9/25 Cardinals, Cubs salute Pujols
Albert Pujols is usually the one in Cardinals’ red launching balls out of the ballpark, but he went 0-for-4 in what could be his last home game for the team. The crowd of 41,469 saluted the free agent to be in each at-bat with a standing ovation. Cubs starter Randy Wells stepped off the mound in the first to let the fans acknowledge Pujols, then got him to line out to second base, igniting a double play.
“I respect Albert, I think everybody respects Albert,” Wells said. “It’s a nice moment for him. To be honest, I thought he was getting his regular cheers [in the first]. When I saw he was tipping his hat, I’m not going to say, ‘Let’s go.’ This is his town and he definitely deserves it.”
“It’s a tribute to a great player,” Mike Quade said. “No matter what city you’re in, people appreciate quality. I’m just glad he didn’t do damage today. Wells handled him well.”
Carlos Pena said he got goosebumps when the crowd rose to salute Pujols.
“That was a special moment for baseball,” Pena said. “You’re talking about arguably the best hitter who has ever existed. Not only has he done that on the field but he has also been an unbelievable citizen here in the city of St. Louis. He’s been a great guy in the community. You can’t ask anything more from him.”
Pena drew two walks and had a chance to chat with Pujols at first. Did he ask the Cardinals slugger what’s next?
“No,” Pena said. “That’s the question of the ages. I wish him the best. He deserves the best. The fans don’t want him to leave. It is truly a pleasure to watch him play, hit and try to beat him. Every chance you get, you try to neutralize him. What a fierce competitor, but most importantly a well-respected professional and hands down, one of the best guys in baseball.”
The multi-million dollar question now is whether Pujols will stay in St. Louis or leave. There have been rumors circulating about him possibly switching sides and going to the Cubs.
Said Pena: “I see him in a St. Louis uniform.”
— Carrie Muskat