I was kind of waiting for Pujols to make his decision before writing this morning. Now he's done it -- leaving St. Louis after a Hall of Fame career for the Angels, who are paying him $260 million over the next 10 years... roughly $40 million more than the Cardinals were willing to pay.
Let's start here: Good for Pujols. It's not like he left over an "all-things-being-equal" deal. This is substantially more.
And it's hard to blame the Cardinals. Again: It's not like he left over an "all-things-being-equal" deal. It would have been irresponsible of them to pay him that much.
It is a tough day for Cardinals fans, but at least they can say "We never could have matched that." (Cavs fans never had that chance.)
They can also say: "Thanks for the memories."
Albert Pujols will enter the Baseball Hall of Fame on the first ballot sometime around 2028... in a Cardinals hat.
The whole thing made me think of the most dramatic player moves -- the ones where incumbent fans are left mostly miserable. I really want to focus on free agency, rather than "F--- you, trade me" trades, like Carmelo leaving Denver or John Elway telling Baltimore to cram it.
LeBron from Cleveland to Miami immediately comes to mind. Shaq from Orlando to LA. A-Rod from Seattle to Texas. Those feel like the Big Three.
T.O. from San Francisco to Philly? Eh... (Joe Montana to the Chiefs? Not really. Steve Young was better.)
But this one? This Pujols move feels like the biggest of all, topping A-Rod -- biggest money, biggest talent, biggest fan disappointment.
Just weeks removed from the Cards' magical World Series run, it's one of those piercing reminders that sports -- for all of its amazingness -- is just a business. Enjoy him, Angels fans.