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Thread: Albert is NOT happy

  1. #1
    Box of Frogs edabbs44's Avatar
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    Albert is NOT happy

    Where's Albert? On Tony's bench as NL loses again
    By Rick Hummel
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    07/11/2007


    SAN FRANCISCO — Albert Pujols made big-league history as a rookie for the Cardinals in 2001 when he became the first player to start 30 or more games at four positions (third base, first base, left field, right field), and he even played second base in his first All-Star Game appearance that year.

    It was such versatility that National League All-Star manager Tony La Russa, also Pujols' manager during the season, had in mind during his club's 5-4 loss to the American League on Tuesday night. The American League's 10th straight victory (there was a tie in 2002) was achieved with Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki hitting the first inside-the-park home run in All-Star Game history, and it also was achieved with Pujols sitting on the bench — the only National League position player not to have seen action.

    La Russa, knowing that Florida third baseman Miguel Cabrera was available only to pinch hit and not available to play in the field because of a shoulder injury, moved Pittsburgh's Freddy Sanchez from his projected utility role to backup third baseman to New York's David Wright. This made Pujols, the reigning Gold Glove first baseman, the National League's utility man, which La Russa thought he had explained to Pujols before the game.

    Pujols was smiling as he spoke after the game, but he didn't mask his disappointment about not playing. Nor did a more contentious La Russa hide his disappointment that Pujols hadn't understood the situation. Advertisement

    Pujols had said Monday that he would do "whatever (La Russa) wants" as a player chosen not by the fans or the players but by La Russa himself. But when Pujols didn't play Tuesday night, he said, "Go ask the manager. He's the one you should ask. I have no idea. He didn't even talk to me at all.

    "This is the All-Star Game. He's the manager. He can do anything he wants.

    "But if I wasn't expecting myself to play, I wouldn't have come up here. I'd rather stay home with my family. That's the way it is."

    Dmitri Young, not Pujols, pinch hit in the ninth inning when the National League rallied for two runs on Alfonso Soriano's opposite-field homer and then loaded the bases on three walks before Aaron Rowand flied out to end the game.

    It was clear at that point that Pujols, the Cardinals' only representative, was La Russa's extra-inning man.

    "I was ready," said Pujols. "I was born ready Maybe he wanted to play the other guys and maybe he didn't want to leave the other guys out. Maybe if he would have played me and left another guy out, they would have said, 'Why did he play Albert instead of the other guy?'

    "I was loose and ready to go. Maybe he was saving me for next year's All-Star Game."

    Though disappointed, Pujols was laughing at this point.

    La Russa was told about Pujols' generally genial mood but still couldn't fathom Pujols' surprise at not playing. And La Russa, biting his words, clearly was not laughing.

    "Albert was the guy who was going to do whatever we needed," said La Russa. "If Albert doesn't understand that, I'm surprised and disappointed. It isn't that tough a thing. I explained his role to him before the game.

    "Let me ask you this. If we go to extra innings, who's going to be our player to move around and play? Can Dmitri move around and play? Or is Albert going to do that? Who's the most versatile guy not playing? It's Albert. It isn't even that tough. He'll figure it out sooner or later.

    "But I'm more disappointed that we lost than that he doesn't understand it." La Russa, who won three straight All-Star Games for the American League from 1989-91 when he was with Oakland, has suffered two All-Star losses as a National League manager in 2005 and this year.

    Baseball's two best leadoff men, Suzuki and Jose Reyes of the New York Mets, reigned head and shoulders over their peers. The difference was that Suzuki had just a tad more help from his American League confreres.

    The .359-hitting Suzuki had two singles and then homered in his final at-bat in the fifth, wrapping up the Most Valuable Player award.

    Reyes, the majors' stolen-base leader at 46, singled twice and doubled in his first three at-bats and stole a base before scoring the National League's first run.

    The All-Star Game victory ensured that the American League will have the home-field advantage in the World Series, marking the fifth straight time that has happened since the home-field carrot was offered first in 2003.

    But La Russa said, "If we compete like this every year, we'll win. We took care of our business. We just came up a run short."
    http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/spo...B?OpenDocument

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  3. #2
    Member cumberlandreds's Avatar
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    Re: Albert is NOT happy

    Must be something going on there. I have never knew a manager not playing all of his own players in an ASG unless they were truly injured. Pujols must be OK since he participated in the Home Run Derby. LaRussa not even talking to Pujols is even stranger. I wonder if LaRussa is trying to get a quick exit out of St. Louis?
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    Re: Albert is NOT happy

    The LaRussa situation reminds me a bit of the Bill Cowher situation in Pittsburgh.

    Manager coach waits forever to get ring in respected baseball/football town......Endures lots of close calls and heartbreaks along the way......Then he wins with a team that may not have been his best.....The monkey is off his back......But he's worn down from the years of trying to get there.....Pretty much has to come back to "defend" the title....But the energy and motivation has disipated.....Needs a break/change of scenery.....

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    Be the ball Roy Tucker's Avatar
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    Re: Albert is NOT happy

    Quote Originally Posted by cumberlandreds View Post
    Must be something going on there. I have never knew a manager not playing all of his own players in an ASG unless they were truly injured. Pujols must be OK since he participated in the Home Run Derby. LaRussa not even talking to Pujols is even stranger. I wonder if LaRussa is trying to get a quick exit out of St. Louis?
    Odd, because LaRussa explained it to the Fox TV audience. I thought Tony picked Pujols because Albert is his guy and he'd understand and be OK with it.

    Frankly, I thought it was a classy move on Pujols' part to give up his PT before I heard all this.

    From the article, it sounded like LaRussa explained it to him.

    La Russa was told about Pujols' generally genial mood but still couldn't fathom Pujols' surprise at not playing. And La Russa, biting his words, clearly was not laughing.

    "Albert was the guy who was going to do whatever we needed," said La Russa. "If Albert doesn't understand that, I'm surprised and disappointed. It isn't that tough a thing. I explained his role to him before the game.

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    I thought you'd be bigger OldXOhio's Avatar
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    Re: Albert is NOT happy

    I don't care what the pre-game conversation was between them - when a competitive, professional athlete like Pujols gets bypassed in a situation where he knows he can win the game, and get his ego stroked, he's not going to be happy. And LaRussa should know that after all these years of managing.
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    Unsolicited Opinions traderumor's Avatar
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    Re: Albert is NOT happy

    "But if I wasn't expecting myself to play, I wouldn't have come up here. I'd rather stay home with my family. That's the way it is."
    Again, a multi-million dollar star misses one of the points of the All-Star game. It is an honor to be selected and many guys would have loved to be there, whether they got to play or not. Just stay home next time, Albert.

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    Box of Frogs edabbs44's Avatar
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    Re: Albert is NOT happy

    Quote Originally Posted by traderumor View Post
    Again, a multi-million dollar star misses one of the points of the All-Star game. It is an honor to be selected and many guys would have loved to be there, whether they got to play or not. Just stay home next time, Albert.
    Good post.

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    Member cumberlandreds's Avatar
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    Re: Albert is NOT happy

    Quote Originally Posted by Roy Tucker View Post
    Odd, because LaRussa explained it to the Fox TV audience. I thought Tony picked Pujols because Albert is his guy and he'd understand and be OK with it.

    Frankly, I thought it was a classy move on Pujols' part to give up his PT before I heard all this.

    From the article, it sounded like LaRussa explained it to him.
    Whoops! I missed that part. Pujols should have kept quiet then if LaRussa did indeed tell him that he would be the last one off the bench and may not play.
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    nothing more than a fan Always Red's Avatar
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    Re: Albert is NOT happy

    I believe TLR in this case. I think it was all explained to him ahead of time, as LaRussa said, and Albert decided he didn't like being passed over with the game on the line.

    Albert seems to get more petulant as he gets older....
    Last edited by Always Red; 07-11-2007 at 10:47 AM. Reason: spelling!

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    Member smith288's Avatar
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    Re: Albert is NOT happy

    Just for the purpose of winning, LaRussa seriously missed the boat. Rowan or Albert, Rowan or Albert... Hmmm. No disrespect to Rowan but he is half the hitter that Pujols is.

    If this was a real game, LaRussa would be run out of town for leaving Pujols on the bench aside the "honor" of being at the all star game

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    Member NJReds's Avatar
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    Re: Albert is NOT happy

    All the explanations aside. I don't understand not using Pujols w/2 outs bases loaded in the 9th. If he gets a hit...game over. If he makes out...game over. I can see if the game is tied at the time, but that wasn't the case.

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    Playoffs Cyclone792's Avatar
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    Re: Albert is NOT happy

    If I was a fan of an NL contender right now, I wouldn't be all that happy with LaRussa. The Cardinals probably aren't going to the playoffs this season, and it showed a bit with LaRussa's managing last night. Leyland's team is contending and he had Detroit's own interests in mind last night, and you could he was managing to try to win the game at the end with the double-switch.

    As it was, it wasn't that much of a difficult situation for LaRussa. If Pujols bats for Rowand and ties the game rather than ends it with a win or loss (walk, hit-by-pitch, wild pitch, passed ball, etc.) and the game goes to extras, just move Soriano to center field and send Pujols to left field.

    But maybe LaRussa thought it was more important to prevent his star from having to play a position he hadn't played in four years rather than trying to win the game, who knows.
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    Tired of talk. Win! Joseph's Avatar
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    Re: Albert is NOT happy

    I think if the game is going to 'count' now, that the honor of managing the All Star team needs to go to a team in contention.

    For example, when the starters are announced, the teams with the best record now needs to have its manager manage in its respective leagues.

    LaRussa was probably in the right to do that, but clearly there was a different intensity in the two managers.

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    Greatness In The Making RedLegSuperStar's Avatar
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    Re: Albert is NOT happy

    Quote Originally Posted by traderumor View Post
    Again, a multi-million dollar star misses one of the points of the All-Star game. It is an honor to be selected and many guys would have loved to be there, whether they got to play or not. Just stay home next time, Albert.
    Dead On! I would of done the same thing to Pujols and used him as an extra inning guy.
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    RZ Chamber of Commerce Unassisted's Avatar
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    Re: Albert is NOT happy

    I sympathize with LaRussa in this case. The game had a real chance of going to extra innings. His options for a reserve position player to plug in to the lineup in extra innings were Albert and Dimitri. Dimitri doesn't belong anywhere near an infield position that isn't 1B. Albert can hold his own anywhere on the field. Makes perfect sense to me. Albert just needs to take a wider view here.

    If something is broken here, maybe MLB needs to let players re-enter the lineup for the ASG.
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