Well, well, well. What would the Fraternization Police think of this?
In what both probably would claim to be a simple show of manly fellowship, Chicago Cubs GM Jim Hendry and St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols(notes) hugged it out — twice — at Wrigley Field before the game Tuesday night.
Big bear hugs. Well, little bear hugs (they're the Cubs, after all).
The first embrace happened because Albert plays for the Cubbies' most-despised rival and both men knew it would ruffle feathers/give chills in the respective Gateway and Second cities. The second came because Albert is expected to file for free agency after the season and the Cubs just happen to have a possible opening at first base.
No, no, no — it's just a hug, Sigmund Freud Hendry says, via the blog of CSN Chicago's Patrick Mooney:
"I can't win," a bemused Hendry said. "I like Albert. We've always gotten along. He's a great, great player. I admire the heck out of him. He plays the game the right way every day."
He hugs Theriot on the way out, he hugs Pujols on the way in. I get it. It was all perfectly innocent, you see? All of this Cardinals cuddling obviously loosened them up, as Pujols had four hits in a 6-4 victory for the Redbirds.
While it doesn't hurt the Cubs that Pujols apparently likes Hendry, their chances of landing him in free agency will have more to do with another sort of affection — the kind that comes with cash.
And, as Mooney and Joe Strauss in the Post-Dispatch point out, Hendry is friendly with a lot of players. But it does make me wonder. What's Prince El Machine like around Cardinals' GM John Mozeliak?
"Congratulations, Albert, and here's your certificate; you're now a sandwich artist."
"So. ... you wear a 52 extra, extra, extra long? Shiny, too."
"I think it's real silver, Al!"
Let's get one more look at Pujols and Hendry:
Yeah, the Cardinals might be in trouble here.