Pujols made a critical error in the 9th inning of a World Series game that his team lost.
I wouldn't say it cost the Cardinals the game but it didn't help.
And the memory of it would have faded with a quick "I screwed up, let's go get them on Saturday" comment from Albert Pujols after the game.
Yet he wasn't there. Neither were veterans like Lance Berkman, Matt Holliday and Yadier Molina. But none of them are the face of the franchise. None of them are carrying the torch lit by Rogers Hornsby and been carried by Dizzy Dean, Stan Musial, Bob Gibson, Lou Brock and Ozzie Smith.
This is a historic Cardinals run and Pujols is the identity of this team. And he's been there front and center during their mind boggling charge to the playoffs.
Thursday was one of the few stumbles since the beginning of September. Pujols needed to be there. Instead it was Jason Motte and the younger players covering his butt.
According to Yahoo Sports, his response to people objecting to being a no show for the press was he didn't realize that he should have been talking to reporters. And that his "responsibility is to God and my family. I don't have any responsibility to anybody else."
Um... horse crap.
Pujols isn't a rookie. This is his 11th big league season and third trip to the World Series. Maybe he noticed that a few reporters asked questions after the game. And they tend to ask questions to the BIG STARS. This isn't a new development.
And the media savvy MVP face of the franchise should deflect attention away from some of the younger players.
And Pujols DOES have responsibility beyond the invisible creator of the universe and his wife and kids. It is to the franchise that he will be asking to pay him hundreds of millions of dollars in a few weeks.
He will be asked to be paid not just as someone to put up numbers but be the face of the team... including in front of the media when they make an error in the 9th inning of a critical World Series game.
Which brings me somehow to A-Rod.
A-Rod is someone who can do no right in New York. He's won 2 MVPs as a Yankee and led them to the 2009 World Series title. Which makes him a bum in Yankee fan's eyes.
(Did we EVER figure out how to spell his name?)
Look at the bottom of the headline.
"GUNMAN HAD MORE HITS THAN A-ROD."
The New York press can't even report the death of a crazy despot without taking a dig at A-Rod.
(Thanks to friend of Sully Baseball, Lisa Swan of Subway Squawkers, for pointing out the headline.)
A-Rod gets crap for stuff that happens 9,000 miles away from him.
Can you imagine if he ducked the press after a World Series game?
What kind of storm would he endure if he screwed up a relay and it set up the game winning rally? And compound that with being in the steam room afterwards!
And saying "What? I didn't know that the reporters liked to talk to the big stars after a World Series game!"
Or saying "I didn't think it was important that I talk to reporters after a critical World Series loss. Besides, they could ask those questions to Greg Golson or Jesus Montero."
Or saying "All that matters is Zeus and my daughter. My responsibility isn't to my teammates nor to the team that is putting a quarter of a billion dollars into my checking account."
He might actually be MORE hated than Qaddafi (or Khadafy for that matter) in New York.
(Then again if JETER ducked the press, he would be praised for being above the fray and bringing the dignity of DiMaggio and Gehrig back to the clubhouse, but that's another post.)
I'm not a Pujols hater. I made a video which was basically a love letter to him. I think he is one of the most exciting and best players I have EVER seen (please don't test positive.)
But this whole "What? I'm supposed to meet the media? WHY?" stance is bush league. And something for him to keep in mind as he approaches free agency.
He has 11 years of eternal love in the back in St. Louis where he could get away with this.
Everywhere else he has exactly zero.
Be accountable and don't throw your teammates under the proverbial bus. That's as much a part of being the team leader as pounding out homers.
And I don't know if there is a supreme creator of the universe or not, but if there is I'm guessing God would say "Albert, what in the name of me are you doing avoiding the press after a World Series game?"