When Albert Pujols signed with the Anaheim Angels of Anaheim in December 2011, some baseball experts wondered what kind of production the 33-year-old would give in the later years of his 10-year, $240 million contract.
But now a national sports columnist has expressed his doubts about the future Hall of Famer's production in the deal's initial years, too.
NBCSports.com's Joe Posnanski writes in “Albert Pujols Doesn't Matter Anymore:”:
The thing that's strange–the thing that's sad–is how little excitement there is now when he comes to the plate. Let's go to a moment in Sunday's Angels-White Sox game. The count is 3-0, and Albert Pujols has the green light. There should be an electrical charge buzzing the air. Only … really … there isn't a buzz. There isn't a charge. There isn't anything at all. The thrill-o-meter is at zero.
Look: He is 33 years old, just beginning a $240 million contract, and he's playing for an overpriced and kind of dreadful team that looks like it was built by a rotisserie baseball beginner who ran out at the last minute and bought three fantasy baseball magazines. He looks hurt. He looks tired. He looks out of place. He looks … well, truth is, who is even looking anymore?
Posnanski argues the excitement that followed Pujols to the plate has been sapped by Miguel Cabrera, and that young Angel fans are less likely to buy (or have bought for them) a Pujols jersey than they are one with “Trout” on the back.
That at-bat against the White Sox is indicative of why this is. With that 3-0 hitter's count, Pujols unleashed his swing and, as Posnanski relates, “There are no cartoon exclamation points. Instead, he pops up to the shortstop, completing his 0-for-4 day. There will be better days, of course. But the big thing, is nobody really seems to notice. Nobody really seems to care.”
I think some of us do. This was from our last Scariest People issue:
Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.