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

It’s ok. Just don’t insult us, Albert. It was about the money.

Former St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols is now a member of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. He says it is a matter of the heart, but all signs point to dollars.

Today, I have been asked many times already – here, phone, email, on the radio and even at the dinner table – for my feelings about the Albert Pujols defection to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

I wish I knew more. I want to know more. (“Know” versus being dependent on media reports, sourced from people who may have biases.) Yet the reality is that all the facts may never become clear and even if we had them, we wouldn’t know it, perhaps remaining forever skeptical. So we deal with what we have and try to sort through it.

This is a day during which many St. Louis Cardinals followers are blowing off a lot of steam over what happened. My perception is that more are unhappy with the player than his ex-team, though there are plenty in each camp.

The anti-Pujols sentiment is fueled by the perception that he went for the top dollar, while turning against his stated interest to remain a Cardinal for life.

The reports say $254 million over ten years. On one hand, it could be as much as $30 or $40 million higher than the Cardinals’ top bid. That is a lot of cash for Pujols or anyone to leave on the table.

On the other hand, it is likely no more than $3 or $4 million per year higher than St. Louis’ offer.

From Pujols’ own mouth in February 2009. Emphasis is mine.

“Do I want to be in St. Louis forever? Of course,” Pujols said.  “…People from other teams want to play in St. Louis and they’re jealous that we’re in St. Louis because the fans are unbelievable. So why would you want to leave a place like St. Louis to go somewhere else and make $3 or $4 more million a year? It’s not about the money. I already got my money. It’s about winning and that’s it.”

Here’s where the folks upset at the Cardinals step in. People who I think should know better second-guess the team for not having previously locked Pujols up to another long-term deal. Some wanted it done two years ago. Others would have been happy had it been accomplished this January.

The fatal fallacy in that point of view is the belief that somehow the Cardinals were in control – that they could have magically closed the deal back then at the same or less money than the $22 million per year they reportedly offered now.

I don’t believe it for one minute.

Pujols wanted A-Rod money (ten years, $275 million) previously, so there was absolutely no reason for him to give up a chance at free agency to take less in advance.

In fact, my belief is that the Cardinals only remained in the Pujols hunt until the final day due to good fortune. First, the Yankees and Red Sox were not in the bidding. Second, the market overall is down, another point as to why Pujols would not have settled for $22 million or thereabouts in a better environment earlier.

Others have criticized the Cardinals for not playing hardball with Pujols earlier. Their thinking was that the club should have issued the player an ultimatum to either sign an extension at the team’s price or be traded away. The last window for that to have been feasible was the July 2010 deadline. With the full benefit of hindsight, winning the 2011 World Championship in Pujols’ final year seemed the right (non-) move.

Back to the here and now, some are suggesting the Cardinals were not competitive, with their bid only fourth-best, putting them behind the Angels, Marlins and a supposed “mystery team.”

First of all, no one knows for sure what those other bids were (if they existed at all) and our sources may have agendas in trying to influence public opinion. For example, this would be exactly the kind of spin to come from Team Pujols if they wanted to try to diminish the St. Louis backlash.*

I suspect the Cardinals probably did extend themselves “to the limit and beyond,” as GM John Mozeliak said at his press conference on Thursday afternoon. The team officials are the only ones who fully understand their financials but from the outside looking in, they seemed to make representative offers, which they say they adjusted as recently as Wednesday. Could they pay the highest amount? As proven, the answer is “no.”

Who can blame the Cardinals for being wary of giving 10 years with no-trade protection to a man who will be 41 years old at the end of his contract? At least the Angels could eventually station an aged Pujols at designated hitter, an option unavailable to St. Louis.

All is not lost. The Cardinals have the time and now the money this winter to explore trades, free agency and perhaps going after extensions before their next round of core players hit the market – Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina. They have the flexibility to plan for the future with a more balanced team than paying a superstar salary would allow.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not anti-Pujols. He earned the right to seek free agency and to take his services to the bidder of his choice, which he did. I don’t begrudge him one bit for that. That is the system baseball has put in place and he used it to his maximum advantage.

Cardinals fans should appreciate the 11 unprecedented years he gave them and the fine team baseball played, of which he was a key contributor. The two World Championship flags Pujols helped raise will fly forever.

On the other hand, I hope Pujols does not insult our intelligence by insisting that his move was not about the money. It clearly was.

* Update: And, here it is. It was a matter of the heart. A direct quote from a phone call from Pujols to his agent Dan Lozano early Thursday morning follows. It was Pujols communicating his decision as reported by USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, who it would appear is tightly wired to the agent. After all, how else could a third-party quote a one-on-one telephone conversation directly?

“The Angels,” he (Pujols) said (to Lozano), “are the ones tugging on my heart.”

Pujols’ past level of support, admiration and in some cases, near worship as a Cardinal is unlikely to be exceeded, or even duplicated anywhere else. That Pujols’ heart told him to leave this environment in St. Louis for a completely different situation is difficult to fathom. If he instead departed for more money from the Angels, that would be neither a crime, nor a sin.

Some suggest the Players’ Union may have pressured Pujols to take the highest bid. Just one year ago, we saw a crystal clear example of just the opposite. Cliff Lee passed up higher offers from two teams, the Yankees and his then-current club, the Rangers, to sign with Philadelphia instead. Lee was not about the money.

The loss of star continuity resulting from Pujols leaving the Cardinals behind is my greatest regret from the perspective of a long-time fan of the game of baseball. One-team Hall-of-Famers are so rare in this day and age. Ripken, Jeter (later), Gwynn, Brett… there aren’t too many.

Then, there is the greatest Cardinal of them all, Stan Musial. Yes, Stan stayed home for a quarter of a century, but in his day, players had no choice. One thing for sure, by heading to Anaheim, Pujols has guaranteed that he will never earn the opportunity to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with “The Man” as a true career-long and life-long St. Louis Cardinals icon.

Audio interview

I covered much of this same ground in my Thursday afternoon live interview with Ken Miller and Jim Brinson on KXnO FOX Sports Radio in Des Moines. It follows.

Click here for audio: Brian Walton with Ken Miller and Jim Brinson (9:20)

Reader poll

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130 Responses to “It’s ok. Just don’t insult us, Albert. It was about the money.”

  1. JumboShrimp says:

    Yes, its all about money.

    But I also entirely believe Albert when he said it was out of his control. Its not about greed on Albert’s part. Its simply economics and the player’s association.

    TLR suspected this day would come. Tony retired. TLR has been around the game a long time and knows that big wallets get what they want. Los Angeles is a huge market. The Angels can outspend mid-market St Louis, anytime they want.

    We may have been lulled to sleep by Boras re-up-ing Holiday and Lohse with the Cards. But Scottie B. played for the Cards. He is not our enemy. And with the Great Recession, other teams held off on Holiday, and so the Cards won one big free agent, for once. Usually, in general, St Louis is not going to retain a Hall of Fame free agent, because a richer team has the money to take him away, plus the Union wants him to move, to help bolster the salary scale for all players.

    DeWitt and Mo said just the right things. Thanks for the memories and your terrific service Albert. All our best wishes to you on accumulating historic records, in future.

  2. JumboShrimp says:

    Cliff Lee “only” got five years and $120MM. Cliff was a relatively trivial free agent, in relation to Pujols.

    Cleveland could not keep Manny Ramirez and CC Sabathia. Water flows down-hill, not uphill.

    A few years ago, Tony wanted LH closer Brian Fuentes, but Fuentes went to the Angels. The Angels can outbid the Cards on any veteran free agent.

    Its just the way of the game nowadays, as simple as three strikes make an out or four balls a walk. Pujols was not “owned” for-ever by just one team. Instead, Albert earned his emancipation, while bringing two World Championships to St Louis. Thanks, Albert!

    • Brian Walton says:

      Uh, how much different per year is 120 divided by five compared to 254 divided by ten?

      Just for you, I added “Players Union” to the poll choices. If you have already voted for another option, it may have severely limited the potential votes for that choice…

      • blingboy says:

        I just voted. :)

      • JumboShrimp says:

        $254MM is larger than $120MM.

        Combine votes for “the union” and “neither Pujols nor the Cards”, and this voting block is near 10 percent.

        Of course, not every player is trying to push the salary envelope. Lance Berkman used to be a huge celebrity for his hometown team, Houston. But the Astros unsentimentally sent Lance packing via a trade to the Yanks. Now Lance is happy playing for the Cards and quietly signed a deal for 2012. Lance might have gotten a little more, if he had explored the marketplace.

        Does this mean Albert is greedy, while Lance is not? Probably not. Its just Albert wanted to land the best long-term deal he could, while Lance may be nearing the end of his career and is happy to take it year by year.

    • crdswmn says:

      “Cliff was a relatively trivial free agent, in relation to Pujols.”

      That is one of the most ridiculous statements I have heard today. Perhaps this idea that Pujols is somehow superior to all others in the baseball world is a big part of this. So many people have been saying it for years, that Albert actually believes it is true. Pride goeth before a fall.

  3. crdswmn says:

    I have been trying all day to post my own piece on this subject but Redbird Rants is not cooperating. It won’t save my edits. I have reported it, but who knows when it will work right. I am exploring some of the themes you have Brian, so when it does finally get posted, I want you to know I didn’t copy you. I guess we just think similarly on this subject. :)

  4. JumboShrimp says:

    Art Moreno is of Mexican descent. He probably likes to sign premium Hispanic athletes, Vladimir Guerrero being a previous signee. Maybe the Angels have lots of Hispanic fans, as do the underbidding Marlins.

    Now if Art had only offered Albert 5 years and $120MM, like Cliff Lee was willing to accept, then no, I doubt Albert would have felt Art was tugging on his heartstrings.

    However, 10 years and $254 is more than twice as much.

    Hearts can appreciate money. And many other players applaud Albert’s big payoff. Such is modern life.

  5. blingboy says:

    Yes, it turned out to be all about the money. But the reason for that may not have been the money.

    Perhaps Albert’s appetite for the Cards org waned over the last couple years. My dad insists its been downhill with Albert since the Holliday contract. He thinks Albert’s rep contacted the Cards about a redo and got an unacceptable response.

    To that, I would add that, despite the public facade, its possible the Cards org had begun to suffer some Albert fatigue. Albert/Tony fatigue. Perhaps the sense, felt by both sides, if only subliminally, was that it was time to turn the page.

    So it became all about the money, but for reasons other than money. $200+ is plenty after all, unless there’s some reason for it not to be.

  6. JumboShrimp says:

    Call me cynical, but if DeWitt had offered Albert $300MM, I think Albert’s heart would have been persuaded to return.

    How many people would choose millions less? Albert’s no dummy. He went for the higher bid. It was out of his control. He is not making the bids, just choosing which one seems best.

  7. JumboShrimp says:

    Barry Bonds started with the Pirates. After he earned free agency, he moved to the Giants, becoming MLB’s all time HR leader.
    A star player moving to a bigger market is something that has happenned many, many times, before. Its nothing new, nor highly surprising.
    I suspected Art Moreno would be a threat on Pujols.

    Its too bad, but the 2012 season will go on. Mo kindly inked up Lance Berkman for 2012, in case something like this were to happen.

  8. Bw52 says:

    Jumbo-some people are ticked off because Albert did what most people would do.That doesn`t make him a bad person or a liar.What it makes him is gone.No matter what many bloggers and writers think they know about the details and offers only the main people know and i doubt they will tell the exact details..Everything else is speculation IMO.

    • JumboShrimp says:

      Mike Matheny is one of the new faces representing the New Cards. What did Mike do, when he had earned free agency? Matheny took a bigger deal and left St. Louis, like Albert just has. The main difference is Albert is one of the all time greats, so landed a 10 year deal, whereas Mike could only land 3 years.

      Willie McGee won a couple of batting titles as a Redbird. Willie too departed via free agency.
      We got to the World Series in 2004 and afterwards Edgar Renteria took a bigger offer from victorious Boston.
      Vince Coleman exited via free agency.
      Terry Pendleton left for the high spending Braves and had an MVP season.
      Matt Morris took a bigger offer and left. Todd Worrell. Andy Benes.

      Were Willie, Vince, Terry, Matt, Todd, Andy, and Mike greedy or bad people? Not necessarily. They simply followed the process of free agency that they had earned and this resulted in a higher salary for them. Baseball is a job and this is how it works.

      I have little doubt Bob Gibson, Lou Brock, and Stan Musial would have taken the highest offers had they enjoyed the blessing of greater economic freedom, back when they played.

      • Brian Walton says:

        Of course, players leave as free agents. I haven’t seen anyone here dispute that obvious fact. The point of discussion is whether or not union pressure was the significant factor in Pujols’ decision. So far, three voters out of 226, or slightly more than one percent, agree with you.

        Further, in the process, Jumbo again re-writes history as only he can do.

        Matheny didn’t leave in search of riches elsewhere. He left because the Cardinals decided the cheaper, younger and more talented Molina was ready to take over the starting job. The Cards no longer had a place for Matheny.

        McGee was not a free agent. He was traded away in the midst of the 1990 season, etc…

        • JumboShrimp says:

          “The Cards no longer had a place for Matheny.”
          Actually, we did make Matheny an offer. It would be incorrect and an oversimplification to claim we did not have a place for Mike.
          The Giants had more of a place and made him a significantly bigger offer.
          Mike was disappointed by the Cards offer and possibly it was ungenerous.
          Mike may have honestly preferred to stay here.
          But the economics of the game gave Mike a crystal clear sign to move elsewhere and that is what he chose to do. The Union did not make him do it, in a narrow sense.
          But in a larger sense, who formed a Union, went on strikes, and established a labor agreement with free agency for veterans? The players and their Union. So when a guy chooses a higher offer, he is following the Union’s program.
          When a player is a future Hall of Famer, in his prime, and a celebrity, he would be under extra pressure to follow the Union’s gameplan.

          • JumboShrimp says:

            Matheny also built a splendid palace of a home near St Louis. Its not like he found money from the Giants unhelpful, even if he had the misfortune to over-invest just before a Great Recession.

          • Brian Walton says:

            Sure, the Cards had a place for Matheny, but it wasn’t what he wanted. He could stay if he would take a pay cut and be satisfied becoming the back up behind Molina. In other words, a non-offer to a guy who had won the last two Gold Gloves and was still obviously good enough to start elsewhere. That is what he did in signing for three years with SF.

            • JumboShrimp says:

              Brian, how about doing an a column to reveal how Walt offered Matheny a pay cut? This could be a fascinating and timely article, now Mike has been hand-picked as manager, despite no prior experience in this role. And yet the Cards under DeWitt did Matheny dirty back in winter 2004. Does DeWitt feel guilty now?

              • Brian Walton says:

                At the time, there were grumblings about how veterans were being treated by Jocketty in terms of not being kept up to date on contract status. I recall Strauss stringing a bunch of them together to try to establish a pattern. Morris and Woody were others. That is ancient history now.

                I’d have to go dig it up, but if my memory serves me correctly, Matheny took an annual pay cut with the Giants compared to his last year with the Cardinals. But he got three years for something like $10.5 or $11 million. That was pretty good coverage of his 34-36 years though he couldn’t complete the contract due to his concussions.

      • Kansasbirdman says:

        Hard to say what they would have done. Stan did return a portion of his record salary.

  9. crdswmn says:

    Here is my blog post. No picture this time because the site would not upload a picture.

    http://redbirdrants.com/2011/12/08/albert-pujols-was-shown-the-money-and-it-was-good/

    • blingboy says:

      Thinking deep thoughts. Nice job.

    • T8Ball says:

      Well done.

      Spring Training can’t get here soon enough.

    • WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

      This is a very good “write” CRD……………….. this is just an aside for you…….. if you had every spent a few moments with Diedre P…….. you would understand the true nature of AP’s character and religious conviction ……… he needs structure, and those around him offer it with affection…….. they left for LA because she understood the depth of his injuries here……… she also must meet those new challenges……. the money they received is a very articulate symbol of caring and concern for their families shared emotional needs, which now must include their charitable works ………. I think you might just guess how disturbing the loss of trust in the Cardinal Organizations might have seemed ………… and it had little to do quantity of money………this is purely a question of “character”.

  10. blingboy says:

    Brian may go for this or maybe not. I thought I’d provide some entertainment and distraction by digging out one of my favorite baseball articles of all time, and passing it along a chunk at a time.

    Its an entertaining read. Baseball, beer, boobs. Players and fans gone wild. The dark days of a distressed city in distressing times, and a baseball organiztion trying to endure.

    Some will be familiar, and most or all will be able to track it down on the internet. But I encourage restraint. I intend to post it in 9 parts, some longer than others, with the first being the longest as it sets the stage. But none too long for this venue, IMO.

    The parts will show up one or two a day, I figure. And I guess I’ll try to keep them all here on this thread.

    I stress that this is not my work. I will post the attribution at the end of the last part, as well as a link.

    Any objections, let me know overnight.

    • crdswmn says:

      Sounds good to me.

    • blingboy says:

      Part 1 of 8

      On June 4, 1974, the Rangers thought it necessary to brandish bats in defense of Jeff Burroughs.
      Working backward from that day, there have been 128 forfeits in 139 years of professional play. In many cases, we know little of the circumstances beyond the asterisk next to the box score. When details survive, they prompt difficult questions. Why did Cleveland Spiders fans throw their seat cushions at the visiting Pittsburgh outfielders on May 26, 1894? Why, for that matter, were the bleacher seats at League Park padded?
      The Indians, who played at League Park in later years, left the cushions behind when they relocated to Cleveland Municipal Stadium in 1932. Their new home, the first sports venue built entirely with public financing, seated 74,400 fans — making it by far the largest stadium in America at the time — and sacrificed comfort for quantity. First announced in 1928, the scale of the building led to rumors that Cleveland might bid for the 1932 Summer Olympics, which eventually went to Los Angeles. Though such a proposal wasn’t submitted, the fact that Cleveland’s civic leaders would even dream of an Ohio Olympiad suggests that, at the time, this was a city squinting into a bright future.
      In 1928, Cleveland supplanted St. Louis as America’s fifth largest metropolis. Just three years later, the city was closing in on fourth-place Detroit. With Cleveland’s shoes growing a full size every decade, civic planners designed a sports stadium roomy enough to accommodate thousands of citizens who had not yet arrived. They did not realize that their city’s growth spurt was over, nor could they have anticipated the decades of sullen adolescence just over the horizon.
      By May 13, 1974, Cleveland’s civic optimism had long since passed. That night, the Indians beat the Boston Red Sox 4-1 in front of just 4,234 spectators. In Cleveland, a city in which spring confines itself to the first week of June, the game-time temperature had dropped to 45 degrees. Players wore long sleeves under their uniforms and blew into their hands, working as quickly as they could and perhaps wondering why no one had thought to build the Astrodome in Cleveland instead of Houston. Fans applauded when John Ellis hit a three-run homer in the first inning, but icy winds swept their encouragement out to Lake Erie. By the end of the contest, few remained aside from the beat writers who were taking notes on the slow demise of Cleveland baseball.
      The ’74 Indians were a smorgasbord of mediocre and forgettable talent playing in an open-air mausoleum. That year, in a city that fielded one of the founding professional teams (the Forest Citys, incorporated there in 1869), 85 percent of the seats at home games went unsold. All those empty seats meant a balance sheet written in red. The team’s executive vice president, Ted Bonda, could put up with losing teams and an ugly stadium (he had inherited both in 1972), but he would not tolerate insolvency. Bonda called a meeting to discuss options for improving attendance, which must have felt a little like trying to figure out how to get people excited about a trip to the orthodontist. Someone, apparently a team employee likely acting out of desperation, suggested copying the Texas Rangers, who had recently hosted a successful “10-Cent Beer Night.” We can imagine the grim silence in the boardroom as the group considered this obviously dangerous remedy. How interested would Cleveland be in such a promotion?

    • blingboy says:

      Part 2 of 8

      Any rumination on Cleveland’s fortunes in the ’70s must include the woeful state of the Cuyahoga River, which ran a winding course through downtown. In 1952, it caught fire for the ninth time. Years and years of absorbing liberal amounts of industrial waste had turned the Cuyahoga into something more than just a waterway. The fetid river burned with Stygian fury, destroying $1.5 million in property. Despite the significance of the incident, it didn’t attract much national news coverage. But in 1969, when the Cuyahoga caught fire again, flames reached five stories in height and burned for almost a half-hour. Still, they did little more than scorch a rail bridge, and the damage cost just $50,000 to repair. In Cleveland, this was viewed as improvement. Between ’52 and ’69, however, the national attitude toward flammable bodies of water had changed.

      This time, environmentalists used the city for target practice. National outrage led to the formation of the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970 and the passage of the Clean Water Act of 1977. Cleveland could be considered the chief impetus behind these two important and beneficial achievements, which in the ’70s were as close as the city came to a story with a happy ending.

      In the decade preceding 1974, more than 600 factories and heavy industrial operations fled Cleveland. The city considered itself lucky when these businesses landed in suburbs near enough for commuter transit. Most companies left the state or shut down permanently.
      Cleveland would lose 177,000 inhabitants between 1970 and 1980, bottoming out at three-quarters of its post-WWII high population of 910,000. The city council met to earnestly discuss the prospect of bankruptcy. No municipality in the nation had landed in default since the Great Depression, but in Cleveland, all options were on the table.

      Considering the state of the city in 1974, Bonda and his brain trust decided that, yes, Cleveland probably could use a drink.

      Accounts vary as to the volume proffered — 8 ounces? 10? 12? — but the price was certain enough: 10 cents per cup. Fans — and we shall use this term for lack of a better one — could buy up to six cups at a time, with no system in place to prevent a designated mule from purchasing a full complement, handing them off to underage clients, and returning for more.
      Even though the Indians offered copious amounts of beer at cut-rate prices, a great many attendees opted to play with a handicap, arriving at their seats drunk, stoned or both. The June 4 promotion turned out to be quite popular, drawing 25,134 people, more than double the average crowd that season.

    • blingboy says:

      Part 3 of 8

      Though the Rangers organization provided the inspiration for the promotion, no love was lost between the two teams. During their previous meeting on May 29 in Texas, a vicious brawl had erupted — featuring head-hunting pitchers, punches thrown and a fair number of beer cups tossed at Indians players. The Tribe lost the game 3-0, and one can understand why Clevelanders’ tempers were a bit on the short side six days later when the Rangers came to town.

      Through deliberate coordination or spontaneous groupthink, hundreds of fans showed up with pockets full of firecrackers. Anonymous explosions peppered the stands from the first pitch, lending the game a war-zone ambiance that would seem increasingly appropriate. Though it is not clear whether this impromptu celebration cost anyone a finger or hand, an uneasy je ne sais quoi settled into the stadium along with clouds of exploded gunpowder and marijuana smoke.

      The Rangers took the lead in the top of the second inning on a home run by designated hitter Tom Grieve. Just a few pitches later, a heavyset woman sitting near first base jumped the wall, ran to the Indians’ on-deck circle, and bared her enormous, unhindered breasts to appreciative applause from the beer-goggled teenagers who made up the stadium’s primary demographic that night. She then attempted — unsuccessfully — to kiss umpire crew chief Nestor Chylak, who was not in a kissing mood.

      This woman was just the scout for a larger exhibitionist force. When Grieve hit his second home run in the fourth inning, he had not yet rounded third base when a man — entirely naked — ran onto the field and slid into second, probably getting dirt in places unsuitable for speculation. In the fifth inning, two men in the outfield got into the act, jumping the wall and mooning the Rangers’ outfielders. The players watched, hands on hips, shaking their heads as park security chased one hooligan after another across the diamond.

      Each Texas player received a lusty chorus of boos as he stepped to the plate, and Fort Worth Star-Telegram beat writer Mike Shropshire noticed that the war drums beating from the nosebleed seats kept a quicker-than-usual tempo. Interest in the game itself peaked in the fourth inning, when Indians batter Leron Lee swatted a line drive back to Rangers pitcher Fergie Jenkins. Jenkins could not get out of the way and caught the ball with his stomach. As he writhed in pain, the fans began to clap. A chant began:
      “Hit him again, harder!”

      Later that inning, Lee was called safe in a close play at third. Rangers manager Billy Martin, no stranger to disruption and very much in his element that evening, came out to argue. A large number of the plastic cups sold to that point, many still full of beer, were thrown back onto the field by fans who found Martin’s very presence offensive. As he returned to the dugout, the Rangers manager blew kisses into the stands.

    • blingboy says:

      Part 4 of 8

      As the night wore on, the crowds grew bolder, and packs of fans frequently scurried across the outfield. One man tossed a tennis ball into center field, then scrambled after it. After throwing the ball back into the seats, he led park security on a little jog, pausing at one point to hug another fan, perhaps a long-lost relative, who had jumped out to greet him. Ushers dragged away one of the two, while the other leaped into the stands and was borne away by dozens of gleeful, anonymous hands. The rain of beer became a hail of rocks, batteries, golf balls and anything not bolted down.

      Just a few years later, such a barrage would prompt the involvement of municipal police in large numbers. During the 1980 World Series in Philadelphia, officers clad in riot gear trotted out of the tunnels and along the baselines in a pre-emptive maneuver, their German shepherds flitting behind home plate like shadows as Phillies closer Tug McGraw tried desperately to close things out. In 1974, it did not occur to the Indians organization to request an additional police presence at the ballpark for their beer-fueled promotion. If any municipal police were in the stadium that night, they were off duty and quite possibly as drunk as anyone else.

      Early on, the demand for beer surpassed the Indians’ capacity to ferry it to concession stands, and a luminary, perhaps the same person who suggested the promotion in the first place, decided to allow fans to line up behind the outfield fences and have their cups filled directly from Stroh’s company trucks. The promotion achieved critical mass at that moment, as weaving, hooting queues of people refilled via industrial spigot.

      The public address announcer reminded spectators not to litter onto the field, and refuse rained down harder. The grounds crew had not sat down since the second inning, and outfield fans used them as moving targets. Another woman jumped out of the stands waving, and though she did not disrobe, the crowd urged her to consider it. When ushers arrived to end the discussion, she attacked them. The surprised ushers forced her to the ground, prompting a storm of boos and shouts of “police brutality!”

      One enterprising fan threw lit firecrackers into the Rangers’ bullpen like grenades. Chylak ordered both bullpens evacuated, but little short of an authentic grenade would deter the crew chief from seeing the contest completed. He told the relievers to warm up on the mound itself.

      Mike Hargrove came on to play first base for the Rangers. The baseline fans greeted him with a half-full jug of Thunderbird wine that missed his head by inches.

    • blingboy says:

      Part 5 of 8

      As the ushers flagged, streakers stripped leisurely on the field of play, abandoning their clothes in a pile in left-center. A contingent of fans along the third-base side began removing the padding on the left-field wall. Either through numbers or sheer force of will, they nearly succeeded in taking a large chunk into the stands. The grounds crew abandoned its trash-collection duties and mustered to save the padding, an effort that occupied them the rest of the night.

      In the seventh inning, radio announcers Joe Tait and Herb Score watched as the baseball fans in the crowd gathered their families and left the stadium like refugees. In the eighth, they noticed Bonda and other members of the Indians front office leaving the ballpark, doing their best to look casual.

      In the ninth, the Indians mounted a rally, scoring two runs to tie the game at 5. The winning run stood on second base when a young man jumped from the outfield seats and (perhaps searching for a memento to mark the occasion) flipped the cap off Rangers outfielder Jeff Burroughs’ head. The outfielder turned to confront the fan and tripped over his own feet in the process. For the first time that evening, the chaos enveloped a player.

      The slope of the diamond made it impossible for Martin to see below the level of an outfielder’s knees from his station in the dugout. The legendary manager, in a moment that does not get large enough print on his long and colorful résumé, did not hesitate after Burroughs fell from view.
      “Let’s go get ‘em, boys,” he said, arming himself with a fungo bat and sprinting toward right-center field. The Rangers, understandably inspired, followed him.

    • blingboy says:

      Part 6 of 8

      Martin and his team stormed the diamond, infielders filling out their ranks. When they reached the outfield, the Rangers found Burroughs flustered but unharmed. More worrisome was the effect of their charge on the assembly: The jovial, frolicking nudists had disappeared. The mob that replaced them kept its clothes on and brandished an arsenal that made Martin’s Louisville Slugger look like a child’s toy. The Rangers manager spotted people wielding chains, knives and clubs fashioned from pieces of stadium seats. The 25 Texas players quickly found themselves surrounded by 200 angry drunks, and more were tumbling over the wall onto the field. The Texas Rangers had been ambushed.

      Then the riot began.

      Indians manager Ken Aspromonte, his own defining moment upon him, realized that the Texas franchise might be on the verge of decimation. He too ordered his players onto the field. The bat racks in the home dugout emptied as the Indians mounted their own rescue.

    • blingboy says:

      Part 7 of 8

      Announcers Tait and Score have the call, as recorded by Akron Beacon-Journal writer Bob Dyer:

      Tait: Tom Hilgendorf has been hit on the head. Hilgy is in definite pain. He’s bent over, holding his head … Aw, this is an absolute tragedy. Absolute tragedy … I’ve been in this business for over 20 years, and I have never seen anything as disgusting as this.

      Broadcasters often employ the “always a few bad apples” defense in these situations, but when confronted with the sight of an entire stadium of such rotten fruit, Joe Tait finds himself at a loss.

      Tait: And I’ll be perfectly honest with you: I just don’t know what to say.

      Score: I don’t think this game will continue, Joe … The unbelievable thing is people keep jumping out of the stands after they see what’s going on!

      Tait: Well, that shows you the complete lack of brainpower on the parts of some people. There’s no way I’m going to run out onto the field if I see some baseball player waving a bat out there looking for somebody. This is tragic … The whole thing has degenerated now into just — now we’ve got another fight going with fans and ballplayers. Hargrove has got some kid on the ground and he is really administering a beating.

      Score: Well, that fellow came up and hit him from behind is what happened.

      Tait: Boy, Hargrove really wants a piece of him — and I don’t blame him.

      Score: Look at Duke Sims down there going at it.

      Tait: Yeah, Duke is in on it. Here we go again.

      The sight of 50 angry professional athletes slowly killed the buzz, and the tide in the outfield turned. Taking advantage of what might be their only opportunity to escape alive, Martin and Aspromonte led their players out through the dugouts and down the tunnels, assisting their wounded as needed, with bench players forming a rearguard. After the teams departed, the mob found itself alone on the diamond, with many securing souvenirs to mark the occasion.

      Score: They’ve stolen the bases.

      Here, Score undersold. They stole more than just the bases. Anything not secured or already taken disappeared. The mob swarmed like locusts as the doors to both clubhouses were shut and locked. With no baseball plays or players left to describe, Tait and Score stared down at the melee, which continued for another 20 minutes.

      Tait: The security people here are just totally incapable of handling this crowd. They just — well, short of the National Guard, I’m not sure what would handle this crowd right now. It’s unbelievable. Just unbelievable.

      Score: People go back into the seats and others jump down to take their place.

      Tait: The bases are gone.

      Perhaps attempting to soothe the riotous beast, the organist then played “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”

      Chylak then had a moment of profundity in which he realized that there will be days when the mail just does not go through. A hunting knife has landed, blade down, in the grass behind his leg. He forfeits the game to the Rangers and runs.

    • blingboy says:

      Part 8 of 8

      The beat reporters worked overtime that night, particularly Dan Coughlin, from the Chronicle-Telegram of Lorain County, Ohio, who was punched in the face twice while interviewing fans. Those reporters smart enough to follow the teams into the safety of their clubhouses got more than stock responses about looking forward to the next contest.

      Said Martin: “That was the closest you’re ever going to be to seeing someone get killed in this game of baseball. [Given the hectic circumstances, Martin can be forgiven for overlooking the death of shortstop Ray Chapman, who was wearing an Indians uniform in 1920 when he was fatally struck by a Carl Mays fastball.] Burroughs seemed to be surrounded. Maybe it was silly for us to go out there, but we weren’t about to leave a man on the field unprotected. It seemed that he might be destroyed.”

      For someone who had just escaped destruction, Burroughs kept his calm. He hopefully asked one reporter whether a forfeit would erase his 0-for-3 at the plate that night. The writer informed him that it would not.

      Aspromonte took a wider view of events, wondering whether Cleveland had lost more than a game that night.
      “It’s not just baseball,” he said. “It’s the society we live in. Nobody seems to care about anything. We complained about their people in Arlington last week when they threw beer on us and taunted us to fight. But look at our people — they were worse. I don’t know what it was, and I don’t know who’s to blame, but I’m scared.”

      Cleveland did not lose its ballclub, but after the Indians finished the season 77-85, Aspromonte lost his job — to one of his own players, Frank Robinson.

      Though Chylak and his crew were criticized for not ending the game sooner, they did not shirk their responsibilities as the night deteriorated. Said the irate and rattled crew chief after the game, as he applied a compress to the back of his bleeding head: “F—— animals! You just can’t pull back a pack of animals. When uncontrolled beasts are out there, you gotta do something. I saw two guys with knives, and I got hit with a chair.”

      He paused, then added an inexplicable and vaguely disturbing coda: “If the f—— war is on tomorrow, I’m gonna join the other side to get a shot at them.”

      The Cleveland Police Department arrived in force soon after the game was forfeited to the Rangers. It took a half-hour, but the officers dispersed the crowd with the aid of stadium personnel, who helpfully turned off all the lights. Nine fans were arrested.

      Indians players volunteered to escort their Texas colleagues to the team bus, provided that it was not lying on its side or in flames. Neither was the case.

      In the wake of the debacle, the Indians announced that drastic measures would be taken to prevent further chaos: At all future promotions offering 10-cent beer (three more were planned), fans would be restricted to four cups apiece per night, no exceptions. American League president Lee McPhail greeted this mandate with one of his own: All promotional events were canceled, pending league review.

      The “war” did not start the next day, and Chylak did not fire upon any Clevelander whom history is aware of. He was posthumously inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1999.

      As they had for most of that decade, the 1974 Indians finished in a forgettable fourth place in the AL East — in the standings and in attendance.

      Mike Hargrove would return to Cleveland as Indians manager in 1991. He kept a picture from 10-Cent Beer Night on the wall of his office.

      As of this writing, the missing bases have not been returned.

      Paul Jackson is a Chicago-based freelance writer. You can reach him at pjacks2@gmail.com.

      http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=beernight/080604

      • blingboy says:

        Things were different back in the early 70s. After all that, only 9 arrests and, best of all, the Indians response was to reduce the number of beers a fan could buy at one time from 6 to 4. Those were the good ol’ days.

        There are some photos at the link.

  11. jcbmthompson says:

    Bob Nightengale, USA TODAY:
    “Pujols rejected the Miami Marlins’ offer of 10 years, $275 milllion a day earlier, according to two people familar with the offer but not authorized to discuss it due to the sensitive nature of the negotations(sic).”

    http://content.usatoday.com/communities/dailypitch/post/2011/12/albert-pujols-angels-marlins-bigger-offer-miami/1

    • Brian Walton says:

      After the fact, this big Miami bid seemed to come out of nowhere. It may be most valuable as a reference point to suggest Pujols was not chasing top dollar. Of course, one has to decide how much credence to give it.

    • crdswmn says:

      No no trade clause and no DH. Good reasons not to take it that don’t involve money.

      • Brian Walton says:

        True but prior to this evening, all reports I had seen indicated the Marlins were out yesterday and moved on to sign Buehrle, etc. Instead, we are to believe they quietly jacked up their offer by $65 million or that all the other reports were off by that much. This NBC article points out the discrepancy. (The day before, Nightengale was like seemingly everyone else, calling the Marlins’ final offer simply “in excess of $200 million.”)

        • crdswmn says:

          I agree it is more likely that the offer is bogus and is an attempt to make it look better for Albert. I just meant if the offer were legitimate, those would be two factors that might have weighed against it.

          I also concede the possibility that Albert simply wanted to go to LA more than he wanted to stay in St. Louis. There is nothing wrong with that. Would he admit to that if that was the case? And if that was the case, did he always feel that way or was this a recent change in his stated desire to stay in St. Louis?

    • blingboy says:

      Somebody pointed out Scioscia is more like Larussa than Guillan. But its odd Albert and Wilson both took less from the Angels.

  12. blingboy says:

    The Rule 5 draft confuses me every year. In the major league draft, the Cards take a guy who hasn’t played above AA. In the minor league draft, AAA part, the Cards lose a guy who played at Batavia. I know its not all a big joke, it can’t be. But, wtf?

    • Brian Walton says:

      Too complicated to completely explain here, but the essence of it is that the rosters to which the players are assigned for purposes of Rule 5 have no relation to where they actually played. It is just a paperwork shuffle to align them at various levels of protection. In an oversimplification, there are a limited number of guys you can guarantee that you can keep, another group of guys that are a bit more expensive to lose and all the rest, who are available fairly cheaply. If you are a subscriber on the main site, I can point you to several articles where I provide more detail.

      • Bw52 says:

        Brian-I am also confused about the Komatsu selection.Lefty batting OF was not a need.Komatsu seems like a version of Chambers.A RH hitting OF might have been a choice.It doesn`t make sense to me.

        • Brian Walton says:

          Right. Even before Komatsu arrived, Chambers, Skip and Jay are all LHH OFs who can play CF. Perhaps some other moves are ahead. Of course, remember that Komatsu has zero at-bats above Double-A so he is hardly a sure thing.

  13. DizzyDean17 says:

    I’m not all that certain that it was clearly about the money. It certainly played a big role but, as you mentioned, a lot can change from the day in 2009 when Albert made his comments about money.

    Our friend SkinnyPimp over at the Scout board mentioned a month or so ago a rumor about Deidre’s desire to live on the West Coast. With no insult intended to you hearty Midwesterners, I can understand her wishes. I’ve been to St. Louis in the summertime and I live about 20 miles from Angels Stadium. If climate is at all important to you and there’s any truth to that rumor, you have to agree she has a point.

    Colin Cowherd asked this morning that If wifey says she wants to live by the beach in Southern California, how are you going to tell her you passed up somewhere between $34MM and $82MM to stay in St. Louis instead of granting her wish?

    • blingboy says:

      We have the Dog Museum and no smog. But you have a point. I’ve been married 31 years.

    • crdswmn says:

      Been there. Multiple times. Climate is great. Traffic, population congestion, not great. Depends on what your priorities are. I hate winters in Missouri too, but if could pick a warm place to live, California would be the last place I would pick.

    • Brian Walton says:

      Good points, Diz, but why must a residence location be an either-or decision for a multi-millionaire? Further, what percentage of MLB players do you think have their primary residence in their city of play? My educated guess is far fewer don’t than do. (Guess I could also have included the former manager.)

      • crdswmn says:

        Excellent point. I believe the only current players who make permanent residence in St. Louis are Chris Carpenter, Matt Holliday, David Freese, and Kyle McClellan. Are there any others that you know of?

      • DizzyDean17 says:

        Brian, I brought up the possibility that Deirdre wanted to live in California in response to your claim that it was clearly about the money. I don’t claim to have all the answers but I suspect Albert values his time with his family enough to want to be home as much as possible from April through October.

        You could have included the former manager if you wanted to strengthen my argument for me about the quality of living in California vs. that of St. Louis. TLR chose to work 2000 miles from home and Albert was with him every day. They may have had conversations that influenced Albert’s decision to go to the Angels. He no doubt wants to see as much of his kids as he can.

  14. CariocaCardinal says:

    How can you insult Westie and not include MLB/Bud Selig/Collusion Fix as one of the choices?

  15. CariocaCardinal says:

    I have a hard time believing it was about the money unless you consider Albert financially inept. Given how much further $220 million (or even 198 for that matter) goes in STL than SoCal (and that is before agent commission) then money was not the real motivator. It could be the union/albert responsibility to others angle but I think it was simply about ego – getting the highest number he could regardless of its economic value (due to location).

    Cost of Living comparison

    http://www.bestplaces.net/col/?salary=22000000&city1=52965000&city2=50644000

    • Brian Walton says:

      I have read others talk about Jock Tax (was that you, crdswmn?) and that players are taxed in the states where the income is earned. Considering road trips, that could affect half a player’s annual income, I imagine. Then there is the question discussed above as to the impact of the player’s actual primary state of residence. In other words, it sounds a bit more complicated than a simple cost of living analysis.

      My gut tells me, like you, that the whole state income tax, cost of living topic was not as big a factor in the decision as some would suggest.

      However, if it had been about ego, why wouldn’t he have asked Miami to give him an extra cent, making that supposed offer the single largest contract ever, surpassing A-Rod? Of course, for that theory to work, you have to believe the $275 million offer existed in the first place.

      • southeast redbird says:

        If he signed with the Marlins, there would be no state income tax to pay, thus the difference in what was offered vs what it would have been if he had to pay state taxes (and what he wanted). You do not have to reside in the state to not pay taxes but having a different permenent residence could become complicated, especially when you are talking 200+million. But it didn’t matter because Miami would NOT give him a no trade clause.

        I voted the difference maker was the players union.

        I would bet that if you asked any player and any agent that have been through free agency , that they will tell you that it’s important to remain consistant moving forward. I believe Albert was sincere when he said he would like to remain a cardinal forever, and that the money was not important. But business is business and Albert had every right to ask for what he really wanted, 10 years with no trade clause, the money was secondary. Keep in mind this is always about player vs. management. He wasn’t going to give in to management and turn on his fellow players. The angels came along with the 10 years and no trade clause AND the money, there was NO WAY he could turn it down. I believe what he said about making a decision with his heart. His heart told him that he had to do the right thing for the his family as well as the players. I am sure there was a bit of ego involved as well, but is that really a bad thing?

        I don’t blame the Cardinals for not giving him what he wanted as I don’t blame Albert for not taking what they were offering.

        I have always been a bit in awe of Albert as a professional, none of us knows what type of person he is in private, but I believe that players of this magnitude and fame take on huge responsibilities for others, in this case it was not for management .

        Albert deserves much more respect than he has been given over his decision.

        It was a business decision

        • crdswmn says:

          I have no problem with Albert chasing money; I have no problem with any player chasing money. But don’t pretend to be something you are not and don’t promise loyalty to a team when you know you might not make good on that promise. Berkman was honest enough to admit it is always about the money. Fine. Then if you feel compelled to make nice to the fans and the team, then a statement like, “Hey I like you guys and I would like to stay but my first loyalty will always be to the green paper with the nice pictures of presidents on them”, would be adequate. It would work for me anyway.

    • crdswmn says:

      “I think it was simply about ego – getting the highest number he could regardless of its economic value (due to location).”

      Isn’t that just semantics? It is still about the dollars signs.

    • RCWarrior says:

      I’m not surprised that Albert did what he did. The one thing I am surprised at is the fact that the Cardinals didn’t try to get closer to the Angels number. But the way I read it the Cardinals fully expected Albert to want to be a Cardinals and thus take way less money to remain a Cardinal. It sounds as though Albert had grown weary of the low balling that he was getting from the Cardinals. And I do agree with those who believe that the Cardinals didn’t low ball Matt Holliday so Albert was upset that the Cardinals continued to low ball him.

      This takes me back to the cardinals allowing this to reach this point. The only way it was the right decision to play it this way was if they were going to sign Albert at whatever cost. And the way the Cardinals played this causes me to return to their inability to either sign Albert , before he reached the no trade status or trade him for a motherload of players, as a bad business move.

      I blame the Cardinals for allowing this to reach this point. The fact that the poll results show most believe Albert is to blame shows me how much of a grip the Cardinals have on their fans. A 10 year deal wasn’t a bad deal 2 years ago for Albert and that was when this deal should have been offered to Albert. He would have surely taken it and the ending to this story would have been happy. As it stands today it is a tragedy.

      • Brian Walton says:

        Mo said yesterday that the Pujols camp did not come back to them with the details of the Angels offer. They say they did not know what they were up against. They independently decided what they could afford after apparently raising their offer the day before in response to the Miami bid. At some point, you have to say “enough is enough.” Most people seem to respect that position, as the voting indicates.

        Since winning World Series championships are what this whole game is about, hindsight shows the “give him an ultimatum or trade him” approach in 2009 or 2010 would have been a bad short-term move. We now know the Cards won a title by keeping Pujols in his last year and he was a big part of winning it all. That is fact.

        Instead, having traded Pujols away for players and prospects would not have assured anything. How did the Braves make out after trading Teixeira? How about the Indians after trading Lee and CC? In fact, show me one of those dump deals that led to a World Series championship. For the Cardinals, it would have been a step backward, at least in the short term.

        Saying Pujols would “surely” have taken a 10-year offer two years ago (likely at $200 million or less) is as unreasonable as your contention (until it didn’t happen) that Pujols was sure to remain with the Cardinals. A-Rod’s deal was out there all along as the measuring stick. At no time, two years ago until this week, were the Cards going to get close to it. Bottom line, nothing is as sure as you make it out to appear.

        • RCWarrior says:

          The fact remains that Pujols didn’t feel the need to allow the Cardinals to make a counter offer because he felt slighted by them imo.

          Agree the Cardinals won by keeping Albert but could have already had him locked up if they had played it right imo. Albert wanted to remain a Cardinals…I truely believe that. The fact the Cardinals didn’t approach offering Albert any sort of fair deal makes me think they driopped the ball in hopes his value may decrease. Thank the good lord the Braves fell apart or cardinals fans wouldn’t be able to swallow this quite as easily. The World Series win makes it easier to choke down.

          How did the Rangers make out after trading Texeira? The Braves waited too late much like the Cardinals in waiting until Albert had no trade protection.

          After botching the Albert situation 2 years ago I just knew the Cardinals couldn’t allow him to go elsewhere and figured they had prepared for this by allowing him to go into free agency. Boy was I wrong. They botched the entire thing. I’m not sure they did anythign right in this. Now I do feel that Albert will fall apart in about 5 years so this deal will end up not killing them but the Angels will really rake it in these next 5 years.

          • RCWarrior says:

            But I do know Brian, that you and I see these things differently. :)

          • Brian Walton says:

            Of course, Pujols wanted to remain a Cardinal… IF the price was right… It is easy to make those kinds of sweeping generalizations, but the devil is in the details. So, please be specific. Identify the offer the Cards could have made two years ago that Pujols would have accepted and explain why.

            P.S. Flags fly forever…

            • RCWarrior says:

              I actually believe that the offer that the Angels gave Albert would have been an excellent offer two years ago. Its much less of a good offer today since Albert is two years older. Albert wanted 300, cards offered 200. Meet in the middle at 250. Just seems fair. If the Cardinals had offered and Albert declined I would have no issue blaming him for this situation. but the offer reported to have been offered to Albert seems a bit ridiculous to me …….for ALBERT. The fact that it appears that the Cardinals expected that Albert would take less money because it was St. Louis seems laughable to me, When they made out like a bandit for the first 11 years of his contract. Albert signs a 10 year 250 mil contract two years ago without hesitation in my opinion because he wanted to remain here but wanted to be treated like he was important.

              Waiting allowed other players to set marks that could not be discarded……Ryan Howard on AAV is one example. I just don’t believe after that that Albert was going to take less than 25 mil a year.

              So going into this little excursion into free agency Albert had to be looking for something at or near 25 mil a year. I just have a hard time believing that BD didn’t have some kind of idea that Albert wasn’t going to sign for 20 mil a year.

              In other words it appears that WC has been right all along in that BD never had any intention of resigning Albert. Because if he did he sure didn’t have his finger on the pulse of the market.

              • Brian Walton says:

                Why would the Cards have been willing to go $250 two years ago? Your basic assumption makes no sense to me. He had two years remaining on his current deal at $16 million each. Further, why would Pujols have accepted any deal less than A-Rod, giving up his chance at free agency and a record deal?

                That is exactly what Pujols and Lozano took all the heat for doing in 2004 – taking what was perceived as a below-market deal in advance. The difference this time is that Pujols already had his financial security and had no motivation to settle early and potentially for less.

                DeWitt got another World Championship by keeping his team together. In my book, time proved that to be the best move.

                • RCWarrior says:

                  By going 250 two years ago they would be securing Albert as wearing the birds on the bat for his entire career, which has value imo. By allowing Albert to get to free agency they assured themselves of losing him for a draft pick or two, if they were only willing to only go 200 million bucks on the contract. They knew that was never going to get it done.

                  I have little problem in BD not resigning Albert but this…. we did all we could stuff …sounds a bit PR driven. It appears that the Cardinals were never going to sign Albert if he wanted market value. That is real clear today as we sit here. I believe it would sound much more genuine if BD would say we enjoyed and appreciate having Albert be a part of the Cardinals these last 11 years but we never had a chance to sign him past that. His value in the market place was much higher than we could go so we had no chance of competing for his services. We made an offer to keep Albert a Cardinal for life but that offer was so far below his market value that there was no way he could have signed it with a straight face. It was actually quite offensive for a player of Albert’s caliber.

                  You and I will never agree on this next point but I just believe if Albert would have been given an Ultimatum of you sign this deal or you will be traded then he would have signed a 10 year 250 milion buck deal. And BD would have had this past World Series Title along with Albert as he breaks every record known to man over these next 10 years.

                  But you may very well be right. You are much closer to the situation than am I for sure and seem to be a much more rational thinker. :)

                  • CardinalFan4Ever says:

                    Going 250 then to me sounds just as silly as going 250 now. It basically boiled down to either trading him before his 10/5 rights, or letting him walk now. All I have heard for the last 20 years (I am46 now, ugh), is how the team is a small\mid market team, yada yada. If that is truly the case, then absolutely the Cardinals done the right thing. It got us 2 more years to enjoy AP, a WS ring, and countless memories for 16 mill per.

                    Unless someone can tell me that the Cardinals, as an organization, is lying about the small\mid market stuff, payroll maximums, etc, then they done what they should have (which is another topic for another day).

                    I also hate it that baseball does not have some sort of salary cap\restrictions in place. This will continue to not only the Cardinals, but any other small market team out there that has a budding\bonafide superstar, which is sad to me. I think that is why I really love Tony Gwynn so much, he truly did stay “home”. I sure don’t claim to be smart enough to figure out what that solution should be exactly, but some cap limit should be put into place somewhere.

                  • crdswmn says:

                    Because I would not pay Albert Pujols 250 million dollars at any moment along the space time continuim, my hands are unmarked by wringing.

          • CariocaCardinal says:

            The rangers didn’t win the WS though – they just made it their twice in a row :)

            • CariocaCardinal says:

              their = there – we really need an edit function!

            • Brian Walton says:

              Over time, nobody remembers who finished in second place…. ;-)

              • DizzyDean17 says:

                Speak for yourself, Brian. I can remember almost all of the losing teams in the World Series of my lifetime.

              • Kansasbirdman says:

                imho it would have been a PR nightmare to have ever traded him, they had to at least “attempt” an offer and if it wasn’t megabucks it ended the only way it could have.
                My point all along though, he could have shown he as offered the biggest or 2nd biggest contract and then taken less to remain if he cared about his legacy in St Louis enough for it to be a factor in his decision. Now he gets to potentially be king of both leagues even the lesser AL

                • RCWarrior says:

                  Legacy was never going to dictate his contract imo. If all things were even then yes they would. But I read this morning with the performance incentives the Angels deal could approach 280 million. Legacy be damned is what Albert and his wife said I’m sure. These dollar bills will take the sting out of that.

                  And St. Louis didn’t make Albert the player he is today. He was going to be a stud wherever it was that he was going to land.

                • blingboy says:

                  PR nightmares can’t thrive for long in ground fertilized by winning. Of course, the winning would have to have happened.

            • RCWarrior says:

              Agreed but I believe it would be hard to argue that the trade with Atlanta didn’t provide the Rangers with some really big pieces of their World Series runs.

  16. crocodile says:

    it’s always about the money, nobody should really be surprised here.

    • WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

      Money is a symbol Croc……… it also represents leverage in the battle for privilege and influence in an organization ………… 250+ and a No Trade buys some serious organizational “cooperation”…..AP had lost that here……………. The trip to see Andrews?????????? the attempt at an extended DL over the wrist????? the treatment of TLR……….. the offer leak in late March………… he was pissed by the adversarial nature of the teams self interest………..so he left……….many here fail to recognize what a courageous move he just made……… should he struggle……….. it won’t be pretty……..thats 50/50 at best…………

      • RCWarrior says:

        I agree. He was going to be outside of his comfort zone no matter where he was next year without TLR giving him all the power of Christ himself.

        I also believe it had become adversarial when Albert expected the Cardinals to pay him his value and they low balled him with that pitiful offer.

  17. Brian Walton says:

    Team Pujols placed a full page ad in the P-D to say goodbye. Albert again mentions his heart, though not in the context of LA, of course. Also interesting that he calls StL his home. I thought that was in KC… ;-)

  18. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    I don’t think any of us really knows the mysterious ways of the Lord ……………… let us hope that an Anaconda doesn’t eat Matt or Chris……………. we just have to move on…….somehow……….

    • RCWarrior says:

      What better team for Albert to be on than the ANGELS? It just sounds so heavenly and is filled with godliness. The points to the sky just carry so much more clout when you have angels across your chest imo. I love the matchup.

      • WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

        ….. Tori is in his last year, Wells is a Metro-sexual and they really had no “mang” to lead these powerful personalities…….. Pujols is exactly where he needs to be……..I wish him well…….. he is a resource that a smart team will use very carefully………….. If he’s a jogger……then he’s a DH the next day……… he will again be forced to set an example for his teammates……and they will help him……… he has huge challenges to face…….. and I believe the needs of the role they require will allow him some escape into his own mythological persona …………. for awhile………….what Cardinal fans truly fear…..is that he might succeed………….. and that they might be forced recognize their own “needs”……… and short comings …… this is the next fun……
        .Chris Iannetta ………..3 years/$8.35M (2010-12), plus 2013 club option ………if AP has a good 2012………and Yadi too………Molina will join him………….or cost double his worth….. thats life..

      • JumboShrimp says:

        Good point. A baseball god now plays with the Angels.

  19. blingboy says:

    I heard a report on the radio that the Angels have already made back $100M of the Albert money because the TV deal negotiations have bumped up that much. Don’t know the source.

    • LarryBird says:

      The source is Albert:) He will take his spin to LA.

    • WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

      Everyone here thats actually trying get a grip on this……………… try this………

      Fox Sports walks in and offers you 3 Billion dollars for your TV rights…………..and you say?????????

      If you’re the Fox Sports representative………..what do you say?????? What are your needs???? You’ve had to register the offer with the commissioners office……..right? Theres legal troubles with your Dodger contract…….Selig is deeply involved in that…..if that goes on you have to keep control of the market…… Moreno is a real estate mogul……….hows that going? …………. no kidding………… Fox sports moved Albert to LA…….and you don’t think BD knows that?????????? He is more than involved in that movement …..
      Everything you just saw……..was a show………… the ONLY wild card here was AP……….he wants to stay in St. Louis……… if BD goes 230………. he tells Lozano to take it………… BD’s 220 was just the addition of the 10th option year……….a gesture….. Cardinals were never in this……… they were number 3 or 4…….. as predicted…………… Lozano set on that 250 all night……..it was the presents of the mystery team that allowed him to extort the 30 million in ARod style incentives………. Moreno could care less……..it wasn’t his money they were spending…….. How many teams do you think could stay around that long and stay secret…………. ????????? Cubs….NY….Washington…… maybe just teams with their own sports net works…………?????? …………. in the end, it appears that this was the prepared Market………..you won’t really know till the Fielder signing…………. Only Fox has the connections to get the SEC to shoot one across Miami’s bow…………… Texas became a Fox friend…….they weren’t really interested were they………… thanks Jumbo for helping me sort this out…………

      • CariocaCardinal says:

        zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

      • CariocaCardinal says:

        If Albert is upset at his treatment another $10 million to 230 doesn’t solve that.

      • JumboShrimp says:

        Westie’s thought process can be conspiratorial. Reality is probably simpler.
        S. California is a large media market. Large market teams can out-revenue mid-markets. When a mega-star earns free-agency, it is not surprising if he gets strong offers from big market teams.
        Did Albert want to stay with StLouis? Of course, but only partly, because its possible to also be happy elsewhere. He was going to pick the strongest bid that was credible (eliminating the Marlins). Since he did not make the bids himself, it was out of his hands.
        A few years ago, in the happy times before the Great Recession, if Albert had reached free agency back then, Pujols might have commanded $350MM over 10 years.
        Could it help MLB to have the Angels be successful and entertain more fans? Probably. It may be good for the sport as a whole for stars to move from mid markets to large ones. It used to be that owners would trade or sell stars to the big market teams. This happens less nowadays, owing to free agency. Now stars sell themselves to the big market teams via the mechanism of free agency, enshrined in the labor agreement with the Union.

        • WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

          Of course Jumbo……..you’re probably right………. I just thought I needed to point out a few things………….for a few people……….. it would be crazy to think the Lozano wanted to getting a share of all that advertising money, or heck……….even knew about the Angels interest…….he was probably just as surprised as we were ……….. 198/9 + 22 for an option..220….vesting??? team option with a buy out? Cardinals only offer that after the 30 large in incentives was communicated ……. a challenge … hero’s like a challenge …… at what point did you think the Angels thought………that they needed to mimic the A-Rod standard …………… to win the bidding ………….. Miami was just printing money….. at what point do you bother to tell them that they’re not in it??????????? a go public with it……..Guess Albert must have been watching the fun at that point…….Lozano is putting on a show for Albert, publicizing his sentiments and desires………. (this is common)……… the Pujols camp sends out a “coffee girl” at 1 or 2 o’clock……… who gigglingly states at the coffee machine (in the style of Marlyn Monroe)….. “someone will have to beat the Cardinals by 40 million to get Albert way from his Cardinals”……………….. the 250 is in…….. Albert wants to give St. Louis one las chance………Lozano humors him……………. nothing…….he goes to bed…….gets up…makes the call…..Danny says they are going to sit on there position……they’ve talked about making the option year a tenth year….but hey big guy…..we’re up to 280 here………. Albert calls it…….. the challenge is his now…………

          DD will start the yr collecting the 3 large……but he is unlikely to finish it……… the Cardinals have the pitching…….and depth……..Holiday will be completely revitalized …….. I look for the Cardinals to dominate the division …………… question is………. what will the Cardinals feel they need to do……..??

          • JumboShrimp says:

            Westie, you may be mistaken, if you believe Lozano did not suspect the Angels would be a likely target. There are only so many teams with deep pockets. Lozano’s office has to be not far from Anaheim, and Pujols would be a terrific catch for the Angels.
            Almost everything said by Pujols or the Cards the last couple of years, about wanting to get a deal done, it was all “happy talk” spin.
            Only Albert could choose the Cards and give them a hometown discount. But Albert signalled that he was not going to do this, when he said the decision was out of his hands. When money is the only basis for the signing decision of a mega star, then a big market team will prevail.
            If this were 2005, before onset of the Great Recession, then probably lots of reporters would have anticipated Pujols exiting via free agency. It would have been talked about a lot. Since the Recession hit, the frenzy for crazy salary records has abated. Albert has had such a great run in St Louis, it might have been disrespectful to assume he would leave, so now many express surprise. In hindsight, it seems clearer now what was going to happen and there were plenty of clues along the way.

  20. blingboy says:

    Brian, one in the filter from earlier??

  21. crdswmn says:

    Marlins President Samson says no $275 million offer to Pujols

    http://www.sun-sentinel.com/community/blogs/

    Knew it was bogus

  22. JumboShrimp says:

    Who are some of the winners and non-winners from the Pujols free agency saga?

    Winners include:
    TLR for retiring. Tony would have likely have stayed, if he thought Albert would return.
    Jose Oquendo. What’s not to like about a guy who stays loyal to the cause and its not all about me, me, me? If Jose does not land the managers job, so what? He keeps working. Thank you, Jose!
    Dave Duncan. He must like teaching and coaching. Dave seems like the new George Kissell. What a hero!
    Mark McGwire. He could have sought bigger contracts when a player, but forwent greater riches and played for a bigger market than St Louis. Now Mark teaches hitting, because he loves the sport. McGwire is a bigtime winner, out of this story.
    John Mozeliak. Worked hard and drafted Albert. Made a strong offer to Pujols. But at the same time, worked to add assets like Matt Holiday and Lance Berkman, to survive Albert’s departure. Also went for it in 2012 and won the World Series against long odds. Awesome.
    Bill DeWitt. Made all the right moves. You can’t outbid Arte Moreno, if a richer guy has to have Pujols to make his life complete.
    More later.

    • Nutlaw says:

      What does hollow praise heaped upon Oquendo, Duncan, and McGwire have to do with “winners” “from the Pujols free agency saga?” :P

      • WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

        “More later.”

        Thanks Jumbo……………………………..

      • JumboShrimp says:

        Nutlaw: Jose, Dunc, McGwire, Mozeliak, and DeWitt, start to look better, after Albert ups and leaves.
        I doubt DeWitt ever had a serious chance of re-signing Albert. DeWitt just does not have the moola necessary to pay a mega-star like Pujols. DeWitt and Mo gave it their best shot. They deserve credit for trying to re-sign him, while also planning for the contingency Pujols would leave.

    • JumboShrimp says:

      The Angels are winners. Celebrity is important out in Southern California. Manny Ramirez had trashed his reputation, so was not great for the image of the Dodgers. However Albert has a solid public image, so is a publicity plus for the Angels.
      Albert worked hard and earned a big payday. He’s another winner. Being near Hollywood, maybe Albert can break into the movies. Make a film with Schwartznegger and DeVito, Twins III.
      The Cardinals gain flexibility during the decade ahead, not having to pay Pujols a big salary.
      Boras re-signed Holiday and Lohse with the Cards. Scottie gains by looking better at working with the Cards than Lozano.
      Mike Matheny gained, because he got the manager’s job, which opened because Tony knew Albert was going to leave.
      Albert leaving makes Lance Berkman seem even more likeable. Lance gains.

      Its hard to identify a loser from the Pujols departure. Lozano is not popular in St Louis. He better stay away for a while.

      • Kansasbirdman says:

        I agree Jumbo that there may be more to the visibility issue and possibility that Pujols may try to break into other media avenues with the benefit of being in So Cal. But, it would be hard on a baseballers schedule to become a full-fledged movie star. I do think we may see more cameos and his entrance into other media. I think he will try to become the Tiger Woods (endorsements wise/brandwise) of MLB. I think that factored a lot into his decision. Will we see a Pujols line of Gatorade now?

  23. Nutlaw says:

    So with TLR, Pujols, Rasmus, and Luhnow all out of the organization, who will everyone argue over? Disdain for the middle infielders has seemed half hearted at best… :D

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