Near the end of 2006, a tempest boiled over in the local sports teapot when Albert Pujols
, in an interview with reporters in his native Dominican Republic, opined that maybe he, and not Ryan Howard, was entitled to that season's Most Valuable Player
award, by virtue of the fact that Pujols' St. Louis Cardinals reached the postseason that year and Howard's Philadelphia Phillies didn't.
Well, to paraphrase the great Yogi Berra, it seems like déjà vu all over again. In an interview aired on Dominican radio this past Wednesday, Pujols was asked about the status of negotiations for a contract extension with the Cardinals. He's not worried about it, Pujols responded, and "not desperate" to sign. He added: "I would like to end my career in St. Louis."
Two days later, when the story made headlines in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, it was as if "not desperate" was tantamount to "not interested":
Albert Pujols' comments surprise St. Louis Cardinals
reads the headline on a story by Joe Strauss that appeared in the October 16 edition of the Post.
Continuing a sense of sameness, Pujols is expected to earn a second consecutive and third overall Most Valuable Player award when results of balloting by the Baseball Writers Association of America are announced next month.
However, Pujols also enters the offseason after establishing clear differences, one of which has caught the organization and quite possibly an adoring fan base off guard.
General manager John Mozeliak on Thursday admitted "surprise" to Pujols' comments Wednesday in an interview with a Dominican radio station. Pujols told the station in his native country that he feels no urgency to enter talks regarding a possible contract extension the Cardinals hope would tie him to the franchise for the remainder of his career.
Further along in his story, Strauss raises the possibility of "an approaching chill with a franchise that signed [Pujols] to a seven-year, $100 million deal after the 2003 season...."
Is it just me, or did Strauss' Post story de-emphasize the part where Pujols says, "I would like to finish my career in St. Louis"?