If there's one thing that surprises me about the start of the 2012 Cardinals season it isn't the club's excellent record.
It's the degree to which the franchise has been able to cleanse any evidence that Albert Pujols ever played here.
I wondered on opening day if Pujols would be booed or cheered when his image inevitably appeared on the big screens at Busch Stadium. After all, the club would surely show highlights of its historic playoff and World Series run. And Pujols played a major role in both the National League Championship Series and the World Series. He hit three homers in a pivotal game, then he scored an all important run to keep the Birds alive in game six. He was there during the post-game celebrations. How could the club not show him?
I'm still not sure. But it hasn't. Pujols has been completely edited out of the videos shown at the ballpark. And when the Cardinals gave away a poster Tuesday of the team celebrating its World Series win on the field at Busch Stadium, Pujols was carefully cropped out.
Eventually there will have to be some official mention of his name at Busch Stadium, either on the statistical leader board or the scoreboard. But not so far. So the mystery will remain.
While I am surprised that the Cardinals were able to completely erase such an iconic player, I don't disagree with the idea.
With the comments Pujols made about both the franchise and fans in St. Louis who he referred to as "haters," I think it's best to have a clean break and move on. After all, it's a rare thing for a major league sports franchise to get to celebrate a world championship. Why should they rain on their own parade?