While not really a St. Louis Cardinal fan, nobody has more respect for their first baseman Albert Pujols than I do. He’s this generation’s Joe DiMaggio. A larger than life, first class ballplayer who deserves all the accolades heaped upon him. Anyone who thinks he’s just being greedy or whatever for telling the Cardinals he’s done negotiating with them is nuts.
When Albert established himself as one of the game’s elite years ago the Cardinals gave him a raise. He got a contract worth around $900,000. The Cards didn’t have to do this but it was smart business. The cards are run by smart baseball people and they knew Albert would command big bucks on the free agent market when the time came. They wanted Albert to feel some loyalty at their goodwill so he’d give them the “hometown discount.”
Since then Albert got another contract which while huge by anyone’s estimation, isn’t close to what the Yankee’s Alex Rodriguez got in spite of Albert being fully the equal player. And by far the man of greater character. So Albert did give the Cardinals a hometown discount.
Now the Cards are going to let Albert Pujols walk after this year. Some are on the Cardinal’s side saying it’s just good business. You can’t give a 31 year old guy a ten year contract. Others are on Albert’s side. They say he’s the best (I agree). He should be compensated as the best.
This is where the numbers down the road, not just for the Cardinal organization, but for every team should come into play. If the Cardinals who already got two hometown discounts from Pujols let him walk, what incentive is there for any player to give his team a hometown discount? The price goes up for every free agent. Big time. Scott Boras wins. Teams that don’t have fabulously wealthy owners lose. Boston and the Yankees win. Even if they don’t sign every free agent they can just pump up the price so far few teams can afford players making more than the minimum salary to pay for the big free agent. Ticket prices go up even further. The price of a ballgame is already nuts. I only go to a couple games a year cause I’m not shelling out the $100 plus for tickets. Parking. Refreshments. etc. it takes to go to the ballpark.
If the Cardinals are truly so destitute they can’t afford to pay Albert Pujols what he’s asking or enough to make him a happy Cardinal for life then Major League Baseball needs to step in a make up the difference. Believe me. It will save them all in the long run.
The picture is of my disrespectful kids. But they do at least respect Albert Pujols.