Monday, October 24, 2011

The Man, The Legend, The Machine

With game 5 of the World Series recently underway and the baseball season nearing completion, there are just a few quick baseball related issues that I have to get off my chest.

This is not a best of 3 series. Yes, I understand that when two teams are tied 2-2 in a 7-game series, one may look at the remaining games and conclude that you only need to win two of the next three to win the title. THIS DOES NOT MAKE IT A 3 GAME SERIES. Anybody can look at the series scores and see for himself that both teams remain two games from elimination. Even those of us who have majored in social sciences can still recognize that 7 minus 4 is 3. I can understand that an announcer would want to make a reference to this fabled “3 game series” as a cute way of varying up his commentary, but stop saying it every other goddamn sentence. This is making ESPN and Fox even more un-watchable.

That was enough of a rant, now on to the heart of this article. Albert “Motherfuckin’” Pujols. The man, the legend, the machine. It is impossible to praise him enough. As if ten straight seasons of unparalleled excellence and remarkable consistency were not enough, he had to go ahead and affix his name to a whole assortment of postseason records. With his 3-homerun performance in game three, Pujols engraved his name even deeper in the record books. The feat was enough to tie him with both Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson as the only men who have hit three homeruns in a World Series game.

Furthermore, he is now in the mix for a number of other records for a single postseason. While a few games still remain in this postseason, Pujols has already racked up 23 hits (only 2 behind the leader), 45 total bases (only 2 behind the leader), 7 doubles (good for first place all time), and 16 RBIs (only 3 behind the leader). (All numbers courtesy of BR) With several games left, one has to believe that several of these records are within his grasp.

The question now becomes, how do you reward someone for these accomplishments? While Pujols had a bit of a “down” season this year by his standards, hitting below .300 and with fewer than 100 RBIs for the first time in his eleven year career. While this was an off year for him, he still managed to walk more times than he struck out, and he still belted 37 homeruns, good for third in the MLB. Over the course of his career, he has reached base 42% of the time, while hitting just over 40 homeruns per year. He also holds an on-base plus slugging percentage roughly 70% higher than the league average during the same time. Meanwhile, he managed to pull out a sneaky World Series win back in 2006, putting his team on his back and silently carrying a team that did not have any other real star power. All of this means that his payday this offseason will indeed be monstrous.

He is probably the best professional hitter since Ted Williams, with leadership skills and consistency to boot. How does a team put a price tag on that? In a bigger market, his proven ability to bring in wins could demand another record, this time not in hits and walks, but in dollars. When St Louis makes a bid for his services, he will have to ask what his legacy and integrity mean to him. He should think hard about this one, and come up with an exact dollar amount. Because odds are that there is a team willing to pay for his integrity and give him a generous signing bonus on top of it. I sympathize with the protesters down on Wall Street, but there is a whole new tier of earners. If people are this upset with the 1%, I can't imagine how pissed they'll be when they familiarize themselves with "Pujols money." The man is his own tier.


  1. the yankees and red sox having solid first basemen definitely hurts the market. the angels could probably pay him, but he might end up back in st louis at a bargain.

  2. Another question: how much is Pujols hurting baseball by being the single most boring superstar to ever play a sport?

    Someone this guy should be either loved or hated by every fan and thousands of non-baseball fans. Tom Brady, Kobe Bryant, LeBron, and Tiger Woods all are polarizing figures, and their sports significantly benefit from it.

  3. I have to believe that at least one of the big market teams is going to jump in on the action. He has averaged around 8 wins above replacement over his career, and that is going to bring some suitors.

    The Yankees paid roughly $4.1 million per win last year, and so Pujols should be worth upwards of $32 million per year on a long-term deal. If the market price dips below $30 million per year, I think that these big market teams will have to take notice.

    Especially in the AL, lineups can be shuffled and players can be DHed to make room for new hitters. These teams know that he will translate to a large revenue increase, so he will always be in demand.