November 18, 2008
Perhaps it should come as no surprise that Albert Pujols has reversed his stance on MVP qualifications. Once quoted as saying only players on playoff teams should be considered, the St. Louis slugger pulled a 180 on Monday saying, "You have to consider everything. You have to put all the numbers together."
Pujols has always been a player of intense focus and a guy who pays obsessive attention to detail. His always zeroed-in visage is probably part of the reason he doesn't fully capture the imagination of the MLB-watching public, but there are rare moments when he allows everyone a glance at his more human side. On Monday, that came when he admitted he "cried like a baby" when he heard the MVP news.
Below are a few more reactions to the only Cardinal not named Stan Musial to win the MVP award more than once.
Bryan Burwell, St. Louis Post Dispatch: "We're always fooled when we see the truly great ones at work, largely because their heroics often obscure the hard work that goes into enhancing those superb natural gifts. If you want to know why Pujols has been voted the best player in the NL for the second time in his remarkable eight-year career, you need to be at his house in the offseason at the crack of dawn.
"'Five days a week I'm in the gym," he said, 'From 8 a.m. to around 11:30 every day, I'm in there lifting weights, I'm doing my cardio. I'm pushing myself hard all the time. And I want to do more, but Dr. (George) Paletta won't let me.'"
DanUpBaby, Viva El Birdos: "The amazing thing, the thing, I think, that made me especially crazy about this season's MVP vote, is that the dumb-sportswriter cliches are no longer even internally consistent. Albert, an intense, focused leadership guy who Does Everything to Win and always plays 100%, even when injured, who just missed the batting title and never struck out, who played incredible defense and carried a team for most of the season, almost lost to a one-dimensional slugger who struck out 199 times and hit .251."
Ryan VB, Cards Diaspora: "Pleased to report that all is right with the world. For now anyway. Pujols won with the NL MVP by a comfortable margin. St. Louis native (TM) Ryan Howard, finished second, proving that if you hit more than 40 home runs you will get some MVP votes. No, I kid. Howard helped the Phillies down the stretch, but I stand by my earlier argument that he wasn't even the best player on the Phillies this year."
Chris Russell, Bugs & Cranks: "The precedents set for the MVP award seem to flip flop every year. Albert was clearly the best player in baseball, but some would argue that he wasn't the "most valuable" because the Cardinals didn't extend their season into October. I'm all for the winner coming from a playoff contender, but don't necessarily believe that a team has to make it to the postseason for a player to be in the running. When A-Rod won the award in 2003 for the last place 71-91 Rangers, that was ridiculous, but this season the Cardinals were a surprisingly successful ballclub. They finished the season 10 games over .500, were in the playoff hunt until the final 2 weeks, were in the toughest division in the National League (if not baseball) and finished with a better record than the Dodgers who played in the NLCS."