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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Say it ain't so, Al!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

It's no secret Albert Pujols is one of the best baseball players to ever play the game. There's no arguing the three-time National League MVP adds to the batting rotation, and can field a ball.

But Pujols lacks one thing when it comes to being remembered as one of the greats -- class.

During Friday night's game two of the World Series, Pujols committed a crucial error, which essentially cost the Cards game two.

In the ninth inning, Pujols failed to cut off John Jay's throw from the outfield, which in turn, allowed Elvis Andrus to scamper into scoring position with no outs.

Now the big story wasn't the fact Pujols made an error, after all, despite what his stats say, he IS only human.

No, the big story was Pujols' immaturity after the game.

In the post-game press conferences, Pujols was nowhere to be found. He darted out of the clubhouse before any reporters could even ask a question.

Fast forward to game three. Pujols responds in a big way with a historic World Series performance.

He belted three bombs to the stands, and pushed six base runners across the plate in the Cards' 16-7 drubbing.

It's actually kind of funny. After a great game, Pujols doesn't mind taking center stage in the spotlight.

Yet, when he struggles, he sticks his tail between his legs like a whipped dog and lets the rookies and other team members take the heat for a blown opportunity at a win.

What a great leader.

As I stated, there's no doubting the man's skill. He's definitely earned his place as one of the league's best (if not the best) first baseman.

But there's more to being a team leader than just padding the stats game in, game out.

A real leader stands up and takes the heat, and the applause. And no matter how many times Pujols is compared to the game's greats, he'll never be more than a great player, because of stunts like that.

Still, maybe he has a point. According to an AP report, Pujols told reporters he was in the clubhouse kitchen for 20 minutes, then left because no one from the Cardinals media staff asked him to come out.

"I don't think that's fair because I was an hour-and-a-half the day before and 20 minutes last night and nobody came looking for me and I left. Now everybody wants to say I didn't want to talk with the press. That's just not realistic," Pujols said.

Hmm. There were no reports of Albert waiting around for the media to come looking for him after game three's historic night.

Chris Siers is the sports editor for the Times-Gazette. Email him at sports@t-g.com.

Chris Siers
The Extra Point
Chris Siers is sports editor of the Times-Gazette.