Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Could it REALLY happen? Will the Cardinals let Albert Pujols walk?
In about 15 minutes, the St. Louis Cardinals will have a press conference confirming that they have NOT reached agreement on a new contract with 1B Albert Pujols, arguably the greatest player in their history not named Stan Musial.
Redbird Rants speculates here on what might happen if the Cardinals decide they cannot pay the reported asking price of 10 years/$300 Million. I can see not giving him a 10-year deal, because he would be 41 years old at the end of the contract. $30 million a year? He's been worth more than that to the Cardinals over the years, as he is on a pace to be the greatest hitter of all time.
If the Cardinals had not convinced the city of St. Louis and the state of Missouri to give them a sweetheart deal to build new Busch Stadium, they could have pleaded poverty to their fans, as old Busch was one of the cheapest places to watch Major League Baseball. All that changed, however, when New Busch opened in 2006 to high prices, but also a World Series victory. The Cardinal fans may not recover if the DeWitt family that owns the Cardinals allows the greatest player since Musial to walk away. Not even returning the radio broadcasts to KMOX could save the Cardinal ownership if Pujols is playing somewhere else in 2012.
And the fact is, that somewhere else could be the worst place possible for Cardinal fans: Wrigley Field. The Ricketts family could cause Cardinal fans (and, to be honest, Sox fans as well) to weep and gnash their teeth while leading to paroxyms of joy on the North Side.
To be honest, there will still be a VERY SMALL window of time after the World Series where the Cardinals could re-sign Albert, but it's beginning to look like the die has been cast. Cardinal fans, you may want to visit New Busch as much as possible in 2011; it may be your last chance to see #5 in a St. Louis uniform.
As a Cubs fan since 1966, one can only hope.