The St. Louis Cardinals begin a three-game series tonight against the Anaheim Angels which pits former Redbirds superstar Albert Pujols for the first time against the team on which he made his name and won two World Series.
But, a year and a half after Pujols fled St. Louis for a giant pile of cash from the Halos, is anyone besides Albert excited about the meeting?
I'm sure Angels fans couldn't care less about the Cardinals' relationship with Pujols. They've got other things to be concerned with their club -- despite a six-game winning streak the Angels are mired in third place in the National League West with a record that is our games below .500. Pujols is front and center in the conversation about why the Halos are disappointing -- along with fellow big bucks free agent acquisition Josh Hamilton. Pujols, who is batting .249 in return for his giant paycheck, doesn't lead the Angels in a single offensive category. And Hamilton can only wish he was having as good of a season as Albert.
Cardinals fans might be more excited about the match up should the games have been played in St. Louis. But, instead, their team is 2,000 miles away and will play the match ups that don't even get started until after prime time during the middle of the work. (I guess Redbird rooters can afford to stay up late for one of them since Thursday is a holiday. But if MLB wanted these games to be a big deal, it should have scheduled them on the weekend.)
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In my book, this is just another series in which clubs spin their wheels in interleague play instead of playing the teams with which they are actually competing for a playoff spot.
I'd rather see the Cardinals play an extra series against their traditional National League foes the Giants, Mets or Dodgers than travel to Anaheim to play the Angels. Those were once great, historic rivalries that have been destroyed by changes to the MLB schedule. The Cardinals have zero history against the Halos. And the musty argument that interleague play lets fans see players that they otherwise couldn't doesn't hold water when Orange County baseball fans could make the short trip to Dodger Stadium if the wanted the see Yadier Molina, Allen Craig and David Freese that badly.