The Cardinal Nation blog

Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

Pujols in Boston and La Russa 2.0

Calling out a pair of interesting articles about the St. Louis Cardinals star player and his former teammate (along with his current manager, sort of).

Pujols and Big Papi (AP/Charles Krupa)Catching up on my Sunday reading, I came across an interesting item concerning the future of Albert Pujols. Rather than being from an anonymous blog somewhere, it was posted on the NESN website.

It is significant to note that the New England Sports Network is primarily owned by the Boston Red Sox and naturally holds their television rights. Their Red Sox reporter, Tony Lee, penned a piece entitled “Red Sox Could be Contenders in Albert Pujols 2011 Free Agency Race.”

Though I follow baseball closely, I didn’t know the specifics of the Red Sox’ minor league pipeline, but I was aware of the long-time interest the club has allegedly held in San Diego Padres’ first sacker Adrian Gonzalez.

Lee puts forth an interesting take as to why and how the Red Sox might make a run at Pujols instead if he reaches free agency in 12 months. He also notes why the Yankees may not compete.

As one might expect, Red Sox fans are especially unsettled after missing the playoffs for just the second time in the last eight years and finishing in third place behind Tampa Bay and New York. Still, the Sox won 89 games, three more than the Cardinals.

Of course, at this juncture at least, most everyone expects Pujols to remain a Cardinal for the foreseeable future, but until it is done, it isn’t done.

In the meantime, I expect we will start seeing more Lee-like pieces popping up all over the baseball landscape. What makes this one a bit more notable is its source. Of all the 29 remaining clubs, the Red Sox are among the relative handful with the money, market and prestige to land a big fish like Pujols.

The bridge to my next item is the DOVE ad campaign entitled “Journeys to Comfort.” Along with Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte, the other two headliners are Pujols and Pettitte’s manager Joe Girardi.

Joe Girardi (2003) (Getty Images)La Russa 2.0

I couldn’t help but chuckle over a Sunday piece from the New York Post that describes in a begrudging manner why Girardi will likely be back to manage the Yankees. The deal may be three years, $9 million, says a later report from Jon Heyman of SI.com.

Back when there was some uncertainty about Tony La Russa’s return, the former Cardinals catcher (2003), FOX Sports broadcaster and Florida Marlins manager was mentioned by some as a possible replacement candidate in St. Louis.

Among the comments about Girardi from writer Joel Sherman:

“…a very good manager. Prepared. Smart. A student of the game.”

Then Sherman proceeded to march and burn his way through the manager’s office, inflicting some collateral damage as well…

“…you have to wonder if the Cardinals would have wanted the 2.0 version of La Russa — tense and paranoid — to succeed him.”

“…clenched teeth, edgy pacing and obsession with his black binder.”

“Thus players end up, at best, respecting him rather than having a human connection that would foster something greater.”

“…a personality that too often strays to the robotic or — worse — dishonest.”

“So if he is deceitful or anxiety-laced, that becomes the face and the pulse of the team.”

“When you treat every bit of information about your team — including the innocuous — as if it should be CIA classified, then your joyless persona begins to corrupt clubhouse atmosphere, as well.”

Has anyone around here ever heard anything like that before? Apparently Joe learned well.

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