KERBER: Albert & Diedre Pujols Naive? Probably, But Enough Is Enough

Chris Kerber

KMOX- Ok, a few final thoughts on Albert Pujols leaving for Anaheim.  I’d like to leave it alone, but reading today about Albert feeling conflicted (via Tony Larussa) about his decision, make that impossible.  Is it a shock Pujols feels conflicted?  Not at all.  If he’s at all honest with himself, deep down he knows he is trading a legacy for the bigger contract and that can’t sit well with him.  Will he ever regret leaving? Time will tell, but beyond that, excuse me for not feeling empathy or sympathy.  He was able to make a decision without the pressure of financial need and that’s  a rare position to be in.  Frankly, I am at the point where I no longer care how he or his wife feels about the decision or how they are trying to justify it to themselves.

All that is happening now is Albert and his wife are trying to come to terms with the fact that in the end it was about the money and they can’t admit it.  I don’t know if it is a lack of maturity, understanding, or if they lost a sense of the real world they once may have had, but their rationalizations are becoming laughable.

I do believe Albert is conflicted, and I do believe that to be sincere.  I also believe that had he made this decision on his own, he still may be a Cardinal.  In the end, especially after listening to Diedre’s religious (and as a catholic sometimes insulting) view on the process, and understanding the agent’s personal interests in the process, the conflict inside him must have been intense.  Was it Albert that did not get the warm fuzzy feeling from the Cardinals, or was it his wife?  Whose advice idea was it really to cut off negotiations with the Cardinals at the beginning of spring training, Albert’s, his wife’s, or  his agent’s?  On whose advice was it that made them decide to give the Cardinals a deadline, Albert, his wife, or his agent?  (memo: I have never paid one dime of a ticket price to see Diedre hit a home run or field first base.  I fully respect the family core and applaud that foundation, but Albert was the ballplayer and this is about Albert playing ball.)  In the end, the final decisions on those things were Albert’s and I am not sure he was ready to handle the magnitude of those decisions.

One thing is very clear, listening to Diedre’s response to the criticism they are receiving (and as she said, “My words are his words”) both she and Albert were ill prepared for the ramifications of their decision to leave and both were tremendously naïve as to what it would mean in terms of image, reputation, and other factors.  I think they were genuinely surprised to hear some support for their foundation dropped.  I think they genuinely thought everyone would wish them luck and would give them a standing ovation as they packed up.  It appears based on their post decision comments and reaction, for as good of a job as he did on his contract, Dan Lozano did as poor a PR job as possible in preparing his client for all aspects of what was going on.

Sorry folks.  I more than understand, accept, and respect the business decision made here on all sides.  But that’s where it stops.  Save me the spin of hurt and conflict on the part of the Pujols’s.  They made a business decision and along with that comes benefits and consequences of such a decision.  It was Albert’s to make (and whomever he consults or includes is his business) and he made it.  It’s on him 100%.  No one forced him to sign so soon if he was bothered by any aspect of it.  No one forced him to take more money or less.  No one forced him to walk away from a lifetime legacy that also included being paid over 300 million over a 17-18 year period.  He is now a great ballplayer that spent 11 great seasons in St. Louis, and his legacy will always include the endgame of bolting for the money no matter how they spin it.

I am sure one day Albert will reconcile his conflict of leaving, and again I am sure he is sincere in those feelings.  But the burden of conflict is his and his alone.  Cardinal fans have overwhelmingly understood the “business” side of it and they respect it.  Now maybe it’s time for Albert and his side to actually understand what it all means and accept it.  I just wonder if they can.


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