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Pujols addresses Cardinals fans: “I respect them”

Dec 11, 2011, 8:52 AM EST

pujols getty presser Getty Images

Albert Pujols was introduced at an outdoor press conference Saturday in Anaheim, California attended by over 4,000 fans — a pep rally, basically.

So when he was asked by multiple reporters to discuss his feelings about heart-broken St. Louisans, the questions drew loud boos and he deflected ‘em.

A bit later in the day, Pujols took more questions from the media in an area within the Angel Stadium walls. And he probably felt more comfortable giving honest — or at least more thoughtful — answers.

Here’s how he responded when probed about what he might say to Cardinals fans who were hurt by his decision to depart for a 10-year, $254 million contract (via MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez):

“You know what, it was hard for me, too,” said Pujols. “It’s been hard for almost a year. Obviously, you don’t want to blame anything because I’m a guy that I don’t look for blame, how my first two months of the season were. But, you know, it was hard, and it was emotional, and obviously you’re going to have some people and friends and family that are agreeing with you, and fans, and you’re going to have other people that don’t like it. And you know what, at the end, you know what, that you can’t control. But what I want the fans to know is, I love them, I respect how they treated my family, I respect the support that they have given me for 11 years, and I thank them for helping me be the man that I am today, because if it wouldn’t be for that city, I wouldn’t be here today.”

That’s hardly going to soothe all the aches and pains of Cardinals fans, but it’s probably the most genuine answer he’s given on the topic to date. That newspaper ad read like it was written by a lawyer.

  1. surly1n1nd1anapol1s - Dec 11, 2011 at 9:32 AM

    When the players treat MLB like a business we treat them like money-grubbing whores. Why is that?

    • Old Gator - Dec 11, 2011 at 9:51 AM

      Perhaps because business makes money grubbing whores of us all.

      • JBerardi - Dec 11, 2011 at 10:30 AM

        Hell, Mr. Gator, we’re all reds.

    • metalhead65 - Dec 11, 2011 at 10:03 AM

      maybe because they always say it is not about the money and how they love the city/fans they are in untill they are offered more money by another team. most of us would take the money to but at least we would be upfront about it.

    • cintiphil - Dec 11, 2011 at 2:24 PM

      The Supreme court declared that Major League Baseball IS A BUSINESS. That is why there is NO exemption to the labor laws. That may not be popular, but that is a fact.

    • bigharold - Dec 11, 2011 at 5:09 PM

      “When the players treat MLB like a business…”

      Because as fans we’ve too much invested emotionally. Players, even the greatest come and go. Even owners come and go but the team remains. And the fans too readily forget that what happens on the field is baseball and the rest is business. And, it was always that way it just that before FA the owners had all the cards. Pick any iconic player of the past, before FA, and realize that had they been able to play out their contracts mot would not have stayed with the one team they are associated with.

      On the field it’s baseball, .. everything else is business.

  2. lovesmesomeme - Dec 11, 2011 at 10:21 AM

    I am amazed that even after 40years of players being able to move freely to any team they want to after a certain amount of years that fans who have little more than a rooting interest in teams are surprised when players up and leave for more money. I am tired of hearing “the greatest fans in baseball” cry why can’t he live on $20M. The reason he can’t live on $20M is because someone offered him $25M. Quit getting emotionally attached for god sakes.

    • cintiphil - Dec 11, 2011 at 2:27 PM

      Love:

      I see that you are not a sports fan. If you were, you couldn’t say what you did. Although the point about going to another job for more money is accurate.

      • lovesmesomeme - Dec 11, 2011 at 3:05 PM

        You will not find a bigger baseball fan, I watch football in Nov, Dec and Jan just so i can kill time till Feb 15, and the reason i said what i did is because he went to another job for more money.

      • marshmallowsnake - Dec 11, 2011 at 3:51 PM

        In reality, we root for the uniform. The players just temporarily wear them.

  3. steelerchicken - Dec 11, 2011 at 10:24 AM

    @lovesmesomeme

    Well said! Take the money and run.

  4. paperlions - Dec 11, 2011 at 11:15 AM

    So…Albert is saying that the City of StL taught him that words don’t mean anything, caused his ego to grow so big that it was bruised when the FO didn’t kiss his ass and act like they had to keep him at any expense regardless of the effect it would have on fielding a competitive team, and taught him that greed was good?

    ….or was it Jesus that taught him those things?

  5. paperlions - Dec 11, 2011 at 11:19 AM

    Pujols is a great baseball player, but he is not so great a man as to be bested by his own ego.

    He will be paid more money to play baseball, but he will take home less after figuring in tax differences, cost-of-living, and loss of endorsements (in StL, he was THE guy, in the LA area, he’s just one of hundreds of celebrities)….and not just during the next 10 years, he would have been marketable in StL forever. Now? No one would touch him. Hope these ego strokes are worth it.

    • paperlions - Dec 11, 2011 at 12:47 PM

      Obviously, that should have read “…is not so great a man as to *not* be bested by his own ego.”

    • marshmallowsnake - Dec 11, 2011 at 3:53 PM

      I doubt cost of living will apply with 25 mill a year for ten years. One year would set me and my kids and maybe their kids up for life… Easily.

      • paperlions - Dec 11, 2011 at 4:25 PM

        Property and property taxes are higher…$25M in California < $22M in Missouri

  6. retrosimba - Dec 11, 2011 at 6:30 PM

    Albert should just shut up and hit the ball. That’s what he does: he hits a baseball well. Otherwise, he’s just a another ego-driven fraud. He showed his character when he disregarded loyalty and commitment in lieu of ego-stroking and money. The less attention that is paid to this dolt, the better.

  7. ispysomething7 - Dec 12, 2011 at 1:19 AM

    Now the St Louis fans can feel what its like to be a Cleveland fan after LeBron left. Well maybe not, at least Albert didn’t make his “decision” on a TV show, on an “independent” sports network. Just be thankful you won a ‘ship.

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