Baseball players as a whole may come across as bitter, jaded, and dissatisfied with the athletic prowess that they observe due to the sometimes brutal nature of the game they play.
But when it comes to the ever-expanding reputation of slugger Albert Pujols, teammates and other players convert into admirers almost immediately, and their adoration is downright honey sweet.
Dylan Carlson, an outfielder for the Cardinals who grew up idolising Albert Pujols, said he’ll one day tell his hypothetical children and grandchildren that the greatest right-handed hitter in history’s dressing room was six spots down from his own.
Juan Yepez, a rookie, is teased by his teammates for following Albert Pujols about like a lost puppy dog, but he doesn’t seem to mind.
Miles Mikolas is constantly in awe of Albert Pujols’ abilities, so it comes as a shock to him to learn that Pujols has been performing at this level since Mikolas was in elementary school.
Guys in the dugout are shivering, you know. After Pujols hit home runs Nos. 688 and 689 on Sunday in the Cardinals’ 6-3 victory over the rival Brewers at Busch Stadium, improving the team’s record to 1 1/2 games above the Brewers at the top of the NL Central, Mikolas said, “It’s such a special career, and to see him keep doing it, it’s incredible.
“That is the method for entering the Hall of Fame. Nothing is taken for granted by him. Even though this is his final season, he never stops trying to improve. His path to the Hall of Fame is not smooth. He will smash down that door and place a lovely plaque someplace inside.
The future Hall of Famer provided a reminder of his prime years on Sunday by recording the 63rd multi-home run game of his career, tying Willie Mays for fifth most all-time. He is 42 years old and in his 22nd and last season.
His lone home run in the second inning woke up the Cardinals’ offence, and his three-run homer in the eighth inning gave St. Louis the cushion it needed to win its first season series against Milwaukee.
The second home run was so magnificent, so Albert Pujols, that Brewers catcher Victor Caratini’s head dropped into his hands immediately upon contact, and seasoned left fielder Andrew McCutchen didn’t move as the Statcast-projected 443-foot blast soared high over his head and up into the Busch Stadium bleachers.
The great slugger doesn’t experience as many of those emotional moments, like the one that caused Pujols to imitate Superman’s shirt pull as he left the box and the 44,142 fans demanded a curtain call.
Pujols finds it at least a little odd that they are still occurring at all considering that it was his first two-homer game at Busch Stadium since June 4, 2011. Okay, Albert? Not a chance, he firmly asserted.
“No, this is what I expect of myself,” said Pujols, who tied Cardinal greats Stan Musial and Barry Bonds for third place all-time with his 21st career game with double digit home runs.
“I can still play this game, I assure you, and if I couldn’t, I wouldn’t still be here. Success is inevitable if you put in the necessary effort and have the Lord’s favour, and that’s how I feel right now.
Bienvenido Pujols, the father of Albert Pujols, looked up to Mays when the slick-fielding centre fielder was amassing 660 home runs, 24 All-Star Game appearances, and two NL MVP awards.
Pujols’ father would often remind him that if he did something like Mays did, he would have accomplished something remarkable. Although Pujols has stated numerous times this season that his statistical achievements are unimportant to him, the mere suggestion of him tying Mays with 63 multi-home run games caused a momentary surge of emotion to appear on his face.
It’s fantastic whenever you compare yourself to Willie Mays, according to Pujols. What he accomplished in this game is quite amazing.
But when I sit down and examine the figures, those are the things I’ll pay attention to. I’ll likely respond, “Wow, that’s quite fantastic,” at that point.