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Pujols spring has been smoother than expected -- so far

I admit that I am impressed with how well spring training has started off in spite of the Albert Pujols contract situation.

Pujols and his teammates seemed at ease in hitting drills and when they've talked to the media. Pujols, for his part, seems genuine in his concern about focusing on the upcoming season. It's good to hear him say that, not only does he want to win a championship, but that he wants to win a championship for St. Louis.

I figured the reporters would be relentless with contract questions and that Pujols would get indignant about it, then it would degenerate from there. But Albert has been remarkably gracious.

All things considered, I would still prefer that Pujols is inked to a deal sooner rather than later. But maybe the 2011 season won't be a disaster after all... Of course, if the Birds stumble out of the gate, speculation will immediately focus on Pujols' situation. And if the Birds aren't in contention come July, the trade rumor mil is going to be deafening.

I wonder what impact the unfortunate and untimely death of Drew Baur will have on the Albert Pujols situation.

It interesting that Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. said he planned to meet with Baur today about team business. Obviously, there are probably lots of topics to discuss when you're partners in a several hundred million dollar business. But I wonder if any of the time was set aside to discuss Pujols and a possible ownership state in the club.

Will Baur's death affect that situation? I don't know what percentage of the Cardinals he owned. But, if his family doesn't retain his interest in the team, the other club owners will either have to buy out his shares or find another invester.

On one hand, Baur's shares could give the rest of the Redbirds' ownership group to pass on an interest in the team to Pujols without lessening their control. But, on the other hand, it may give the team even less financial flexibility to get a Pujols contract done.

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