Actions speak louder than words my friends. Remember that every time you are filled with rage at Albert Pujols. Now, let me begin. First, let me repeat. The Mang has left the building. This really happened folks. Albert Pujols is gone. Scroll the credits….
The Buffa Aftershock Notice
*Albert Pujols Rant, Round 2
“One man doesn’t make a team.”
Main Idea-Albert Pujols won’t instantly make Angels World Series contenders. He also won’t make the Cardinals turn into the Cavaliers after Lebron left. In short, we will live to win many games.
-Think of Terminator 2 tagline. “Nothing personal”. While Pujols slipped in judgement and lost a little integrity here, he can’t be hated for chasing the higher dollar. He didn’t take 275 million in Florida. He took 254 million in LA. What people can’t forget is what he did in St. Louis over 11 seasons. If he retired today, Albert Pujols is a first ballot hall of famer. The Cards got the best 11 years of his playing career. The Angels may(hypothetical nudge here) get the worse 10 years of his career. Pujols started his career here,won’t end it here but produced a 11 year run few athletes can match today without the help of performance enhancing drugs or a 250 million dollar payroll.
–This Cardinals team is very good without Albert Pujols. Their pitching staff is among the best in the league. Their lineup is still a force and the bullpen is young and talented with plenty of depth. Players will be held more accountable for their actions. Matt Holliday and David Freese each can’t miss a third of the season due to injuries. Lance Berkman needs to stay healthy. Holes must be plugged wisely. Players like Skip Schumacher, Daniel Descalso and Allen Craig are key because they can play multiple positions. Albert Pujols wasn’t the heart and soul of this team. He was a great player, a legend in fact, but only one man renting a spot in the King’s chair.
–I don’t fault John Mozelaik and the Cardinals front office for giving the negotiations their best shot. Clearly, Mo’s offer wasn’t even close to Angels GM Jerry Depote’s offering in LA. The Cardinals didn’t have the ATM rocket launcher. USA Today sports writer Bob Nightengale(one of the more reliable Winter Meeting sources) wrote that Mo hurriedly packed up his bags and left the hotel without his staff to catch a plane out of Dallas. That could have been to set up the press conference back home at 330pm, or maybe the Mighty Jew was stung by losing his guy. He has nothing to be ashamed of. Once again, Mozelaik is a smart businessman and was given the general manager post for a reason. He doesn’t get outfoxed too many times. He’s a good chess player in player talks. The Cards set a ceiling worth on Pujols and weren’t going to overextend past it. 10 years,while I supported it,is too long of a contract for a 31 year old player with bad legs and recurring injuries. The Cardinals have work to do now and plenty of time to do it. Mo and company need to think of this as a new beginning and a chance to create their own roster of players.
–I wish the best to Albert. I really honestly wish him well in the AL. I will follow him in LA and track his performance because I am interested to see if he can make his contract stick. I won’t be the shallow souls running out to shit on his statue outside in his restaurant in Westport. I will appreciate what he did here. His legacy in St. Louis is intact. I will wear his jersery proud to Cards game. Ask people this question. This is the classic case of love had and love lost. Ask people. Would you have rather had Pujols for only 11 years or never had him at all? Answers will surprise you and give you a true measure of a Cardinals fan. Ladies and gents, this is a business and not a morality play. If you want feelings and loyalty, watch Entourage. If you want cold hard brutal business ethics, stay tuned. The next 10 years will be fun for Albert Pujols and the St. Louis Cardinals. For Angels GM Jerry Depote, I am not so sure.
-The stories and reports are flying in like shrapnel in a firefight, but here is my particular favorite. Bernie Miklasz’ anger free session on the departure of Pujols. I found it to be direct, honest and closely reflecting my points a day later. It’s easy to take personal shots at Pujols than to form a complete opinion and think of it like an adult. The flames towards Albert represent resentment towards all sports athletes and their big contracts. We all thought Pujols was different and in the end he wasn’t and it burned us. That’s the basis of the hate around town today. We took that walk onto the short plank of belief in integrity and got burned when it broke yesterday morning. It was intriguing to see Post Dispatch writers Miklasz and Bryan Burwell spar and differ this morning in their articles. Writers are only as good as their consistency in opinion and ability to call a story how it is without any bias or carried over feelings. Here is Miklasz’s article and a few excerpts I pulled from it.
Miklasz on Pujols’ departure-
“I’m genuinely saddened by Pujols’ departure because I wanted to believe that he’d be different, that he would stay, that he would fully appreciate what he had here. Cardinals fans and Pujols simply adored each other for the last 11 years.”
“I sincerely wanted to trust Pujols when he offered this testimony during a 2009 interview: “Do I want to be in St. Louis forever? Of course. People from other teams want to play in St. Louis, and they’re jealous that we’re in St. Louis because the fans are unbelievable. So why would you want to leave a place like St. Louis to go somewhere else and make $3 million or $4 more million a year? It’s not about the money. I already got my money. It’s about winning, and that’s it.”
“Financially, Pujols is a winner. I think he’s lost something special, the chance to retire as the second-greatest Cardinal of all time, just behind Stan Musial and slightly ahead of Bob Gibson.”
“I’ll say it again: This franchise doesn’t have to be ashamed of that offer. It wasn’t the best, but it was generous. The Cardinals’ offer was also insane. Pujols will be 32 next month. His numbers are slipping. He has a partially torn ligament in his right (throwing) elbow. He limps on wheels that feel the strain of carrying an increasingly thicker body.”
‘The Angels are in better position to absorb the cost of paying Pujols for the inevitable downturn. The Angels already generate more cash than the Cardinals, have a higher payroll than St. Louis and are negotiating a new local TV contract that will lead to a huge spike in revenue.”
“The Cardinals and their fans were privileged to get the best of Pujols. It truly was an honor. And now the Cardinals and their fans don’t have to worry about paying for the worst of Pujols.”
*Fielder is intriguing but not worth the years and fighting with Boras. If Mo thought Lozano was a tough bitch to talk to, imagine his Round 2(first being Holliday) with The Shark. I will kindly take a pass on Fielder. He is the hot woman you glance at twice walking through a mall. She is hot but you know she is bad for you long term. Interesting but no thanks. Maybe a game of “just the tip”. Anyway.
*Alex Gonzalez signed with the Brewers so we will see plenty of him. Dotel broke down and went to Detroit, but we have plenty of righties in the pen. I’d shoot Kyle McClellan in the fucking head first.
*Hanley Rameriz, you little hairy mexican chicago bitch, was an interesting thought until I remembered Jeffrey Loria would peel the paint off Busch Stadium’s walls to give him to us. Shelby Miller would be involved and I say no thanks. He is a head case with tons of talent but not worth a 2 year joy ride for a potential career of pitching.
*I say go for Placido Polanco because he is a fucking hit machine. He can play second base. I would offer a one year offer to Rafael Furcal because of his defense and pop in his bat. This team can use some veteran blood. Also put out a flier to Ryan Ludwick. He can help Allen Craig in right field and Jay in center and offers a strong defensive presence. I have had fun correcting fucknuts all week about the fact that unless we can sell Lohse or Westbrook away, our rotation is set for 2012. After the season, that 20 million comes off the books. That is when this team will go first baseman hunting. I can’t see Berkman lasting past this season.
Wainwright’s return solves any issue in the rotation. If all goes well, here is the projected win totals of the rotation.
Estimations and nothing else.
*Jimmy Rollins is a solid shortstop defensively and has some pop offensively but in order to outbid the Phillies, you will have to overpay in dollars and years so no thanks. If we can get Rollins on a short term 2-3 year deal, I would go for it. He is an excellent team leader.
*Carlos Beltran isn’t worth the dollars and years to risk against predictable injury. Beltran is a great talent that is as brittle as glass the past 4 years. Remember the guy who punished the Cardinals in an Astros uniform and Mets uniform from 2004-2006? That man is gone, diminished and buried. Beltran is a liability unless he wants a 2 year deal. Dan Lozano, Pujols’ agent, represents both these dudes. He’ll go big after sucking 254 million from SoCal for Alberto.
*Ludwick, Polanco, Skip, Renteria and possibly a guy like Michael Cuddyer are intriguing options. If Berkman goes back to right field, Mozelaik can sign Casey Kotchman, an excellent first basemen and .300 hitter, to play first base. There are tons of possibilities.
*Here is one thing I have discovered. Could the departure of Pujols make things easier on Mike Matheny in his first year as a manager? Alberto was a clubhouse giant and presence who sucked up most of the attention on a team with great players and personalities. This wasn’t a bad thing because every team needs a true leader. However, with Albert gone, Matheny gets more control to take hold of his team and can appoint his own lieutanants. Think about it. This Cards team will look extremely different in 2012. No La Russa stalking the dugout steps and no Pujols at first base. Scary, cool and surreal because for the last 11-16 years, those two spots have been taken by legends of the game. Now they could be filled by a manager with zero experience who can’t handle knives and a former Cardinal Killer moving to the infield. Weird all around but..I like it.
Moving on to other subjects before I wrap it up. Quick blog fashion being enforced today.
Spagnuolo-A nice guy with a good heart but he has to go. 10-35 record doesn’t speak promise. It’s a finality. Think of it as a classroom of kids failing to make the grade for their teacher. Something needs to change and the coach goes first. Look at Hitchcock and the Blues. A new skipper. Someone tougher than Spags who doesn’t look at them as wounded family members.
Blues-Its hard to argue with a 10-2-3 record in the past month and a half but beating Boudreau’s Ducks Thursday night was another big win. In a playoff heavy division, every win counts. T.J. Oshie continues to raise his game to a whole new level and it has been compiled of health and go for broke madness on the ice. In a season where Andy Mcdonald is out, David Perron is coming back after a 97 game absence, Patrik Berglund is stuck in another mixed bag of a season and Chris Stewart can find the third line faster than the net, Oshie is pushing this young ship in the right direction. Since the last few games of Payne’s tenure and in the 15 games of Hitchcock’s time, Oshie is leading the team in points. He scored a goal last night on a nifty wrist shot and netted an empty netter to finish it off but for the past 5 games the kid is unleashing the energy on every shift. In other news, Halak made some huge saves last night, stopping the ageless Teemu Selanne twice in a 1 goal game and has his GAA back to 2.44. The play of Brian Elliot and Halak has this team where they are right now. Before the season started, I said this team depended on good goaltending. 2.5 months later, we are high up in the Western Conference thanks to the stoppers and a new found energy discovered after the 3rd coaching change in the past 5 seasons.
Side Note-24/7 Flyers-Rangers starts this week on HBO. A thrilling HBO series that chronicles the two teams before their Winter Classic battle on New Year’s day. A bloody boiling rivalry between two East coast power ships culuminates on cable TV first. As it does with their boxing series, 24/7 takes viewers inside the players homes and heads. Clubhouse footage, practice footage and interviews are all part of the process. Bruce “Fucking” Boudreau rose to his legend here. That’s where I discovered the guy. Who comes out of this edition a new legend?
The Descendants is a powerful film about tough love, decisions and finding a healing element through tragedy. This is also Clooney’s best work since Syriana. Oscar caliber performance. He makes it look easy and painful at the same time, playing a man coming to terms with his marriage and trying to decide on a life changing land deal. This movie reminds you of the important things in life that long go forgotten. Clooney is Max King, a regular guy with a wife and two kids who seems to be slowly losing his mind. He lives in Hawaii, has a law practice, and seems to be floating through life when his wife goes into a coma after a water skiing accident. When he brings his oldest daughter back home for help with the younger girl(he is a “backup parent” being thrusted into a lead role), he finds out his wife was having an affair. To go with that mental torture, King owns a large piece of land enshrined through his family heritage and will that members of his family are wanting to sale for cash. All in a matter of a week Max has to deal with this. The situation sets King and his girls on a journey of self discovery and re-connection. There are surprises along the way and once again, director Alexander Payne(Election, Sideways) makes an offbeat drama with dark humor undertones slowly stab itself into your soul. It starts with the acting, especially Clooney, going through a range of emotions that starts with panicked and shocked and flows into free will and quiet rage. Clooney is a very underrated actor. A movie star who has quietly been building a resume of juicy roles in Syriana(won an oscar), Goodnight and Good Luck(also wrote and directed, oscar nominated), Michael Clayton, Confessions of A Dangerous mind(also wrote and directed), Out of Sight, Up in the Air and O’ Brother Where Art Thou. Clooney is a ticking time bomb here as King, pressured by his daughters to find the cheater and trying to make a decision on his family land. Think about throwing a butter square into a pan and slowly watching it burn up. That’s Clooney in this role. You wish to doubt him at first but by his final scene in a hospital room, he peels back your criticism layer by layer before it shatters in one exchange. You don’t expect Clooney to blow you away here, but he does.
The Random Bits Roll into Play Here as I throw the Black Keys new album, El Camino into the player. Keep moving with me…
*Two other things about Pujols’ departure that stings. The fact that my son Vincent won’t get to watch him play for the Cardinals in person. I looked forward to taking my son to see the player who did everything. That won’t happen. Also, Pujols won’t get to break records as a member of the Cardinals. The juicy records. He will get 3,000 and maybe 4,000 hits. He will chase 500 and maybe even 600 home runs, especially since he is in the American League park track now. He will set records, break them and accomplish historical goals in an Angels uniform. Small things I will miss being a part of. That’s why we have 2 World Series DVD’s at home for. Memories never die.
*Dexter had faltered this season before a late twist in the season narrative and plot. The first time in the 5 plus seasons that the good guy killer seemed to be losing a little speed on its fastball. Television shows start to pick up a shovel when they retread and recycle old plot devices. Dexter finds people to kill, hides his identity from his family and friends, talks to his dead dad, realizes there is one very BAD killer out there and destroys him narrowly with collateral damage possible. That’s the scroll of every season and while it’s wonderfully juicy and interesting, this latest season has hit a snag…until a twist kicked in late and now the season may(big if there) recover. A season with strong co-stars is dragging slightly but may recover and is supposed to set up the final two seasons as well. There is one central theme here. Will Dexter’s identity come full circle and what happens then? The intrigue plays out and Michael C. Hall remains the main reason to watch this show. His mixture of rage, guilt and cold blooded ability to erase souls is award worthy.
*The Black Keys new album is simply awesome. 2 times through and there is another batch of blues rock greatness that requires a few listens to fully appreciate. This is a band that works for its dollars, stays under the radar and only makes trailer reels and commercials months after their album reached earth. Appreciate what Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney produce here. After listening to El Camino, I went after one of their old creations, Magic Potion, because I can’t get enough here. The mixture of wicked electric blues guitar, road weary lyrics and overall production here with Danger Mouse is something to cherish if you love good old school rock.
Key Tracks to Listen to-
Gold on the Ceiling-(the rhythm work here is quite brilliant, real effect of Danger Mouse’s production is felt here, something extra)
Little Black Submarines-(Wait for the explosion at the 2 minute mark…acoustic into electric…)
“Voices calling me/they get lost/in and out of time/I should of seen the glow/but everybody know/that a broken heart is blind”
*Daniel Radcliffe is the Entertainer of the Year. Look I am not Potterhead so I don’t like the series that much but now that the time has come and I can stop seeing the kids hog the cover of magazines everytime a reader farts Potter out into the masses is a good time. Soon enough, the Twilight bitches will also be finished and we can get real entertainment cover stories back and not a franchise sucking the creative air out of the room. No offense to little Danny, but fuck off please. And yes I’ve watched 3 of the films, which equal out to 7.5 hours of my life that I could have back.
*Michael Fassbender playing a sex addict in SHAME is something to watch because you have to be a great actor to convince me being a sex addict is a tortured state of living. Fassbender is the actor of the moment and for great reason. He stunned in his portrayal of a young Magneto in X Men First Class and also carried a small role in the wildly confident Inglorious Basterds. Here he plays the inside out rager who can’t seem to quench his sexual hunger. Is that enough to see a film about a New Yorker gone mad? Yes sir. This is called spin a concept around in circles and throw a game actor into the middle of the madness.
*Sam Bradford has every reason to want to find the football field on Monday night against the Seahawks. His desire is the one strength he can count on in a misguided bad season. Bradford has regressed and extinguished plenty of the elite QB talk built up from last year’s arrival onto the scene. The kid can use a great National spotlight night against a division rival led by Taveris “Im Joe Montana against the Rams” Jackson. Bradford needs to step up and shine or die a thousand deaths into the offseason. He is safe but he can make Spags look good for once.
*Memo to Spags. Unleash the offense. Let Josh McDaniels do whatever he likes. At this shallow point, 2-10 and doormat shitty, let it all go!
*Something about Luck intrigues the shit out of me. The Michael Mann/David Milch production, the teaming of Dustin Hoffman and Nick Nolte, and the excellently gritty looking production about a horse race bookie in Hoffman coming out of prison and getting back into the action. This series premieres in January, which is called the feeler phase for cable television.
*Do yourself a favor and buy the first season of Justified at Best Buy right now for a low price. This modern gunslinger western cool series will hook you within an hour. Timothy Olyphant’s Raylan Givens will reenforce the idea of a man crush and hard worn lawman. This series is so damn good HBO has to be drooling after missing out on this one. Any show that can survive without the R rated brutality seen on HBO and Showtime and tell a compelling violent story is a diamond in the massive rough.
*Being a father is an everyday pleasure. Every time I get to hold the kid and spend even a half hour holding him or feeding him, the joy rushes in quick. The early days are tiring yet highly rewarding, especially when the kid starts to light up the face and becomes a looker. Vincent is a special kid and I am lucky to be his dad. If you love kids and want to go on the ride of a lifetime, physically and mentally, have a kid. Do it. Be ready for what it entails, but don’t be afraid to explore the right to create.
That’s it. I’m done. Walked into the land of open worded explanation and did my part again. The mind is free to explore. Enjoy the result.