he struck me out last year and he did
all his dancing and all that stuff, and I remembered that. That’s what happened
in Pittsburgh. I hit that groundball back at him and he did his little dance
again, and I got really upset. I went to the video room and I told my guy Chad,
‘I’m going to hit the next ball and I’m going to hit it a long way. But don’t
look at the ball. Look at where the bat is going to land.’

"Because I respect
this game just like everybody else. And when I see a guy like that, with the
talent that he has, disrespecting the game — that might be the way that he
pitches, but I don’t care. I don’t care what you do out there. But when you
start pointing and looking at the guys at the plate when you strike somebody
out, that’s disrespecting the player. I probably shouldn’t have taken it to
that level, where I threw my bat like that. But at that moment I was pretty
pissed off.

"I don’t care what the media or whoever said something in Pittsburgh
last week. I don’t care because they don’t know why I did that. Now I’m glad
that I got the opportunity to say it. That’s what I say. I think that he got a
little cocky out there, and so am I. I think anytime, you have it 50-50. You
have it 50 percent that you can take somebody deep, and he can strike you out. But
if he does strike you out, he needs to respect the game and not try to show
people up.

"Same thing happened with Jerome Williams, two weeks ago,
Opening Day in Chicago. He struck me out on that Sunday night baseball game and
did a little dance, and I didn’t appreciate that. I almost did it over here and
threw the bat, but I didn’t want to take it to that level. I respect this game
so much. And I’m sorry if I disrespected the game that day, but that’s the way
I feel.

(follow-up question: so were you making a point by being so matter-of-fact
about it tonight?) "He paid me back, and that was in Pittsburgh. I don’t think I
need to show him up again, if he doesn’t do it again. If anybody in the game
shows me up, be ready, because I always remember that. That happened last year,
it happened this year when I hit a groundball back to him, and that might be
the way that he pitches.

"But I don’t care what you do out there. I just believe
that if you do it, don’t try to look at the player, don’t try to look into the
dugout, just do your thing and be over with it. sometimes you take a guy deep
and everybody gets real mad, and that’s when trouble starts. You hit another
guy, you hit this guy. You don’t want things happening like that.

"I heard a couple of people say something yesterday about
the home run that I hit against him in Pittsburgh. They were talking about it. My wife was actually the one that brought it to my attention, and I told her
why I did it. I told her why I did it that day. And that’s it. I need to drop
it. I hit one tonight against him and I ran the bases like I always do. I
probably shouldn’t bring it down to that level like I did last week, but I
showed today that that’s not the way I play the game. At the same time, I need
to respect my teammates. Because I don’t want any of my guys to get hurt from
me doing something stupid like that.

(another follow-up — did anybody on the team say anything to you?) "Rolen mentioned something, but he knew why I did it. He
knew I was pretty upset the way the guy is, but he was one of the guys who told
me, ‘Hey, you’re a better player than that. You respect this game so much.
Don’t bring it down to that level, because you are the one that is going to
look stupid.’ Which I did. I looked stupid. That was my fault. I’m human. I
make mistakes. Drop it like it’s hot. That’s it."

Now playing on the iPod: The Cure, Acoustic Hits



There. That explains it. No big deal. Now everybody get over it, quit talking about it and get on with life and baseball.

Wow! Even off the field Albert Pujols is starting to continuously amaze me! I’m glad he cleared the air about the “incident” and I’m more glad he was so great in doing so. I don’t think the rest of the league needed yet another reason to get scared when Albert’s in the box, but they got one tonight. Don’t disrespect him or the game of baseball or he’ll take you yard…twice!

If there’s anyone in the entire world that deserves their success more than Albert Pujols, I certainly have never heard of him or her. Way to go, Albert.

Rolen mentioned something…I think that’s great. Rolen is the guy you want your kids to emulate when it comes to playing the game.

I had a question-While I know you love Luna, Matt, and I like the job he’s done this far, he’s a bit of an enigma. And Miles will eventually be Miles…Anyway, the question is with the the recent call up of prospect Howie Kendrick, do you think Adam Kennedy may be available? And if so, do you think the Cards would be interested?

“Drop it like it’s hot.” Thats great. Do you think he knows that those are lyrics to a song, much less a rap song? He doesn’t seem like a kind of guy to listen to rap(and like it). So M, can you find out what kind of music Albert likes, and maybe some other Cardinals favorite kinds of music?

Hey do you worry at all he is letting it go to his head? It’s great that he is talking to the media but I worry about his cockiness. It seems like he always stares down home runs and I don’t like that. I like how Rolen just hits a homer and jogs. I’ve heard Pujols isn’t the most media friendly person in the world, that he just has his “routine” to stick to. Do you think after six years he is starting to open up?

The respect that Pujols deserves on and off the field is amazing. The fact that he stated that he was human and made a mistake shows what a truly great player and person he really is.

I’m a little late coming to this party, but I just listened to the Wednesday afternoon game after watching last night’s win over the Pirates. I never cease to be amazed by both the maturity and the development of Albert Pujols. He has become THE guy you want coming up in the game winning situation.

For what it’s worth, he appears to love this game so much and appreciates the adoration from the fans. And in this era of players not staying with teams, he will be the exception. It’s not about the money, it’s about caring enough about the game to stay with a great organization. And if that organization is smart, they’ll pay him enough to stay.

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