Feb. 15, 2011
Albert Pujols isnt going to sign with the St. Louis Cardinals Wednesday, unless he sees that seven years isnt that much worse than 10. That means, no matter how much of a distraction he says it wont be, it will be.And why? Because players dont control all distractions, and neither do managers or general managers or even owners. Sometimes, and this is one of them, distractions seize upon circumstances and create themselves.In fact, the word distraction is a stupid choice of words anyway, and frankly should be banned from sports usage except in very narrow and specific circumstances, like I was putting for a birdie and a man ran naked across my line, I jerked my head up and put it into the water. Thats a distraction. Distractions are unexpected and not the fault of the distracted person. Everything else is a choice.What Pujols wants is peace and quiet, both around him and around the world, so he doesnt have to hear or see anyones opinion. He is, in a word, delusional.RELATED: St. Louis Cardinals headlines
People arent going to stop talking about Pujols this summer. Thats not the way the world works, and its never been the way it works. He may not answer questions about the subject of playing for his contract in 2011, but that doesnt mean they wont be asked, often and loudly.
In short, if he doesnt want the distraction, he should learn how to curl. If the Cardinals dont want the distraction, they should give him whatever he wants. Neither of these things will happen, so they should stop grinding on about distractions. Theyre part of the deal, so they should deal with them.Besides, distractions are nonsense, and complaining about them is utter nonsense. One of the duties of the modern athlete is dealing with distractions, because money and fame bring distractions with them. Any time players whine about distractions, the only phrase that comes into my head is, Okay then, quit. If you cant keep your head clear for four at-bats and nine innings in the field, youre not equipped for this level anyway.Now lets be clear here. There are distractions, and then there are distractions. Tiger Woods distracted himself. So did Ben Roethlisberger, and Michael Vick, and Albert Haynesworth, and you name it. To call some things distractions is to diminish their severity and try to neutralize them in the head of their creators. Its a coping mechanism for the guilty, and frankly not to the subject of this dissertation. Pujols distraction, the one he fights so hard not to have, is the question of how many millions he will receive over the next seven to 10 years. And no matter how much Tony La Russa spins the notion that the players union is pressing Pujols to stand firm, the opposite is true the Cardinals are squeezing him to accept their offer.And the media is everywhere.In short, Pujols is in charge of the level of his distraction level, and nobody else. Hes playing for megamoney now, and this part is as telling as any of the measurable metrics. He is one of the exemplary players of the generation, and this next contract is how he is keeping score on that front.cHe doesnt have to speak on the subject, ever. That is his choice. He can speak about it every day. That is his choice too. He can tell his agent to negotiate all year long and tell him when a firm deal has been hammered out. All his choice. The man is 31 years old here, not 12. He is the one in control of his environment, of his preparation, of his signature. This is not a distraction. This is financial planning, albeit on a monetary level normally linked to, well, Estonia.
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In other words, if Pujols doesnt want the distraction, he can sign whatever contract they offer. If the Cardinals dont want the distraction, they can give him whatever he wants.Or they could not worry or whine about distractions that really arent. This is big boy school, so how about everyone act like it?