This is a moment that has been nearly a decade in the making. After leaving the St. Louis Cardinals back in 2011 for the LA Angels for 10 years and 254 million Albert Pujols is finally returning to the city that embraced him as their golden child for eleven years.
Even though Albert Pujols is returning as an opponent the city is inviting him with open arms as an old friend and a forever Cardinal. And can you really be surprised? No matter what Albert Pujols will be a Cardinal for life.
Albert Pujols, the 3-time MVP and two-time World Series champion, may not be the player he was a decade ago, but the fact that he left St.Louis at the peak of his career is what has cemented his memory as a forever champion in St. Louis.
They haven’t had to eat the 10 year, 254 million dollar contract paid to him that’s seen much less production in return. St. Louis has not had to watch Pujols lose his swing to age and constant lower body injuries. Albert Pujols was perfect in St.Louis, but with the Angels he’s been as human as you can get; this is as much a tale of two legacies as there’s ever been.
This weekend none of that matters. The nostalgia and admiration for a legacy of championships helmed by one of the greatest hitters in the history of the game has created a palpable homecoming atmosphere that will hang over this series from beginning to end.
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The only thing that would bring this series to storybook perfection would be the weekend of a lifetime from Albert Pujols. Maybe we won’t see him go back to his roots and mash 3 homers in one game against the Cardinals. Maybe he’ll just knock a couple hits and some RBI’s here and there and call it a weekend.
He may even pull an 0’fer this weekend with nothing but strikeouts to show for it. Even if he does, that’s okay, because this series is really about appreciating history and the legacy of Albert Pujols.
Plus, if he flails through the series it won’t really matter because the Angels offense has been scorching lately with the bats of Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani leading the charge. There’s more than enough power in this lineup to make up for the “long-past-his-prime” Pujols.
(6/21) 5:15 PM PT @ FS-W: Griffin Canning (2-3, 3.98 ERA) vs Michael Wacha (4-3, 6.00 ERA)
(6/22) 11:15 PM PT @ FS-W: Felix Pena (5-1, 4.70 ERA) vs Dakota Hudson (5-3, 3.55 ERA)
(6/23) 4:05 PM PT @ FS-W: Tyler Skaggs (6-6, 4.61 ERA) vs Miles Mikolas (5-7, 4.48 ERA)