Despite multiple headlines misleading many St. Louisans to think otherwise, unfortunately, beloved former Cardinals player Albert Pujols will not be coming back to join the St. Louis Cardinals.
Instead, he was back for the weekend to play against the Cardinals for the Los Angeles Angels. The Cards don’t usually get to play the Angels, and when they have, these game have been away, so it was important that he was back at Busch Stadium for a change.
In addition to the hype of fan’s excitement, Yadier Molina’s brothers were also in town. Yadi and Pujols were so excited to see each other that they even exchanged jerseys at the end of the series. Being a huge supporter of the former Cardinal back in his days in St. Louis, I was happy to see him reunited at home with his old team.
Pujol’s journey back to St. Louis ultimately led the Angels to a 6-4 win over the Cardinals on Sunday, leaving fans and old teammates emotional — myself included.
“He taught me a lot of things on the field and off the field and I’m glad to be his little brother,” Yadier Molina told KSDK news about Albert Pujols.
Pujols and Molina won the 2011 World Series together, and became legends in St. Louis. This was the first time Pujols played in St. Louis since leaving in free agency eight years ago.
Pujols received standing ovations before each plate appearance throughout the weekend, showing that St. Louis still loves the former Cardinal, regardless of his departure.
“We’ve been waiting for many years, and I’m glad he’s finally here,” Molina said to KSDK. “I know I’m going to take a really good time walking to the mound. It’s going to be the loudest five minutes they’ve ever heard.”
Pujols told the Chicago Tribune that being back with his long-time friend, exchanging gifts and playing at home was one of the best moments in his career.
“That’s something we felt from our hearts that we should do,” Pujols said. “It’s something that’s going to be in my trophy case. To see the man that he has become, the leader, the champion. I can close my eyes right now and remember him, this little boy walking into Cardinals’ camp. The man that he has become is unbelievable.”
When Pujols left, he was trying to sign a 10-year contract with the Cardinals, but he was getting older. He had just won the World Series, and Pujols wanted stability for his family. The Angels were able to give him that, and as someone who dearly loved Pujols as a Cardinals player, I am truly happy to see him thriving and continuing to succeed.
While I will always miss my childhood baseball hero, I am so thankful he showed me why I loved the sport. I was devastated when he left, but I still love the Cardinals team and will always continue to support my hometown.
This is also Yadi’s last season, and I know next year won’t be the same. But if we lost Pujols and still lived, we will surely remember Yadi and play hard in his honor.