The mess created by former Cardinals slugger Jack Clark has really put St. Louis fans in an awkward position.
I have had the chance to meet and chit chat with Clark a couple of times and thought he was a personable guy who had a lot to share about baseball in general and some great Cardinals clubs of the 1980s in particular. Contrast that with Albert Pujols, a guy who miffed 3 million St. Louis sports fans by walking out on them, complaining on the way out the door that the tens of millions the Redbirds offered him to stay was an insult.
A lot of Cardinals fans are openly hostile these days towards Pujols. And a whole lot more than that would rather just not talk about him anymore instead or reminiscing about all the thousands of hits, hundreds of homers and pair of World Series he collected while wearing the birds on bat.
But Clark's accusations last week that he "knew for a fact" that Pujols was a dirty, no good, steroid using cheater put Cardinals rooters on the spot.
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While many of them could care less about Albert's future. We're forced to think about his past for the sake of integrity. Before he chose to give it up, Pujols had earned a place in Cardinals fans' hearts as the guy who made a legitimate run at the records of The Greatest Cardinal of Them All, Stan Musial.
No one wants to find out that Pujols' run at the record books wasn't that legitimate after all.
Pujols has said a lot of the wrong things since leaving St. Louis. Does anyone here really believe his comments earlier this year that if he had the choice to make all over again that he still would have opted to leave the Cardinals for Anaheim where his career has crashed upon the rocks of the Pacific coast?
Does anyone believe it when Pujols said it wasn't all about the money?
I know I didn't. But, that being said, I believe his response to the Jack Clark because I can't believe if he was guilty he'd be so stupid as to invoke the names of God, his wife and his children, saying that he wouldn't be able to look them in the eye if he was a cheater.
He also claimed that he was going to sue Clark for damaging his reputation. And I hope Pujols does. Not because I wish ill upon Clark. But because I want to see Pujols put his reputation where his mouth is and face the scrutiny of a deposition under oath.
Pujols could have said that he's never been caught or that he doesn't care what some AM radio blowhard thinks of him. But he claims he's willing to put his reputation on the line to prove his clean. And, if he does, that might go a long way toward helping me to start to admire him again.