Originally posted on Fox Sports Midwest  |  Last updated 7/2/13
ST. LOUIS - I'm guessing there are about as many St. Louisans who feel sorry for Albert Pujols as there are New Yorkers who sympathize with Alex Rodriguez. My empathy for A-Rod is nonexistent but I do feel sorry for Pujols. That is, as sorry as one can feel for someone making 240 million. While Pujols and his new team have struggled since he landed in California last year, the Cardinals have emerged as strong as ever. They certainly are in a better place than they would have been if Pujols had not turned down their 200-plus million. Still, while much of St. Louis tuning into the Cardinals' series at Anaheim this week will be hissing at their TVs when Pujols enters the picture, I will be hoping he doesn't go 0 for 4. An 0-fer by Pujols, of course, wouldn't be anything he's not used to these days. He enters the series 4 for his past 34 and his batting average down to a Pete Kozma-like .249. The Angels believe Pujols' struggles are due mostly to feet and knee ailments that have turned him into a gimpy DH and sapped his power. "His production has been definitely influenced by what's going on with his body," Angels manager Mike Scioscia told mlb.com last weekend. "Is he the same player of three, four, five years ago? He's not in that neighborhood right now but he's still tremendously effective." Uh, tremendously effective might be a reach. Thirteen homers and 49 RBIs at the halfway point hardly are tremendous by Pujols' standards. And a .752 OPS that ranks 47th in the A.L. barely is effective. Scioscia needs to check Pujols' numbers in St. Louis to see what "tremendously effective" really is. Pujols didn't win a Triple Crown for any one season in St. Louis but he claimed the N.L. Triple Crown for an entire decade. From 2000-2009, he led the N.L. in homers (336), RBIs (1,112) and batting average (.334) even though he didn't play his first game until 2001. Pujols also put up single-season numbers as impressive as those turned in by Miguel Cabrera's historic 2012. Pujols hit .331 with 49 homers and 137 RBIs in '07; Cabrera went .33044139 to win his Triple Crown. As celebrated as Pujols was in St. Louis, whenever I look at his numbers, I think he might have been underappreciated. He won three MVPs and should have had at least five. He led the Cardinals to seven postseason appearances, three World Series and two championships. His impact off the field was just as great if not greater, considering the work his foundation did (and is still doing). I also believe that Pujols' decline over these past few years has been due partly to his team-first approach in St. Louis. For a guy who is one day younger than Matt Holliday, he sure seems older than 33. We don't know how often Pujols played with an injury with the Cardinals but we do know that each of the three times he went on the disabled list, he returned well ahead of schedule. Don't forget, he played an entire season knowing that his right elbow could blow with one wrong throw. One of the memories I carry of Pujols' time with the Cardinals is from late June, 2011, after he broke his left wrist making a play at first. A few days after the injury, I asked him if he would attend the All-Star Game if named to the N.L. team even though he wouldn't be able to play. His answer: Who says I won't be back by the All-Star break? Well, I said, you're supposed to be out as long as six weeks. Sure enough, he was right. Pujols returned in 17 days and played in five more games before the break, then hit .319 with 19 homers and 49 RBIs in the second half. So, yes, knowing what Pujols did for the Cardinals and St. Louis, I would rather not see him looking old and washed up, especially against his former team. You can follow Stan McNeal on Twitter at @stanmcneal or email him at stanmcneal@gmail.com.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Arian Foster: It's hard for me to watch football

Isaiah Thomas recruiting players at All-Star weekend

Report: Charles Woodson joining ESPN's Sunday NFL crew

Best and worst from NBA All-Star Saturday night

WATCH: Klay Thompson can't go home unless he beats Steph Curry in 3-Point contest

Star players are hurting Houston Rockets


Emmitt Smith: Adrian Peterson only current player who could break rushing record

Coach K gets buzzer-beater win over Virginia for his birthday

Baylor approves new measures to deal with sexual assault

Joe Mauer: Concussions blurred vision, affected hitting

LeBron James says Kevin Love-Celtics trade rumor is false

Michael Jordan gifts Kobe Bryant full set of Air Jordans

NY Post writer takes harsh shot at Jason Pierre-Paul

LaVine, Gordon put on best NBA dunk contest in years

WATCH: Thompson beats teammate Curry in 3-point contest

NFL teams, players hand out awesome Valentines

Earl Campbell ‘disappointed’ in Johnny Manziel, wants to help

Big man Karl-Anthony Towns wins NBA skills challenge

MLB commish: Cubs will host All-Star Game in near future

WATCH: Memphis forward recreates Vince Carter's elbow dunk in game

Bruins forward is goal scoring machine after suspension

Michael Jordan gives Kobe Bryant complete set of Air Jordans

Drake has Kentucky edition of custom ‘OVO’ Air Jordan 8s

QUIZ: Name every NBA All-Star Game MVP

Watch rare footage of Stephen Curry from 2001-02 emerges

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Ranking the ten best free agent pitcher signings

Who had the best NBA All-Star Game of the last 40 years?

The winners and losers of the 2016 MLB offseason

On Kobe Bryant and taking greatness for granted

Bucks need to choose between wins, development

Fantasy booking WrestleMania 32

Unrestricted free agents each team must consider re-signing

QUIZ: Name the winners of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker