"What do I want? Hey, I want to be a Cardinal forever," Pujols said. "That's my goal."Jayson Stark writes more on today's presser upon Albert Pujols' arrival at Spring Training.
These were the words his fan club in St. Louis needed to hear. These were the words he most needed to utter if he wants to make it through this season atop the same pedestal where these people have placed him for a decade.A decision will be made after the season.
He couldn't possibly have sounded more sincere, couldn't possibly have looked more comfortable. It was Sir Albert at his finest, at his smartest, at his most charming. He had his message to deliver. He made sure to deliver it in response to as many questions as possible.
If you want to take him at his word, accept all of this at face value, feel free. Just recognize that there was plenty he didn't say.
He certainly never said he wanted to be a Cardinal forever no matter what.
He certainly never said he wanted to be a Cardinal forever at any price.
He certainly never said he wanted to be a Cardinal forever at a discount -- especially the kind of hometown discount this team has grown so accustomed to being granted by its stars.[...]
Listen to Pujols' answer Thursday to a question about how important it would be to him to be known as a Cardinal for life:
"Well, it's a good thing I don't have to make that decision today," he said at first. But then that little voice in his brain, the one that was supposed to remind him to voice only happy thoughts, kicked in -- and he shifted gears, practically in mid-sentence.
"Yeah, this is a great place to have on your résumé, to be a Cardinal for life," he said. "You know, there's not too many players who stay with one organization. So believe me, it's a good place to have in your life."
All right. Now listen, however, to the grand finale:
"So yeah, hopefully that happens," he concluded. "But if not, I mean, then it's something that you can't control."
Well, of course he can control it. Both sides control it. Yet both said repeatedly, in their dueling meetings with the media, that this was out of their control. Really? Then who controls it -- Donald Trump?