Dan and I met in 2008. Not too long after that, knowing Dan was a huge St. Louis Cardinals fan, I bought Dan an “Albert Pujols” jersey. Official St. Louis Cardinal jerseys are very expensive. However, Dan loved the Cardinals, and I loved Dan. Plus, we all thought Albert would spend his whole career with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Turns out we were wrong. Albert played his last game with the Cardinals in 2011. He moved on to the Angels in 2012 where he signed a 10 year $140 million deal. Everybody in St. Louis was mad at Albert. He’s all about the money, everyone said.
Everybody in St. Louis, and I mean just about everybody, had an Albert Pujols jersey. I thought of starting up a little craft business where I turned his number “5” on the jersey into a dollar sign. People could wear them as an expression of their dislike of Albert’s leaving.
But I didn’t do that.
Dan was mad, too. He put his Albert Pujols jersey on the “give away” pile. That kind of hurt me. I spent so much on that jersey. I took the jersey off the “give away” pile and put it in the back bedroom closet. Then I forgot about it for ten years.
The next year, in 2012, I bought Dan a David Freese shirt. It wasn’t a jersey, but rather a shirt with “Freese” on the back. Still, it cost more than I would usually spend on a shirt. But this was for Dan, and after all, David was a home town hero. He’d be with the Cardinals for a long time.
Then in 2013, the very next year, the Cardinals traded David. Dan put the shirt in the “give away” pile. This time, I let it go. But I thought. This has got to stop.
The next birthday or Christmas (I can’t remember which one), I asked Dan, “Who is your favorite Cardinal player of all time?”
Here’s his answer:
But lo and behold, things changed again!
Albert’s back, baby!
Are we still mad? Some people are; some have gotten over it. I’m not sure Albert’s leaving was so much about money as perhaps ego. Why is it so often some superstar wants more money or else he or she is leaving? They don’t need the money, right?
In any case, Albert’s a good guy. He does a lot, and I mean A LOT of charity work. I, for one, can look past any human failings we other humans think we perceive. After all, I’d like others to do the same for me.
This will be a great year for us Cardinal fans. It’s the last year where Adam Wainwright, Yadiar Molina, and Albert Pujols will be wearing the Birds on the Bat.
And Dan will be wearing his Albert Pujols jersey once again.