The Cardinal Nation blog

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

The Angels tweak the Cardinals again

Over the last few days, word has reached the non-California parts of the world via traditional media and bloggers alike that the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have initiated a new marketing campaign featuring Albert Pujols.

That is hardly news in itself. After all, since Halos owner Arte Moreno committed $270 million of his money to bring the first baseman to Anaheim for the next two decades, it only makes sense his organization wants to sell more tickets as a result, especially to the large Hispanic population in Southern California.

The rub is that the focus of the campaign is a phrase considered sacred in St. Louis. Angels billboards feature the name and number on the back of Pujols’ jersey, accompanied by the words, “El Hombre,” which is Spanish for “The Man.”

When the Spanish variation of this nickname first emerged several years back, Pujols made it clear he did not want it used because he considers Hall of Famer Stan Musial to be The Man in St. Louis.

Well, Pujols is not in St. Louis anymore. Further, the indignation I have seen expressed by some in blog posts and reader comments aimed at Pujols personally because of the Angels’ marketing move feels misplaced.

My guess is that the Angels did not seek Pujols’ approval to use his name and image on their billboards, nor would they have asked him to review design and copy. So why blame him?

I get that many are still angry over the circumstances surrounding Pujols’ departure from St. Louis and may always be, but I can’t see hanging this one on the player personally.

If anyone’s motives are to be questioned, it should be the Angels marketing staff and their approving executives. Unless they are terribly uninformed, they should be aware of the circumstances surrounding the use of “The Man.”

Perhaps they don’t care. Perhaps they know exactly what they are doing, hoping to take advantage of any extra publicity that might emerge as a result of their actions. If so, it is working.

Considering the Angels’ target market, there is almost no risk. After all, how many Southern Californians will be concerned over a perceived slight to Musial, who retired as a player half a century ago? Who cares what they think in St. Louis?

Once Pujols becomes aware of this, if he is not already, it would be interesting to learn how he feels. Perhaps one of the Angels press corps will be willing to risk souring his/her new relationship with the sometimes-surly slugger by asking him.

Even so, securing a sincere answer may prove impossible. Even if he is concerned, Pujols may not want to risk making waves with Moreno, his new “partner” for the next 20 years, before even one game is played.

The only real indication will be if the campaign continues this season and into the subsequent years of Pujols’ commitment to the Angels or quietly fades away.

Really, why should anyone east of Moreno Valley care what the Angels do, anyway?

Feb. 22 update:  Someone in LA did ask and Pujols objects. Whether or not anything happens as a result is unclear.

Feb. 27 update: After the current billboards go down late in March, the Angels will no longer use “El Hombre” in their marketing, team officials told the LA Times. In apparent face-saving mode, they state that was their plan all along.

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20 Responses to “The Angels tweak the Cardinals again”

  1. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    Lame ………………………….. this has nothing to do with the Angels ……………… Lozano is attempting to bolster his client ………………… its just beginning …………. he wants to reach those big paydays …….. this is the first sign of him since the departure ……………. this is just starting ……………. and who gives a flying (you know what) about the Angels ………………………… this is based on the presumption that Anaheim lured AP away from SL …………………… and that is a Joke ………….. wait till you read the press if the Angels go smoking out the gate………..and St. Louis ends up 2/5 after the first week ……….. why is it that you think BD paid 26 million for Beltran ????????????? he took control of that market with money, knowing what April holds ………….thats a 30 million dollar contract for 2yrs ………… and that part of it is about baseball ……………………. your game Brian makes this place lame ……………..

  2. blingboy says:

    How long before they come get Albert’s statue from in front of the restaurant? It will look good out front of their ballpark.

    It seems reasonable to wonder if the TV people who put up the 3 Billion or whatver it was are behind the marketing move. If they didn’t secure the right to use Albert’s picture and name for marketing purposes it would be surprising.

    • WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

      BB,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Fox is paying the entire Angels payroll…………….. Angels are still 30 million under the penalty/luxury cap…………………. and Albert has to take 12 million???????? Arty needed that deal in a big way……..he is real estate ……………… no one talks about the fact that the Fox TV deal was still being negotiated while all the hanky panke supposedly went on …………. National media is going to be driving the Pujols story hard …………………. I’m looking for Holiday/Berkman/Beltran to go on a killing spree …….. with their focus on Albert……..just as much as his will be on them……….. Great year for baseball coming up………….

      • blingboy says:

        Every year is a great year for baseball, Westy. Whatever the ‘not about baseball’ suits are up to, it eventually comes down to ball players on the field. After the national antham, nobody knows what’s going to happen until it does.

        Last year Albert was hitting .245 on May 1. Fox wouldn’t be able to do anything about that, however may billboards they have.

  3. blingboy says:

    it’s very inconvenient that TLR only gets to pick the NL bench players this summer. But I’m sure Ron will listen to reason even if he’s looking at a .265 hombre.

  4. JumboShrimp says:

    Nothing the Angels do is worth paying attention to. Life moves along.

      • JumboShrimp says:

        Among marquee faces for the Cards are Lance Berkman, Matt Holliday, Carlos Beltran, Raffy Furcal, and Chris Carpenter. Should this bother fans of the Astros, Rockies, Mets/Royals, Braves/Dodgers, and Jays? No, its just the nature of the game today that veterans move around of their own accord via free agency, just like Pujols shifted to the bigger market of S. California. A worker’s right to play baseball is no longer owned forever by just one corporation or big boss. This has helped change the tone, so teams are more respectful of players.

  5. RCWarrior says:

    Yea, my guess is outside of St. Louis nobody would care about the use of “The Man” in spanish, nor should they.

    Pujols didn’t want to be called that in St. Louis because “when in Rome, do as the Romans do”, he needed to act like he cared about the tradition that St. Louis fans pride themselves on. I get it.

    Now in LA……..who cares about what Cardinals fans think is his motto, as it should be. Considering how many St. Louis fans spoke badly of Albert for leaving he should forget the place entirely.

    If asked the question by reporters Albert’s answer should be led by the same plan that he followed in St. Louis……Again when in Rome…….. :) What happens in St. Louis is irrelevant to what is happening in LA and its not my business. And you can bet Albert’s PR firm will cater to the LA fans…..not the St. Louis fans. They are smart people. They had the St. Louis fans believing all along that Albert loved St. Louis so much that he would never leave. Surprise!!!!

    Alberts gone….who cares? Just like any other former Cardinal. Out of sight out of mind.

    • WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

      Did you catch todays move RC??????? Frankie had talked about being involved, mainly scouting the Oklahoma rangelands …………………….. The press leak suggested “special assistant” status………… from where I sit……..thats just cover for the Edmonds announcement ………….. the reason? There is your third base coach no later than 2013……….. depending on a number of other variables……sooner…..

    • blingboy says:

      Got your clubs cleaned up? Lots of great golf around Tampa.

  6. bigchieftootiemontana says:

    Agree completely Brian, I think Albert was just showing respect to Mr. Musial which certainly Stanley deserved and I respect Mr. Pujols for that.

  7. Brian Walton says:

    Someone in LA did ask and Pujols objects.

  8. Brian Walton says:

    At the end of the original post, I added what appears to be the conclusion of this episode.

  9. Brian Walton says:

    For those who have a sense of humor on the billboard subject…

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