Monday, December 12, 2011

Money does strange things to our perspective

Albert Pujols spent ten incredible and productive years playing for St. Louis. While in St. Louis, he and his wife contributed to many excellent charities and institutions, several being Christian. There can be no question about the great good done through the Pujols involvement in worthy organizations.

Despite their investment in the St.Louis community and the several ministries they supported, when the Los Angeles Angels offered Pujols a bigger and longer contract than St. Louis, he bolted.

Fine. That's his choice. Surely he'll always be relatively generous no matter where he lives. However...leaving the Cards for the Angels seems like its all about money and ego. I said as much on Facebook and had several Christians rip me for questioning his motives. Now, to be clear- I'm a Yankee fan and don't have a "dog in the race" regarding where Pujols ended up (well, I guess I do now..since he'll be playing for the Angels in the AL), so my comments here are only observational about a player that is often beatified in the Christian community.

Initially I accepted the criticism about questioning Sir Albert's motives. Now I don't.

More details have come out. Initially Pujols was offered a 5-year contract by the Cardinals with a slightly greater annual salary then the Angels are now going to pay him. They eventually upped their offer to ten years, $210 million dollars which is $4 million per year less than the Angels offer. Mrs. Pujols got on a local Christian radio station in St. Louis (which the Pujols apparently funded the creation of) and said some revealing things. Notice what she says-

"When it all came down, I was mad. I was mad at God because I felt like all the signs that had been being played out through the baseball field, our foundation, our restaurant, the Down Syndrome Center, my relationships, my home, my family close...I mean, we had no reason, not one reason, to want to leave. People were deceived by the numbers." (See all of her comments here)

Seriously? All those incredible, eternal things they were part of in St. Louis were threatened because St. Louis wouldn't give Pujols a ten year contract? Mad at God for this? Honestly, how can it be said that money isn't the key driver here? Mrs. Pujols statements seem so warped. God has been using them in St. Louis far beyond baseball. He could have signed the biggest contract in MLB for the next 5 years, but instead they were insulted that it wasn't for longer. I see this is telling and sad.

Sorry if I'm being too hardcore on this. Furthermore, I'm not suggesting Albert Pujols is the only one who struggles with materialism and egoism. I'm a chief offender myself. This story grates on me because of the way Mrs. Pujols makes it seem like St. Louis some how forced them out. It's like they wanted to stay, but just couldn't for the measly $130 million the Cards were offering.

Sports are so much fun to watch, but money has screwed people up bad, even "good" people. Perhaps the statement that irked me most from the beleaguered and insulted Mrs. Pujols -"It's just like put us on a team called the Angels."


Malcolm said...

Poor Mrs. Pujols. If she is looking for sympathy it's in between suicide and syphilis in the dictionary. I mean, look and the bounty and blessings that have been bestowed on the two of them. I wander what Albert's perspective is on this.

cara erickson-park said...

Eek. We humans are a messed up group. I guess I'm glad I'm not rich. That's one struggle I do NOT need!

Sm'iles said...

Angels? Really? It must be difficult not to be impressed with oneself when you've been blessed with such talent (or more precisely with a husband with such talent) especially in an area recognized and appreciated so widely. We're all soooooo human!

Rick Calohan said...

I'm just grateful that the Yankees did waste their time or money on him or should I say on her.

Woody Woodward said...

This is exactly why I have lost all interest in professional sports. And as long as we stupid Americans pay to see these so called "superstars" it will only get worse. What these idiots make in one game is beyond my pea sized brain. Give me a good ole chick flick.

Derek said...

Tony, I think you're part on target,and part off target. Baseball is a business. Teams offer contracts that will help them the most. Players sign contracts that will help them the most, however they choose to define it.

Here's what Mrs. P should have said:

"My husband has a pretty great job. He is paid millions of dollars to hit a sphere with a cylinder, catch the sphere with a leather mitten, throw the sphere to other men, and run around a square. He's really good at this, maybe the best in the world presently. People love to watch him play, and he makes bazillions of dollars for his boss.

"AP isn't getting any younger, but he wants to continue playing baseball. St. Louis will give him a contract guaranteeing that he can play this game for 5 more years. That's cool. LA will give him a contract that will guarantee that he can play for 10 years, and it's worth more. Guaranteed 10 years of baseball. That's even more cool.

"Let's be real, we're talking about business decisions. That's why the deals are contractual in nature, not handshakes between friends. If the Cardinals would have offered the same contract, AP would have taken it. As much as we love St. Louis, AP wanted a legally binding contract allowing him to play the game he loves for 10 years. And LA offered the best one.

"Let's also be real, the teams are NOT offering contracts to AP because of his community work, charitable inclinations, or how good of a person he is. They are hiring talent to try and win World Series.

AP and I love St. Louis, and we have really enjoyed our time here. We hope we have been able to make a positive impact while we've been here, and we intend to make a positive impact in the LA area too.

"Oh, I need to clarify, God (nor anyone else) didn't put US on the Angels, Cardinals, or Mud Dogs. I'm AP's wife. I'm not on the team, and baseball contracts are not signed by wives, girlfriends, or buddies. Sorry for using the plural and implying that I am/was/will be on the baseball team."