Bill Pollock, our sports director, and I were talking this morning about Albert Pujols and his pending free agency and whether he will re-sign with the St. Louis Cardinals for enough money to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers or some other astronomical amount you and I cannot even fathom. We came to the conclusion that Albert (pardon us for using the first name of someone we’ve never met) must stay in St., Louis for all kinds of reasons.
There is no doubt he is a force in the game. His hitting credentials are Cooperstown credentials. His fielding credentials are Cooperstown credentials although there aren’t a whole lot of guys in the Hall of Fame because of their gloves. His baseball intelligence is too often overlooked because of his physical abilities. But his throw to gun down Chase Utley at third the other night was natural brilliance that is beyond teaching.
Plus, he’s a community asset. St. Louis has no greater ambassador than Albert Pujols. Mayor Slay? John Danforth? Let them walk into an exclusive restaurant in, say, Little Rock without a reservation and ask for a table and see how long they sit in the waiting corner. Albert Pujols? He’s the only St. Louisan who would be seated immediately. People would intentionally take the long way around to the bathroom to walk past his table. And a lot of people would suddenly develop full bladders.
Check the Albert Pujols Family Foundation website to see another side of this man.
No other uniform, no other city, fits Albert Pujols.
So how do we guarantee he will stay in St. Louis?
I don’t know where the St. Louis delegation has been as the baseball season winds down and as the special session of the legislature snails toward adjournment, locked in an ugly, sweaty wrestling match about tax credits. But they clearly haven’t considered how the Cardinals could be eligible for tax credits if they sign Albert Pujols.
Albert Pujols means more to St. Louis, and will mean more to St.Louis in the next decade, than Paul McKee and his northside land assemblage operation has meant and will mean in the same time. Forget the China Hub stuff. It’s time to consider the Albert Hub.
Albert IS an economic development for St. Louis. Butts in Busch Stadium seats because Albert Pujols plays there mean thousands, maybe millions, of tourism dollars for St. Louis.
With all due respect to Kyle Lhose, how many people will rush to St. L:ouis, pay for an overpriced beer and hot dog, and maybe rent a downtown hotel room to see Kyle Lhose pitch?
Albert Pujols is a natural resource for St. Louis. He’s an economic development for St. Louis. He’s more of a symbol of Missouri than almost any of the 26 assorted mammals, reptiles, fish, and fossils we now have.
It’s time for some creative thinking by the legislature. There’s no lack of that, as we keep seeing. But it needs direction. It’s time for some creative thinking by the city of St. Louis and the Cardinals.
It’s time for the Albert Credit.