What If Albert Were Really Hurt?

The early indications on the hamstring injury that caused Albert Pujols to exit early from the Sunday Night game against Cincinnati are mild and not dramatic.

But what if it were the other way around? What impact would a serious hamstring injury have not merely on the Cards’ extraordinary dependence on Pujols, but on what would shape up as the most extraordinary free agency since Alex Rodriguez left the Mariners in the winter of 2000?

What would happen to his $30 million dollar dreams if he didn’t play again this year? Or was hamstrung by the hamstring, or any of a hundred other calamities? Not wishing him any of these in the slightest, but that limp last night made the prospect of an injury that could cost a man $200,000,000 very real indeed.

I would guess the answer is no, but it is wonderful to speculate if the thought even crossed his mind when Pujols told reporters:

“I just felt a little tight, and I just pulled off. I think I prefer it tight than a blown-out hamstring, you know? It’s something that, I have to deal with it. It’s been rough here the last week or so with the rain and all that, and our bodies take a little beating.”

To say nothing, theoretically, of our wallets.


  1. Ron Tunning

    This is one more example of why it doesn’t make sense for teams to sign these long-term contracts. But then, if the owners are that stupid, so be it.

  2. Patricia Powell Couvillion

    A similar story is found in the Hornets/Lakers game last night. In the final moments (literally!) of the game, Kobe crashed into Chris Paul as hard as he could. Now, the “common taters” point out that he was a little tripped up. Please. I think the Lakers are cheaters. In fact, when I saw that Cheaters was coming on, I tuned in, thinking it was the Lakers/Hornets game. Kobe limped around and grimaced for a bit. “Oh NO!” thought the world. What if he would be OUT? Geez. Well, within seconds, he was flying around that New Orleans home court like a bee was in his bonnet! He whizzed way up and down the planks. (Stage planks, to be sure!) I had recently commented to my best pal who is a fed judge that I think they cheat. She said they call it game strategy. I respect her opinion very much, but I still had to yell all kinds of epithets at the screen, and even on Easter night! I kept stopping myself and telling the cat I was sorry for the outbursts. I just don’t know about these injuries, these weathered bodies beaten by rain. It is hard to figure out what is real and not so real. Keith, I know you are real. As always, I love your last line. Everybody’s wallet gets a beating now! Thanks.

  3. Sam

    I was watching the Mets game and Ron and Gary were talking about how all the oblique injuries may be due to the use of creatine in the post-steroids era (I hope) as a way of building muscle mass. Funny how ballplayers will do anything to get an edge– even if it leads to injury. Personally, I don’t want to see a lot of Jamey Carroll-type players boring me to sleep but at the other extreme the Superman-type (aka Pujols-type) player is maybe something we fans should get over. With so many finely tuned athletes competing against each other and the game belonging to the young again, maybe we should just appreciate the one-season wonders and great team stories, as opposed to great player stories. Did you watch the MLB Network pieces on the offseason training rituals of King Felix, Doc Halladay and Adrian Gonzalez? I’m all for a great work ethic but I’d like to know it’s what they have in their heart and head that makes them winners and not just obsessive conditioning.

  4. George Koprowicz

    A hamstring pull can be a very debilitating injury. I know because I suffered one about a year and a half ago. The injury should self-heal in about a month – my last one lasted Two Months! A hampull can be so serious as to make it impossible to virtually enter even a car door, use steps and so on. Ambulation without a cane or some other aid is almost impossible.

    And a hampull can be an “insidious” injury, the afflicted individual may find themselves experiencing a “twinge” in their glute/s and write it off as a charley horse. Then it continues to escalate to the point where ambulation is almost impossible.

    Not only that – but the pain can be excruciating. If serious enough, the doctors may treat the pain with lidocaine injections (or stronger?), hot therapy and more therapy – I would guess. Here’s hoping that Albert Pujols’s hampull is not that serious! If he does have one – he could be out for a couple of months…ouch.

  5. tim

    i think i prefer the billy beene or marlins use of players in relation to money. don’t offer contracts into an age where they will not produce, and do not wrap up 30 percent of your payroll in one guy. never, ever sign more than 5 years. it is just smarter.

  6. Oscar

    The St. Louis Post-Dispatch printed salaries of the opening day roster back then. I thought $900,000 for his 3rd year was preposterously low, little did I know that was a high number.
    “On February 18, 2004, I broke the story of an event that was unprecedented in Major League Baseball. Albert Pujols agreed to terms on a seven-year, $100 million contract extension with the St. Louis Cardinals that would expand to $111 million if the eighth year option was picked up by the club.” said Brian Walton at http://thecardinalnationblog.com/2011/02/18/seven-years-ago-today-announcing-pujols%E2%80%99-new-contract/

  7. Salvatore Paradise

    Having returned to baseball after falling out of love with it during the Rhoids problem with Mark Mcgwire, the 60 minutes piece a couple of weeks ago on Albert brought the game back into a hopeful field of dreams where good guys work hard and win. I no longer fear Albert is juicing. His unpublicized hospital stops here in St. Louis and publicized meet ups with Haitian Earthquake survivors like Jean Patrick, the kid with the metal leg, are enough to make me feel like there is a hero in this game once again. I personally don’t think that Albert could be changed by an increase or decrease in his rate of pay. His fight each day is one of revenge. The draft is the ghost that Albert keeps chasing. Nothing will change that, not a serious or minor hamstring injury, not a potential financial shortfall, nothing short of an amputation of the heart would suffice. Babe Ruth has a challenger.

  8. cardsfan59

    Albert has not contributed much to the team so far and they are in first place. Albert is looking over his shoulder and if he wants the big payday he needs to get his head out of wherever it is and start producing. Frankly, I am beginning to feel he is more trouble than he is worth.

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