Bleacher Bits: Class follows Pujols to coast
Major League Baseball is full of big names, and ordinarily these marquee players also demand big dollars, while some also sport egos that are larger in size than the cities they play for.
Albert Pujols may have the money and the moniker, but is choosing to keep his ego inside the park.
The Los Angeles Angels acquired the slugger in the off-season for a mere $240 million and have him under contract until 2021. The complicated contract will pay him $12 million for 2012, but will increase each year until 2021, when it will top out at $30 million annually.
That's the money.
In 11 seasons in the big leagues, Pujols has hit 445 home runs and driven in 1,329 runs, while also batting at a .328 clip. He was a Rookie of the Year, has played in nine All-Star games and won the National League's Most Valuable Player Award three times.
That's where he earns "the name" and all the respect it deserves from anyone knowledgeable about baseball.
Yet, there is one name that Pujols was less than excited about having bestowed on him. Multiple online sports sites reported on Thursday that Pujols objected to the latest Angels' marketing campaign, which includes 20 billboards across Southern California referring to him as "El Hombre."
It translates to "The Man" in English, but throughout his 11-year career with the St. Louis Cardinals, Pujols was vocal in his belief that it was disrespectful to hall of famer Stan "The Man" Musial — a beloved Cardinals' legend.
"I feel the same way," Pujols said Wednesday in reference to the nickname. "I had nothing to do with (the billboards). They haven't talked to me about it."
Tim Mead, the Angels' vice president of communications, and Robert Alvarado, vice president of marketing and ticket sales, said the team doesn't normally seek approval from players about how they're portrayed in ads.
Pujols' respect for Musial is not just for his baseball accomplishments, but for what he did for his country. Musial served in the Navy in World War II and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom last February for a lifetime of achievement and service.
"That's something you have to appreciate," Pujols said.
I've always admired Pujols' mad skills on the field, but his show of respect for baseball history, and history in general, has elevated my level of respect for him.
Stick with your beliefs Albert, I've got your back.
CONTACT Craig Purcell at 824-1036 or firstname.lastname@example.org