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Monday, September 26, 2022

Pujols lets emotions flow after joining 700 Home Run Club

After Albert Pujols further solidified his baseball greatness by bashing two long balls into the Southern California night—vaulting him into the exclusive 700 Home Run Club—he high-fived close friend Adrian Beltré, celebrated with his Cardinals teammates, then retreated to a tunnel where the superstar allowed his emotions to pour from his every pore.

In that tunnel, just steps away from the Cardinals dugout, the serious-minded slugger, who spoke often this season about wishing he had been able to enjoy this Hall of Fame-bound journey more, finally dropped his guard and surrendered to his feelings. The calm and cool shown on the field morphed into a calamity of emotions down below the dugout. Pujols, seemingly overwhelmed by the magnitude of the moment, squatted and bawled.

“I didn’t control them,” Pujols said of his emotions after the game as he was surrounded by his family. “If you see the video of the homer, I went down into the tunnel and that’s when I let my emotions out.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 26, 2022 at 12:22 AM | 32 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: albert pujols

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   1. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: September 26, 2022 at 08:43 AM (#6097932)
Will Pujols return in '23 and try to pass the Babe...?
   2. My name is Votto, and I love to get Moppo Posted: September 26, 2022 at 10:45 AM (#6097940)
Yeah, his contract expires, not sure if Pujols has changed his stance about retirement.

I really enjoyed this ESPN article about memories of Pujols. A-Rod's is awesome, and Mike Hampton's is really funny.
https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/34599090/trout-mcgwire-arod-more-reflect-pujols-700-home-runs
   3. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: September 26, 2022 at 12:16 PM (#6097948)
It's an awesome ending to his career, assuming this is the end. It is built largely off of his performance against lefties:

vs RHP: 204 PAs, .207/.294/.380, including 8 HRs
vs LHP: 129 PAs, .354/.403/.752, including 13 HRs (!)

If he wanted to play next year in a similar role, somebody would sign up for that.

I suspect that 40 years ago, a guy like this would be even more valuable, because if you were facing a left-handed starting pitcher, the chances were very good Pujols would get at least three PAs against him, before the bullpen got involved. Now, it seems like he'd get to PAs against the starter, then he'd probably be looking at righties the rest of the game - where he clearly has not been effective this year.

Regardless, if you thought that after the last 10 years of his career, that Pujols would have an age-42 season where he got about 350 PAs, and actually increased his career OPS+ of 144 by another point, then you are a clairvoyant! It's his best OPS+ in a season since his final year in St. Louis in 2011.
   4. You can keep your massive haul Posted: September 26, 2022 at 12:44 PM (#6097955)
It's his best OPS+ in a season since his final year in St. Louis in 2011.


Would he have hit 800 if he never left St. Louis?
   5. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 26, 2022 at 01:16 PM (#6097957)
Such a strange end to his career. Without the mega-contract, he probably is out of baseball 3 or 4 years ago. Now he pulls a rabbit from the hat.
   6. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: September 26, 2022 at 01:29 PM (#6097958)
In terms of his career counting stats, Pujols is one guy who definitely is wringing out all he's got. He was durable for most of his career, and because of his contract, he was going to get more chances to hit bombs than anybody else would in the same circumstance - even as his rate stats became below-average.

And then, at the point where his contract didn't stop the Angels from finally letting him go, he got enough of a bounce to be useful to the Dodgers and (definitely) the Cardinals.

I mean, from 2013-2021 - basically everything in LA after his first season there - he's got 4600 PAs of league-average hitting, allowing him to accumulate another 1000+ hits and 200+ HRs, while his career OPS+ dropped from 169 to 144. In that entire nine-year period, he produced a total of 8.2 WAR. From 2016-2021, he produced a total of -0.3 WAR.

Regardless, watching him play in St. Louis this year has been an exercise in joy. Fans that love Pujols. A player who loves the fans. Expectations wildly exceeded. A team going to the playoffs with a chance to send him and Molina off as winners. A truly momentous baseball milestone reached. It has been one of the highlights of the season to watch Pujols conjure up the greatness one more time.
   7. BDC Posted: September 26, 2022 at 01:46 PM (#6097959)
Pujols needs only seven RBI to pass Babe Ruth for second on that career list – well, he's got a week to go :)

It's kind of a shame that RBI aren't of much interest anymore. They used to be fun.
   8. The Duke Posted: September 26, 2022 at 01:55 PM (#6097960)
4. The angels were the best place for Pujols to land. He needed to play for a terrible AL team to get so many at bats the last five years of his contract. He never would have accumulated those kind of at bats for an NL team, let alone the Cardinals who are always in contention.

I can't think of a consistently worse AL team which at the same time always thought they might compete. It was the perfect landing spot for him in retrospect. He was motivated to help them win and once out of contention there was no reason to bench him.

In the alternate universe of signing with Cards he would have retired or DFA'd long ago.
   9. My name is Votto, and I love to get Moppo Posted: September 26, 2022 at 02:07 PM (#6097961)
It is a shame that his average is now notably below .300, but he'll be top 3 all-time in HR, RBI, and total bases. Pretty damn good.

We've been blessed with right-handed hitters this century (Trout, Miggy, Manny, ARod) and Albert is at the top of the list.
   10. Astroenteritis Posted: September 26, 2022 at 02:16 PM (#6097962)
It's kind of a shame that RBI aren't of much interest anymore. They used to be fun.


I still find RBI to be fun. Yeah, it's only for fun, but that's OK.
   11. My name is Votto, and I love to get Moppo Posted: September 26, 2022 at 02:29 PM (#6097964)
I agree. Situational or not, it's still pretty rad when somebody drives in 120.
   12. Nasty Nate Posted: September 26, 2022 at 02:43 PM (#6097965)
Speaking of RBI, Mike Trout has a chance to have the fewest in a season with 40 HR. He's at 37 and 77 and the Angels have 9 games left.
   13. Lassus Posted: September 26, 2022 at 02:47 PM (#6097966)
A team going to the playoffs with a chance to send him and Molina off as winners.

I would prefer him going out on a called K on PH Molina to end a game 7 loss, but that's just me.
   14. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 26, 2022 at 02:54 PM (#6097969)
I would prefer him going out on a called K on PH Molina to end a game 7 loss, but that's just me.
One would think a slowly turned double play would be more appealing to the spiteful.
   15. Walt Davis Posted: September 26, 2022 at 02:57 PM (#6097971)
The old stats still resonate ... in all the "ain't it great/amazing" posts above, I don't think anybody has mentioned that he's gotten his career bWAR back over 100 this season.

In the un-exciting stats category, he's 6th all-time in PAs. He'd have to come back next year to pass Cobb and have to repeat this year to pass Rickey. It would take a miracle to catch Buckner and crack the top 50 for singles (he needs 17). He's tied for 3rd all-time in SFs (not sure when they started counting these), 4 behind Ripken and 5 behind Murray. Alas he is #1 in GDP by a mile ... Miggy is #2.
   16. The Duke Posted: September 26, 2022 at 04:01 PM (#6097981)
His bWAR will stay above 100 until someone makes a technical adjustment on fielding or base running or something esoteric and he'll disappear below 100 just like that.

I have to assume that there are plenty of adj that fWAR and bWAR will undergo periodically. There even used to be adjustments to counting stats when someone would find a box score recording error from time to time
   17. cardsfanboy Posted: September 26, 2022 at 06:30 PM (#6097992)
His bWAR will stay above 100 until someone makes a technical adjustment on fielding or base running or something esoteric and he'll disappear below 100 just like that.

I have to assume that there are plenty of adj that fWAR and bWAR will undergo periodically. There even used to be adjustments to counting stats when someone would find a box score recording error from time to time


Park factors adjustments is also not finalized yet, even without any other adjustments to the formula. (at least as much as I can recall) basically his numbers can still change in the next two years even if he doesn't play an inning.
   18. Lassus Posted: September 26, 2022 at 06:44 PM (#6097997)
One would think a slowly turned double play would be more appealing to the spiteful.

It lacks the proper historical comeuppance I require. I left out against which team, which seemed obvious.
   19. ReggieThomasLives Posted: September 26, 2022 at 06:50 PM (#6097999)
I’m amazed at how many people in other sites are posting that Albert is only hitting 700 because clearly he started juicing this season.

A 21 home run season is always a dead giveaway.
   20. Booey Posted: September 26, 2022 at 09:17 PM (#6098016)
#19 - Pujols juicing now would make no sense. Is it worth risking the Hall of Fame and a reputation you spent 22 seasons building just to jump from 5th to 4th on the all time homer list?

As cool as it is to see Albert turn back the clock for a bit and give himself a fitting send off, the last few months are just a hot streak, not a true revival or evidence of PED's. If he came back next year, I'd fully expect him to start hitting like a 43(+) year old again.
   21. Walt Davis Posted: September 26, 2022 at 10:07 PM (#6098021)
Park factors adjustments is also not finalized yet, even without any other adjustments to the formula. (at least as much as I can recall) basically his numbers can still change in the next two years even if he doesn't play an inning.

Yeah but PF adjustments to 2021-22 aren't gonna drop him by more than a win.
   22. cardsfanboy Posted: September 27, 2022 at 12:52 AM (#6098036)
I’m amazed at how many people in other sites are posting that Albert is only hitting 700 because clearly he started juicing this season.

A 21 home run season is always a dead giveaway.


And

#19 - Pujols juicing now would make no sense. Is it worth risking the Hall of Fame and a reputation you spent 22 seasons building just to jump from 5th to 4th on the all time homer list?


Exactly, why would he juice now? He's gone from playing 150+ games a season, to having a season where he's getting plenty of rest, he's being heavily platooned, and being pulled or having rested starts etc. As the Sam Elliot meme points out, you have to be a special kind of stupid to think that.
   23. cardsfanboy Posted: September 27, 2022 at 01:03 AM (#6098038)
My facebook has a meme..

"When Albert Pujols hit his first homerun, Tom Brady had zero career starts and 6 passing yards."
   24. Ithaca2323 Posted: September 27, 2022 at 09:40 AM (#6098049)
Will Pujols return in '23 and try to pass the Babe...?


Maybe, but if he does return, I think the RBI record — over the course of two years — could hold more sway.

1. It's an all-time record. As much as passing Ruth has cachet, being at the top of a leaderboard probably has more.
2. It's a lot easier for potential teams to engineer RBI opportunities for Pujols if they choose. He can start against lefties, but PH in late game situations where an RBI might be available with a sac fly, or ground out.

Again, this sort of assumes both parties are interested. Maybe Pujols hasn't changed his mind. But if he has, there's probably a team out there willing to give him the PAs as a platoon bat/ticket seller
   25. Lassus Posted: September 27, 2022 at 10:13 AM (#6098052)
I HOPE he doesn't change his mind, but I'd be unsurprised if he does.


I’m amazed at how many people in other sites are posting that Albert is only hitting 700 because clearly he started juicing this season.

I'm not. People love hot nihilistic takes.
   26. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: September 27, 2022 at 11:01 AM (#6098058)

I still think RBIs are pretty cool. Pete Alonso set the Mets single-season RBI record the other night, passing Wright and Piazza -- that got some attention on the broadcast and in the press here.
   27. cardsfanboy Posted: September 27, 2022 at 12:28 PM (#6098066)
Rbi are cool, as long as they aren't being used as a top reason to explain how good a player is. The backlash in the stat community on the rbi was because writers were using it as a defining characteristic of the quality of a player, and not a product of opportunity combined with being good. There was a reason why RBI was one of the last official stat to be incorporated in baseball, and that is because it was perceived as a weak stat. (and one of the original baseball stat guys REALLY hated the stat)
   28. Booey Posted: September 27, 2022 at 12:43 PM (#6098068)
RBI's are fun. Batting average is fun. Pitcher wins are fun. Knowing that they're not as indicative of player value as we used to think doesn't make them any less fun to track. I still root for 20 win seasons, .300 batting averages, and high rbi totals.

Sometimes members of the stat community forget that the main point of sports is simply entertainment.
   29. The Duke Posted: September 27, 2022 at 01:30 PM (#6098075)
Pujols ought to sign for $2-3 million plus a percentage of the gate and then chase 714. He'd be able to give a ton of money to his charity if he did that. I don't know what attendance has been in places where Pujols isn't playing vs the stadiums where he is, but it has to be a lot recently. Arguably 714 is an even bigger milestone than 700.

On the other hand finishing at 700 seems a nice way to retire and I think he also wants to go into HOF with Yadi. His presence with Yadi ought to buy Yadi some votes.
   30. greenback needs a ride, not ammo Posted: September 27, 2022 at 02:25 PM (#6098081)
I'm not. People love hot nihilistic takes.

Yes, that's the best explanation for this discussion. I guess I can see an argument where he didn't want to blow a $250 million contract on a positive test, and now he's free to cheat. But if he really is that pathological about winning, then the most obvious step would have been losing about 30 pounds. As things stand, that extra weight on those feet sounds like a recipe for misery.
   31. Walt Davis Posted: September 27, 2022 at 02:44 PM (#6098084)
I don't want to say "in fairness" because who wants to be fair to these anti-Albert nincompoops but it is true that Cano had no reason to use, especially no reason to use after getting caught the first time. ARod had no reason to still be using; Manny had no reason to keep using. Once his contract was signed, Tatis had no reason. It's clear that, for some players at least, they'd rather do what they think they need to do be their best (maybe THE best) even if it means risking millions and their reputation, even a spot in the HoF. Or, probably more likely, like most cheats/criminals, they just think they're not gonna get caught so there's no need to rationally weigh risks and benefits. And in the case of ARod and Braun at least, they probably did get away with it for years. Could be over-competitiveness, could be ego, could be getting caught by a new test.

Granted, Albert has a much more exalted place in the game than those guys due to being better than all of them except ARod but nobody liked ARod.

But did nobody notice that the ESPN KayRod thing had ARod, Bonds and Clemens on? Seems not that long ago, we'd have had a moralizing article from every sportswriter in the county this morning.
   32. Karl from NY Posted: September 27, 2022 at 03:22 PM (#6098094)
Pujols ought to sign for $2-3 million plus a percentage of the gate and then chase 714.

This sounds like a fun reason for Pujols to get to 713 and stay there for a while.

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