First, let me say that I am a big Albert Pujols fan. I admire how hard the man works to be the best baseball player since maybe Stan Musial. I also, admire is public expression of his faith not just with his words and his gestures to heaven when he gets a hit, but the work he does through his foundation to make a real difference in lives in our communities.
Second, let me say that I am an even bigger St. Louis Cardinals fan. Growing up in OK I used to sneak my little transistor radio (for those of you from the MP3 world, it was a little radio with an antenna and dials..... uh never mind, you'd never understand) in bed with me so I could listen to the Cards game after it was time for me to go to bed. One of the great blessings of moving to St. Louis is being able to attend Cards games at both old (hand over my heart) and new Busch stadium.
Now, on to my point here. I think Mr. Pujols stands at a real crossroads in his own life and as an ambassador for Christ. Is it more important to having the largest financial contract in the history of baseball or is it more important to be known for being a person of character above the fray, or is it possible to do both at the same time. Currently Mr. Pujols earns $14,000,000.00 per year. That makes him one of the top ten earning baseball players in MLB. Also, it makes him one of the highest earning workers in all of STL. Keep in mind the average teacher earns somewhere around $40,000.00 per year. I don't think Mr. Pujols can argue this is about putting a roof over his children's head and money in the bank for those same kids college fund. If he invests even modestly he will live a long and very comfortable life. Don't forget MLB players receive health insurance for life and a nice pension from the league on top of their salaries.
Mr. Pujols has the opportunity to demonstrate that life is more than money or being first in some obscene category like who makes the most money. He can demonstrate that his heart belongs to a God who supplies all our needs and continue to be a great example of Christian character and charity. I am not saying he shouldn't try to get all the compensation he can, but in the process he runs the risk of becoming just another high priced bat whom we as fans applaud but do not respect or care about.
I thought it ironic that Mr. Stanley Musial received the Medal of Honor on the same day the news was all lathered up about Mr. Pujols stalled contract negotiations. Yes, Mr. Musial was the highest paid player in baseball in his day and he also gave back a portion of his salary when he believed he did not live up to his abilities. That is why we call him Stan the Man and his statue is more iconic to St. Louisan's than the Arch.
I am praying for Mr. Pujols that he will be lead by God to continue being an ambassador for Christ first and a great example of what baseball is really all about. He has entered a torturous path which could lead to the destruction of his reputation or forever place him in the category of a man with great talent who used that talent to honor his God.
We shall see! See you at the ball park!