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.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Jameis Winston awarded Pepsi NFL rookie of the Year

Trade Rumors: Clippers ‘reluctant’ to deal injured Blake Griffin

Bright future for Minnesota Timberwolves

Eli and Archie Manning say Peyton won’t likely leave Denver if he plays in 2016

NCAA mulls changes to graduate transfer and targeting rules

Cavs active in NBA trade market, covet Jared Dudley

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Roger Goodell expectedly dodges Patriots-related questions at Super Bowl

Baltimore Orioles acquire starting pitcher Odrisamer Despaigne

USC athletic director Pat Haden to retire in June

Report: Browns owner ‘frustrated, emotional’ about Johnny Manziel

Raiders and Texans to play MNF game in Mexico City in 2016

Goodell wants to keep Raiders, Chargers in home markets

Super Bowl 50 ticket prices are insane

Take a moment to appreciate the greatness of Cam Newton

4-Star 2018 quarterback Matt Corral commits to USC

QUIZ: Name every NFL regular season MVP

WATCH: Avery Bradley nails buzzer beater to beat Cavs

WATCH: Jimmy Butler taken to locker room in wheel chair

Klay Thompson's first five years in historical context

WATCH: Cubs' Kris Bryant went swimming with sharks

Sports Authority taking steps to file for bankruptcy

Major League Baseball threatens to disassociate from DraftKings

NFL considering moving Pro Bowl to Australia

Joe Montana warns NFL players about potential long-term damage after retirement

Report: Two people fired for leaking Jason Pierre-Paul information

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.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Five outrageous predictions for Super Bowl 50

QUIZ: Name the winning starting quarterback from every Super Bowl

The top six matchups that could decide Super Bowl 50

Seven unheralded players set to make major impacts in SB 50

10 underrated performances in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

X-factors in Super Bowl 50

NHL nightmare: No Canadian teams in playoff hunt

QUIZ: Name the Super Bowl halftime performers since 1991

Manziel's father fears for QB's life

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker