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MattyHo4Life
05-18-2006, 09:56 AM
Pujols to world: I'm clean
By Derrick Goold
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
05/18/2006
Cards Pujols
Albert Pujols: "I don't have to hide anything because I haven't done anything wrong."
(Bill Boyce/AP)

Devout in his inspiration for why he plays the game and proud of the perspiration he has put into how he plays the game, Albert Pujols says his record-setting power this season is a welcome testament to the type of player he is:

A clean one.

"You're not going to find anything out about me," the Cardinals first baseman and reigning National League MVP said Wednesday during a far-reaching interview with several members of the media. "They can test me every day if they want. I don't care."

"At the same time, yeah, you feel happy to do (this)," Pujols continued. "I know a lot of people have approached me - friends, (and) I heard about it - that people thought that I was on steroids and some stuff like that. Now that they do the testing and I put up these numbers, it's good. It's good to prove that because I work hard for it. I don't need any type of things like that to help me out with my game. I just take the blessing that the good Lord has given me to perform, to glorify his name and to help out my team to win."

Pujols entered Wednesday's game with 19 home runs and 48 RBIs, the most in the majors in both triple crown categories. Already on his resume this season is a major-league record for home runs hit in April (14), the fastest ever to hit his 19th home run (he did that in the team's 37th game), and, coming this week, cover shots on both Sports Illustrated and The Sporting News.

As Barry Bonds takes swings at tying and surpassing Babe Ruth's career mark of 714 home runs, he does so under a fog of suspicion, doubts fueled by allegations of steroid use. The latter part of the 1990s, including Mark McGwire's 1998 home run binge, is awash in the pharmaceutical stench of performance-enhancing drugs and the power they wrought. Since spring 2005, baseball has been hammered about steroid use in its clubhouses and has rewritten its testing policy three times. Now every player is tested several times a season, with the penalty being a 50-game suspension.

Pujols is being touted as the first P.S. slugger, post-steroids.

But that was not the only errant rumor he wanted to dispel.

"Do you know how many times I've heard (it) - and I'm sick and tired of people saying that I'm not 26 and whatever," Pujols said of his age, a topic of some debate in the media. "I mean, who cares? I don't care what they say. I know how old I am. I know that I don't use all of those bad things that people are talking about that I use. ... They went after my rookie year and tried to find out my age, and they didn't find anything.

"Like I said. I don't have to hide anything because I haven't done anything wrong."

Pujols said he woke up Wednesday morning with a "little stiff" and sore back from his tumble in the eighth inning of Tuesday's loss. He also sported a baseball-size welt after fouling a pitch off his left leg in the first inning Tuesday. Neither problem kept Pujols from batting third and playing first against the New York Mets on Wednesday night.

Manager Tony La Russa was terse to the point of irritation when it came to questions before the game about Pujols and the first baseman's health. The manager later explained he is concerned that too much attention, too much "hanging on everything he does" would detract from the team, the Cardinals' concept, and that it is his job as manager to sand down such splinters.

In his first at-bat Tuesday, he fouled a Tom Glavine pitch off the inside of his lower leg and dropped to the ground, wincing as he tried to walk it off. Pujols continued to play through the game - and after a 101-minute rain delay he tracked a pop fly into foul territory. His chase took him across the on-deck circle, and on that slick surface he slipped and landed flat on his back.

Pujols got up and played the rest of the game.

"Any of our players take a spill like that and it concerns me," La Russa said, pointedly. "It doesn't concern me any more because it's Albert."

That's just it. It's Albert.

Pujols' profile continues to skyrocket, and the home runs and the cover stories are just part of the propulsion. As it was when he addressed his bat flip against Pittsburgh pitcher Oliver Perez earlier this season, Pujols' candor is now an element in his previously talent-driven rise.

"Great ballplayer," said Mets center fielder Carlos Beltran. "To me, he's a player that can do everything. Maybe he's not the fastest runner in the game, but he takes advantage of the speed that he has - going from first to third, when he has an opportunity to steal a base. At the same time ... it's not about only when you're having a great time are you a cheerleader, but what about when you have the bad times? You have to be there for you teammates then, too. He is. I have a lot of admiration for what he does.

"He's having a great, great, great year."

And Pujols doesn't want any doubts or unchecked reports to stain it.

He said Wednesday that he had watched Bonds' television program on ESPN and that it is "really sad the life that he is living." Pujols went on to say he never wants "to live that life like that. If I had to live a life like that better to quit this game because that's not what it is all about."

He went on to explain how he plays the game for God, for family and for team, and therefore is steeled against accusations and other arrows. His aspirations not to be detoured, nor achievements undermined.

"I want to be the best player that ever plays baseball," Pujols said at the conclusion of his talk Wednesday. "Is that going to happen? I don't know. ... I don't read the future. God only reads the future. I want to be in the Hall of Fame. I want to do that. I also want to win 10 championship rings if I can do that."

savafan
05-18-2006, 12:24 PM
Thanks for posting that Matty, Pujols is a class act. :thumbup:

Joseph
05-18-2006, 12:26 PM
Pujols is a class act. Thats the kind of class that comes with the maturity of being a 34 year old.

Just kidding.

edabbs44
05-18-2006, 12:37 PM
Pujols is a class act. Thats the kind of class that comes with the maturity of being a 34 year old.

Just kidding.
They have always said he was a great guy. He even drove the team bus to his little league games.

traderumor
05-18-2006, 01:25 PM
Admirable of Tony to give the "we're a team" defense, but let's be honest, there Genius, your offense will be putrid without Pujols in there.

OnBaseMachine
05-18-2006, 01:45 PM
Disagree on Pujols being a class act. Classy act's don't show up their opponents as much as Poo-holes. Dude is the biggest showboater in baseball, worse than Edmonds and Bonds, IMO.

I noticed lats night that Pujols appears to be losing a bit of his hair. I know it happens to some people at a earlier age, but mix in a couple other hints and I'm pretty sure he is older than he says. ;)

edabbs44
05-18-2006, 01:47 PM
Admirable of Tony to give the "we're a team" defense, but let's be honest, there Genius, your offense will be putrid without Pujols in there.
Tony was a real stand-up guy when it came to his other franchise, Big Mac.

Handofdeath
05-18-2006, 02:07 PM
Tony was a real stand-up guy when it came to his other franchise, Big Mac.
Hey! Big Mac has always been clean. He's just been a little sick lately that's all.

Spring~Fields
05-18-2006, 02:14 PM
In Pujols we might be looking at one of the greatest hitters to ever play the game, if he has the longevity time will tell.

savafan
05-18-2006, 02:41 PM
I know it happens to some people at a earlier age, but mix in a couple other hints and I'm pretty sure he is older than he says. ;)

I started losing my hair at 17.

Cedric
05-18-2006, 02:44 PM
Pujols has always come across arrogant and old to me. :)

cincyinco
05-18-2006, 04:15 PM
Man.. Pujols is one of those guys that I love but hate at the same time. Around the time I started getting into the minor leagues is when I became a fan of Albert Pujols. He was playing in double A. Some "unkown" kid invited to the Card's Spring Training... he took off and he's still going up. I hate that he's so good, and I hate that we don't have him. Showboat or not, the guy - if clean - is just unworldly. Ruthian. And thats why I love Pujols, because its not often you get the chance to watch someone that great.

KronoRed
05-18-2006, 04:38 PM
Pujols has always come across arrogant and old to me. :)
Crusty old man you mean? same here :D

44Magnum
05-18-2006, 05:23 PM
Anyone who would defend Bonds is guilty by association. I think Pujols is juicing and older than he says regardless of his defense of Bonds.

Cedric
05-18-2006, 05:24 PM
Sammy Sosa said the same thing. "test me each and every day if you want"

vaticanplum
05-18-2006, 06:01 PM
What is Pujols's contract like?

Mario-Rijo
05-18-2006, 06:48 PM
Hey! Big Mac has always been clean. He's just been a little sick lately that's all.

Big Mac is full of the "special sauce"! :evil:

Johnny Footstool
05-18-2006, 06:56 PM
They have always said he was a great guy. He even drove the team bus to his little league games.

I heard he bought beer for the team to celebrate victories.

MattyHo4Life
05-18-2006, 09:14 PM
What is Pujols's contract like?


Pujols signed a 7-year extension in 2/04, and avoided arbitration
04:$7M, 05:$11M, 06:$14M, 07:$15M, 08:$16M, 09:$16M, 10:$16M, 11:$16M club option ($5M buyout)

4256 Hits
05-18-2006, 10:30 PM
"Do you know how many times I've heard (it) - and I'm sick and tired of people saying that I'm not 26 and whatever," Pujols said of his age, a topic of some debate in the media. "I mean, who cares? I don't care what they say. I know how old I am. I know that I don't use all of those bad things that people are talking about that I use. ... They went after my rookie year and tried to find out my age, and they didn't find anything.

That to me sounds like somebody that is hiding something. He is tired of hearing about then produce the documents that prove you are 26. Also he never came out and said that he was 26. Plus if everyone tried to find his age but couldn't find it that tells me he covered his tracks well.

bucksfan
05-18-2006, 10:39 PM
Does it really matter how old he is? I mean, he has had and is having some great seasons whether he is 26 now or 36 or 46. We are not talking that he should be playing against some "better competition" if he were actually older. He is beating the crap out of the best competition we can offer. What does it matter?

wheels
05-18-2006, 11:04 PM
Yeah, but if he's 30-32 years old, he's entering the twilight of his prime years.

If we see a falloff in his numbers over the next three years or so, we'll understand why.

MattyHo4Life
05-18-2006, 11:55 PM
Plus if everyone tried to find his age but couldn't find it that tells me he covered his tracks well.

Imagine how big of a story it would be if Pujols really did lie about his age. That would make any reporters career, and they all know that. If it was true, somebody would have discovered it by now, and it wouldn't just be a rumor. It's still a rumor, because it isn't true. BTW....I heard that Elvis is still alive too. lol

Cedric
05-19-2006, 12:04 AM
Imagine how big of a story it would be if Pujols really did lie about his age. That would make any reporters career, and they all know that. If it was true, somebody would have discovered it by now, and it wouldn't just be a rumor. It's still a rumor, because it isn't true. BTW....I heard that Elvis is still alive too. lol

It's not that big of a deal. Honestly I don't think any reporter or average fan cares about his age. How would it make someone's career? Albert Pujols is by no means a household name across average America.

remdog
05-19-2006, 12:14 AM
I don't know Albert's age nor do I know if he ever took steroids. In both cases I've never seen anything that indicates to me that he is anything other than what he is. And, what he is, simply, is the best pure hitter on the planet today.

Rem

PickOff
05-19-2006, 12:28 AM
Albert is awesome, clean, a team player, and I disagree that he is a showboater - it is all for the team with Pujols, IMO. Amazing player.

Buckaholic
05-19-2006, 12:31 AM
I think Pujols is cocky and arrogant, but I have so much respect for him. He simply does his thing and he plays with enthusiasm. You can see the passion he has for the game, and I truly wish more players would play that very same way.

There's something about him, but that very first season he broke into the league at 21, I picked him up in the fantasy baseball league immediately before he became a household name. Later that year, I took a trip to Pittsburgh for business and got to see him play at PNC Park, and ever since I've been hooked.

It's been said already, but Pujols really has the chance to go down as one of the greatest players this game has seen if he sticks around for a while. I already consider him flat out the best hitter in the game - period.

There might be a lot you can hate about him, but there's so much you also have to love.

And as a footnote, I really believe he's doing it off his own hard work and effort.

MattyHo4Life
05-19-2006, 08:27 AM
It's not that big of a deal. Honestly I don't think any reporter or average fan cares about his age. How would it make someone's career? Albert Pujols is by no means a household name across average America.

It is a big story when any known baseball player is older than he claims he is. Pujols is the best player in the MLB, so it would be a huge story for any sports reporter. If he was older than he claims, we would all know it as fact by now.

RedFanAlways1966
05-19-2006, 08:36 AM
Pujols is a great player and I believe him. And I am sure if he were a REDS player most of us would not find him to be cocky (imagine that).

And the people who wonder if Albert used steroids? I'm not in that camp, but I do not blame these people. I blame Bud Selig and his cronies who let this crap happen. In 10 years or so we may not hear about players in the game being questioned about steroids. It is a shame, but is something that the MLB powers allowed to happen.

SI just came out with their latest issue and it has a nice story on how hard Albert works and how dedicated Albert is to his hitting. It is a good read and I recommend that each of you try to read it if ya can.

4256 Hits
05-19-2006, 10:34 PM
Imagine how big of a story it would be if Pujols really did lie about his age. That would make any reporters career, and they all know that. If it was true, somebody would have discovered it by now, and it wouldn't just be a rumor. It's still a rumor, because it isn't true. BTW....I heard that Elvis is still alive too. lol

It would also be big (not as big) for a sports reporter to prove the Pujols age is really correct. There seems to be a big ? about it that would be a story regardless of what the truth is. My question why is it so difficult for him to prove his age? The only reason I can think is there is something to hide.

Regardless of his age he is a GREAT player.

MattyHo4Life
05-20-2006, 01:32 AM
It would also be big (not as big) for a sports reporter to prove the Pujols age is really correct. There seems to be a big ? about it that would be a story regardless of what the truth is.

I don't think so. It would only be a big story if it wasn't true, because that would be news. Most people believe he is the age he says he is because they have no reason not to. It is only a question mark to some, because it has happened before with foreign players. There will always be people that are jealous of his success and will throw out accusations to try to discredit him. That is human nauture. Albert Pujols has never given anybody any reason to think he lis lying about anything.

Reds Nd2
05-20-2006, 08:30 PM
There will always be people that are jealous of his success and will throw out accusations to try to discredit him. That is human nauture.

The questions about Pujols actual age were around before he was ever drafted, that's just one of the reasons he fell to the Cards in the 13th round. He made also a mid year switch from highschool to a jr. college as well and then there is the whole name change thing. Anecdotal evidence to be sure, but combine that with the very real problem of players with Dominican roots being older than they claimed and you can see why people have questions about just how old Pujols is.

MattyHo4Life
05-21-2006, 09:57 AM
The questions about Pujols actual age were around before he was ever drafted, that's just one of the reasons he fell to the Cards in the 13th round. He made also a mid year switch from highschool to a jr. college as well and then there is the whole name change thing.

I think bigger reasons were that he had a weight problem, and he wasn't known as a very good fielder.

Of course there were questions. At that time, there were questions about everyone coming here from that part of the world. Since then, we have discovered the real ages of many baseball players. If Albert had something to hide, I think we would know the truth by now. It's one thing to have quetioned it back then, but it isn't as much of an issue since 9/11.

paintmered
05-21-2006, 10:46 AM
I think bigger reasons were that he had a weight problem, and he wasn't known as a very good fielder.

Of course there were questions. At that time, there were questions about everyone coming here from that part of the world. Since then, we have discovered the real ages of many baseball players. If Albert had something to hide, I think we would know the truth by now. It's one thing to have quetioned it back then, but it isn't as much of an issue since 9/11.

I think this is a good point.

I think what it is for me (and maybe other fans as well) is that it's unbelievable for a hitter to be so completely devestating at such a young age. Add to that the history of Dominican players and their documented age and you get accusations that he is older than what Pujols claims.

MattyHo4Life
05-22-2006, 11:41 AM
Here is a timeline of what occured prior to Pujols' Cardinals career.

Albert Pujols Pre-Cardinal Timeline
By John Bristor

1996 - At age 16, both the Florida Marlins and Oakland Athletics cut him from tryout camps in the Dominican Republic. An Atlanta Brave Scout named Bill Clark had seem him play a couple of times, but Pujols disappears as Pujols and father head to New York City and then to Independence Missouri where he becomes a sophomore instead of a junior at Fort Osage High School since he can't speak English.

1997 - in April of 1997, now international scouting director for the Braves, Bill Clark was in between trips to Australia and Mexico and read an article about Pujols in the Kansas City Star. He took a day off to go see Pujols played and he liked what he saw, from his notes:

"He was indeed a good hitter - aggressive, in charge of the strike zone, with a quick bat, good weight shift and no hitches or other hang-ups. He had a chance to be a good hitter at the next level. His arm was strong, his hands usable at third base, but he was neither a fluid infielder nor a good runner. But, hey, a man needs less speed when he employs a home run trot consistently."

Since Pujols was playing for Fort Osage, his status was the same as any other U.S. high schooler. He would not be eligible for the draft until June of his senior year. BIll Clark decided to try something a little illegal and unethical. Clark contacted the full time Braves scout for the Dominican and they contacted Pujols to see whether he would be willing to sign a contract after the finish of his junior season at Fort Osage. If so, they would fly him to the Dominican and sign him using his mother’s maiden name, and he would not return to high school in the United States.

No one would know where he was, and the name "Pujols" would conveniently disappear. He would be in the Instructional League in Florida in September instead of starting his senior year at Fort Osage High School.

Pujols tentatively agreed, and they were scheduled to discuss the plan a month later. But Pujols had a huge junior season and was named All-State high school player in Missouri for Fort Osage and then had equal success in summer American Legion ball.

Pujols was no longer an unknown foreign student, he was on every Midwest scout’s top follow list for the next season and if Pujols didn’t show up at Fort Osage for his senior year, scouts would ask questions until they got answers.

1998 - Named All-state high school player for the second time. Bill Clark sent his notes to the midwest Braves Scout and offered to help sign Pujols if the Braves landed him in the draft. Pujols did not graduate with his high school class because of English deficiency.

Because many scouts thought he was pudgy and due to his not graduating he was bumped off most scouts lists. Nobody drafted Pujols even though he went to school to correct his English deficiency and got his diploma but he was already off the lists.

Bill Clark tries to get Pujols signed out of summer ball. But the Braves in midwest supervisor wasn't interested.

Pujols was offered a scholarship from small Maple Woods Community College in Kansas City.

1999 - Pujol's attracts serious attention from three scouts. David Karaff (Cardinals), Fernando Arango (Devil Rays), Jay Darnell (Rockies).

Jay Darnell calls in from a truck stop before the draft to tell them "I think this guy is going to hit for a lot of power. Grab him as soon as you can." But his advice was ignored by the Rockies.

Arango raved so much about Pujols' hitting ability during a meeting with former Tampa Bay scouting director Dan Jennings and former national cross-checker Stan Meek, that he convinced them to fly Pujols to Florida for a special workout at Tropicana Field only days before the draft. Tampa was the only team to invite Pujols to a workout.

``The only prediction I made about Albert in the meeting was that someday he would hit 40 homers in the big leagues,'' Arango said.

That day, Dan Jennings the scouting director asks Pujols based on his body type, to perform in catching equipment, and he reluctantly agreed. It was a disaster.

"It wasn't very pretty," Jennings said. "Then we let him hit and he hit one ball in batting practice that went to the warning track, and no balls that went in the stands for a home run. He might as well have been Joe Smith. There was nothing that said this was a great player.

"We were blinded by our own eyes."

Arango says Pujols was fully capable of putting on a power show that day, but was primarily focused on scorching line drives. ``I had him going in the second or third round,'' Arango said. The Rays selected Josh Hamilton with the first overall pick, which Arango had no problem with. `I saw Josh Hamilton play in a game, and he was the real deal. He had star written all over him.'

Both Karaff and Arango tell their teams to pick Pujols in the third round and neither team listens. However, when the first five rounds passed and the Rays and every other team had passed on Pujols, Arango started to wonder what was going on.

Jeff Scott, "Karaff wanted us to take him in the third round. I remember asking him, 'Where's he going to play?' David said, 'Don't worry. With his bat, they'll find a place for him.'

Mike Roberts, Scott's assistant, expected Pujols to be drafted in the first nine rounds, and once the draft reached the 10th round, he pushed for St. Louis to take Pujols. "When we first went in to start the season, he was not a high-profile player," Roberts says, "and as a result, sometimes these guys are a little harder to sell."

The Cardinals finally select Pujols, player #402

Pujols turned down a $10,000 signing bonus (the family originally wanted a higher draft pick and $ 350,000 bonus) and he played summer ball for the Hays Larks of the amateur Jayhawk League.

Finally, the Cardinals came up with nearly $60,000, and Pujols reluctantly accepted as he wanted to get married.