Though the Cardinals suffered another surprising defeat to a last place foe, Albert Pujols continue to wow fans and critics alike with his 400th career home run. Pujols is now the 3rd youngest player ever to reach the 400HR milestone marker and the 47th player in MLB history. And no big deal was made about it last night. Nor should there be. This guy is out there simply to win, and whether he realizes it or not, cleanse the record books.
Pujols took the League by storm nearly 10 years ago as a rookie in 2001. The man clubbed 37 HRs, had 130 RBIs, and batted .329. Can you say future MVP? The guy now, in “his” decade of dominance has done it all. He has won 3 MVP awards. Made the All Star team 9 times. Took home a Gold Glove. Received 5 Silver Slugger Awards. Made the postseason 6 times. And most importantly, won a World Series Ring.
I mean what has this guy not done already in his 10 year career? Not much, but if I had to say anything, I would give 2 accomplishments. Number one, to of course keep winning and bring home as many rings as possible. Derek Jeter is known as the current “greatest” winner in today’s game. Secondly, break Barry Bond’s “Home Run Record (really Hank Aaron’s in my eyes).
Now many are obviously suspicious of Pujols. And rightfully so. MLB has given the fans and media the right to question any and all players. The Mitchell Report changed everything. Has Pujols juiced? I certainly hope not, but I have no way to be 100 percent sure. I do know that whoever is the sick one that will not release all the names from the Mitchell Report could be waiting for a major Pujols moment to release the information. If Pujols closed in on the record and his name was released as a juicer, it would be devastating, yet sadly somewhat expected at the same time.
So at this point, I am going to say that the “Machine” is clean. Due to his cleanliness, whether I am a fan of him or not, I would like to see him break the “Home Run Record.” There are a couple of other reasons why you have to respect this guy while we are on the topic. Number one, he is very active in the community. Pujols along with his wife launched the “Pujols Family Foundation” in 2005 to help people with down syndrome. It is always great to see an athlete take a keen interest in helping the community and really championing a good cause. Pujols has went over and above in exceeding those expectations. Number two, his numbers are absolutely amazing in all statistical categories. He is truly an all around player and a mar of consistency. Possibly the greatest player of all time? We will know more in time. Finally, you have to love the guy for what he said last night to the media in a post game interview. Albert said, “It’s a special milestone, but I don’t play for numbers.” You could feel the anger in Albert and see it on his face after the Cardinals took another disappointing loss last evening. The team and winning come first for Albert.
So will the “Machine” take home his 4th MVP this year? Right now he is dead even with up and coming Red’s first baseman Joey Votto. In all honesty, if the Reds win the Central, Votto should take home the prestigious individual accolade. If the Cardinals take home another Central title, then give Pujols his 4th MVP.
The NL Central is stacked at the first baseman spot with a “Machine” and the league’s “Toughest” slugger. Maybe these two could rewrite the record books together?
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.