Sportress of Blogitude

Sportswriters, Do Not Dare Criticize Albert Pujols Unless You Have Played Baseball

With his home run against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday, St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols extended his own MLB record for consecutive seasons with at least 30 home runs, which now stands at 11 seasons, a streak which began with his rookie year. This remarkable accomplishment is a far cry from earlier this season, when Pujols was struggling mightily at the plate and was forced to deal with criticism regarding his sub-par start. Apparently, the criticism did not sit well with Pujols, as he fired back at sportswriters, those nattering nabobs of negativity, who chose to do their job and, you know, write about what is actually happening between the white lines, even if it required writing things about Pujols that did not properly praise the greatness of the man and the magnitude of his accomplishments. At least that’s how it appears Pujols sees it. Further, how do writers dare even criticize Pujols if they have never even played the game?

Via the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

“Sometimes, it’s easier to write a story than it is to go out there and hit a baseball,” Pujols said. “Most (critics) probably never even played the game. They probably never threw a baseball before. But that’s the way it is. It doesn’t bother me.

“Everybody has their own opinion.”

Indeed, everybody is entitled to their own opinion, so I won’t go too far in begrudging Pujols for expressing his. That’s his right. But I have to disagree with him when he says that the criticism did not bother him, as it clearly did. Otherwise, he wouldn’t even have brought it up in the first place.

Further, when are athletes going to learn to stop going with the line that unless you played the game, you cannot possibly understand anything about it? Is Pujols correct in his assertion? Somewhat, sure. A person would have to play the game to understand the intricacies and complexities that go into performing at a high level, in this instance hitting a baseball. But just because a sportswriter cannot hit a ball as far as Pujols does not mean that they cannot witness, process and subsequently report on instances when he is not performing at the level they are accustomed to seeing him play at. It doesn’t take a quick bat and a good eye at the plate to understand the inherent meaning behind statistics like batting average and home run totals. You just need to know how to read and have a rudimentary understanding of baseball, something I would say most of the sportswriters Pujols took a shot at can do all too well. And I am sure they also understand that Albert Pujols is a far better baseball player than they could ever have dreamed of being – I suppose that is why they got into the sportswriting business in the first place.

Pujols should let his actions speak for themselves. Quotes like the one he made just make him appear arrogant and boorish, and from what I have heard, those personality traits are simply not what Pujols is all about.

Pujols downplays milestone, takes swipe at detractors [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]