I'm sorry to sound bitter... and to bring up a sore subject once again... But it really hits home that Albert Pujols is gone to watch Cardinals spring training games with someone else manning first base for St. Louis.
Could it really be that 12 years has passed since Pujols made his startling debut in spring training, refusing to allow manager Tony La Russa to send the second year player to the minor league camp by hitting line drive after line drive?
I love nothing better than to sit in the breezy sunshine of spring training and watch the players do their thing in games that mean nothing. There's no tension, just the beauty of baseball. But then, minding my own business over dinner, I notice a familiar face and number wearing red in highlight reels from Arizona.
And suddenly my sense of contentment melts away.
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I can't really put a finger on why. But it still makes my blood boil everytime I see Pujols in that Angels uniform. Especially when he's high fiving all his new best buddies in the dugout after a mediocre and meaningless spring training play.
And that new MLB season ticket video that talks about how no matter where your favorite player goes, you can still follow his every move makes me sick. Any thought I ever had about getting that package went out the window with that promotion.
Don't tell me about the finances, the big picture or anything else designed to make me feel better about this situation. There is right and wrong. And the fact that Pujols will finish his career somewhere besides in the STL is just plain wrong.
In Jupiter you run into people wearing Cardinals jerseys, caps and tee shirts everywhere you go. And the talk revolves around the 2011 World Series, how Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright are doing and how odd it seems to see Carlos Beltran in a St. Louis uniform ... Until Pujols shows up on television again. Then the room gets quite for a second and as soon as his highlight is over, someone says "I hope he breaks his leg" or something of a similar sentiment.
There's a lot to be excited about with the 2012 Cardinals. But I'm still finding it tough to turn the page on 2011.