Welcome back to The Sports Ace, where teams don’t go from scoring 62 against one winless team one week and then lose to another the next. Listening, New Orleans Saints?
Imagine this scenario for a minute: one of the best players in a sport, and the face of his franchise and the biggest sports face/name in a major sports market, leads his team to a championship. But he’s a free agent, so he signs with another team in the offseason. And when the team raises their championship banner and hands out rings on Opening Day, that superstar is in another city, opening with another team.
It may sound a bit improbable, but that’s exactly what could happen with Albert Pujols and the Cardinals.
Now Pujols isn’t exactly the same as LeBron was to Cleveland – he’s not a hometown son or anything to St. Louis. But just imagine how Cards fans – as good as any fans anywhere – would feel if he wasn’t there next year. Talk about a buzzkill.
Right now, the Cards are entering a so-called “honeymoon period” – the team can do no wrong, and everyone’s on Cloud Nine. Well, that goes out the window the second Pujols takes his Hall-of-Fame credentials out of town. I can’t imagine a bigger downer for a championship team and its fans than to have its leader walk away. And the last thing Cardinals management needs, especially right now, is to do anything to cause their fan base to doubt them or the future of their team.
It’s for this reason that Cardinals management has only one option in the Pujols case: pay him whatever he wants, and make sure he’s on the field for Opening Day. It’s either this, or they’ll have the shortest honeymoon period of any team I can remember. Not exactly what the Cards need as they ride high from a title.
That’s all for now. I’m out like the Wisconsin Badgers.