This is a guest article by author James Ross. Readers know James Ross as an avid golfer, but golf is not his only love. He also likes Baseball. Oh, and he just happens to live in St Louis. But I am sure that that he has a well balanced view :) on the latest baseball development.

Here is what the denizens of the Prairie Winds Golf Club had to offer:

The weather in St. Louis was in the mid-forties which was balmy for the first week in December. But the temperature in the clubhouse was chilly. News that Albert Pujols had signed with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim was discerning.

Fred, Pork Chop, BT and Paul had been shooting the breeze as J Dub and Julie served the coffee and doughnuts. It was a morning no different than the others. Not much golf was going to be played. Then the news broke. Albert Pujols snubbed the St. Louis Cardinals and announced that he had reached an agreement with the Angels for 10 years and $254 million.

“I can’t believe that he left,” Fred complained.

“He was the heart and soul of the team,” BT replied.

“Maybe the best that we’ll ever see in a Cardinal uniform in my lifetime,” Julie said.

“I’ll never forget what he accomplished,” Pork Chop added. “He might be the best player ever in pro baseball.”

The group was in shock. The Cardinals had won the World Series six weeks before. Now their team leader jumped ship and changed teams.

The front door opened. Captain Jer, Doc and Trot sauntered into the room. “Whew!” Captain Jer yelled. “Did the Cardinals catch a break or what?” Two Bloody Mary’s added to his enthusiasm.

“Why do you say that?” Julie asked.

“Somebody else came in at the eleventh hour and took Pujols off their hands,” the retired pilot reasoned.

“I can’t think of why they would be happy about having him leave,” Pork Chop followed.

“Stop and think about it,” Captain Jer explained. “They got the best years out of his career.”

“That’s true. We’ve all enjoyed watching him play for a decade,” BT said. “It’s hard to imagine that he’ll be able to continue that pace for another ten years.”

“I wish he would have stayed though,” Julie moaned. “I wanted to keep watching.”

“But look at it from the team’s perspective,” Captain Jer continued. “They made a good faith effort to keep him. That saved face with a lot of their fan base. Plus they got to save two hundred million dollars that can be used in other places in their organization.”

“Don’t forget that they’re coming off a world championship too,” Trot added. “What better time to let him walk?”

“Wasn’t the difference only thirty million dollars over ten years?” J Dub asked. “The Cardinals were very gracious with their offer.”

“Let’s look at what he is giving up,” Captain Jer said. He was adamant about making his point to his pals.“The Cardinals made it clear that they wanted to make him a Cardinal for life. They made a great offer to keep him.”

“Now it won’t happen and he can forget about having his statue outside Busch Stadium,” Doc said.

“If it does stay who will clean the pigeon shit off it now anyway?” Captain Jer quipped.

“He won’t have his number retired by the organization either,” Trot said. “Albert won’t stand beside Gibson, Ozzie, Whitey and Stan the Man.”

“Think about it. When he goes into the Hall of Fame it will be as an Angel now,” Doc said.

“That almost sounds sacrilegious,” Julie added. “But I always heard that he was five years older than he said he was.”

“Can you prove that?” Paul asked.

“Well, no. But what if it is true? That means that he’s got that contract until he’s forty-six,” Julie answered.

BT laughed. “I know he’s a great player but there’s no way he can keep his hitting alive for that long.”

“Smart franchises get rid of a star player a year before he declines rather than a year later,” J Dub said. “Don’t worry about the Cardinals. Their pipeline of players in the minor leagues is fabulous. It was a good move for them.”

The guys were starting to come around. “I kind of feel like he lied to us all along,” Fred said. “For the last two years he said that it wasn’t about the money.”

“That turned out to be a lot of BS,” Pork Chop replied. “It was all about the extra dollar bills.”

“What about the television exposure?” Trot asked. “Most of the country is sleeping when the West Coast games come on.”

“But its Hollywood,” Pork Chop followed, “everything is glamorized.”

Paul offered a different thought. “Instead of riding around in a convertible on Opening Day and getting his World Series ring now he’ll get it delivered in an UPS box.”

“I hope he’s happy then,” Julie said, “but I don’t think that extra money can bring true happiness.” She filled the coffee cups. “All this time I thought that he was a Cardinal through-and-through.” She paused to reflect. “I guess in the long run he wasn’t after all.”

“You got it,” Captain Jer said as he raised his fist for her to tap. “The sooner they assign his number to a rookie, the better. He turned his back on his team.”

“A ton of major league players would love to play for the Cardinals. The fans are outstanding. Their tradition is unmatched in the National League, Doc said. “He won’t have any of that in LA.”

“Yep,” Julie replied, “I guess the little things that money can’t buy weren’t that important after all. It was all about the money, wasn’t it?”

Captain Jer agreed. “And a lot of times that comes back around and bites you in the ass.”

“If he gets injured or doesn’t put up the numbers that he’s supposed to, then the media will be all over him. His life could get miserable,” Doc said. “He lived a protective life in St. Louis.”

Julie chuckled. “Are you saying that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence?”

“You’ve got it. You better appreciate what you’ve got,” Trot replied.

“And all I have is about three bucks,” Fred said. “Who wants to play for it?”

The guys headed out the door to the first tee. “The heck with the millions,” Pork Chop replied. “I’ll bet you a hot dog at the turn. That’s all I can afford.”

You can find out more about James Ross from his web site and of course his books are available at better bookstores everywhere, or through Amazon at James Ross

Simon Barrett

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