“The Machine” Albert Pujols mentioned previous to the beginning of the season that 2022 could be his last season in MLB. Pujols is a three-time MVP, former Rookie of the 12 months, two-time World Sequence Champion, and is fifth on MLB’s all-time house run leaderboard with 683. He’s a sure-fire first-ballot Corridor of Famer, and barring just a few baseball elitists with ballots of their arms, must be the second-ever participant to be unanimously despatched to Cooperstown. Pujols saved his arms clear all through each MLB scandal and deserves nothing lower than the utmost respect from the baseball world. So, why hasn’t he been given the identical respect that Derek Jeter and David Ortiz obtained throughout their last seasons?
Just a few days in the past, Padres’ third baseman Manny Machado introduced this level to consideration. Regardless of Pujols being arguably the perfect participant of his technology, MLB is treating his last season like simply one other go-round for all 30 groups.
That wasn’t the case for individuals like Jeter and Ortiz although. Jeter obtained his personal line of commercials with Jordan and Gatorade. That’s miles and miles greater than something Pujols has obtained. In the meantime, Ortiz obtained a sequence of tribute movies throughout his last appearances at virtually each ballpark. To this point, Pujols has obtained a pair good tweets and video tributes from the Tampa Bay Rays, San Francisco Giants, and New York Mets, and that Rays’ tribute got here after Machado’s feedback. Why so little?
Is it his private relationship drama? I imply, leaving his spouse just some days after she undergoes mind surgical procedure isn’t a great look, however that has been all however forgotten by baseball followers. To not point out, Jeter’s love life wasn’t precisely the cleanest both. He began relationship Mariah Carey when she was nonetheless married, and it was reported that Jeter would go away signed memorabilia for his sexual companions after they spent the night time collectively.
May or not it’s that Pujols hasn’t been the identical participant he was in his youth for almost a decade now? That’s a greater motive, nevertheless it doesn’t change the affect he had on the sport between 2001 and 2014. The primary 14 years of his profession had been a number of the biggest in MLB historical past. There have been respectable ramblings that Pujols might need been on monitor to be the best hitter of all-time. Yeah, that greatness fell off drastically when he obtained into his late 30s, however a 14-year prime is nothing to scoff at.
What makes the dearth of fanfare even worse is that Pujols isn’t retiring by himself. He’ll be retiring alongside longtime Cardinals’ catcher Yadier Molina. Collectively, the pair fashioned some of the formidable 2-3 pairs in baseball. Though Molina was by no means the offensive powerhouse that Pujols was, he has remained arguably extra related than Pujols for his defensive capabilities. Collectively, these two received a pair of championships and are a number of the biggest gamers ever at their respective positions, but neither is getting the popularity they deserve.
Props to Machado for calling out this hypocrisy. I perceive that Jeter could have been extra impactful on the outreach baseball had within the ’90s and ’00s — most likely as a result of he was in New York and dated celebrities — however other than World Sequence titles, his accolades pale compared to what Pujols has been capable of accomplish. Give The Machine his due!