Saturday, August 7, 2010

Let Me Tell You About José Alberto Pujols Alcántara

By Rich Kozlovich

Those who know me know that my interests are far ranging and that just about everything fascinates me. I spend a great deal of time reading and researching every issue that faces mankind. I try to dig as deeply as possible into the history of each issue because I believe that if I can understand the history of a problem I will find the answer to the problem. But, while sports is something I enjoy, it isn’t high on my list of priorities.

Normally I don’t read much about sports on-line, although I do follow the local teams through the Cleveland Plain Dealer. When looking for the crossword puzzle I will casually peruse the sports page, but not much because I am no longer a baseball fan and as a result I don’t watch it on TV. I don’t like hockey, soccer, or basketball (which I consider variations of the same game with different jerks) so I don’t watch them on TV either. Although I always hope the Cavaliers and the Indians win; I want that to happen because it is good for my city. The exception is that I do enjoy watching NFL football, and have a strong attachment to the Cleveland Browns; so unless they are talking about my Brownies (who are going to surprise a lot of people this year) I don’t really care overly much.

I like Browns coach Eric Mangini, and I have liked him from the beginning because he demanded that everyone develop a serious work ethic including handing out disciplinary actions for those who broke his rules. I don’t care that some spoiled players whined and stupid sportswriters agreed with them. He expects them to act like professionals and grown men. And I also think that having Mike Holmgren as the president of the Browns will make Mangini (who is only 39 by the way) one of the great coaches of the NFL. They whined about the discipline Mangini imposed, but Holmgren hasn’t changed it as far as I can tell. Mangini must have been doing something right. This may be the perfect synergy for the Cleveland Browns, who have struggled to find an identity since Art Modell moved them to Baltimore and lost any hope of entering the NFL Hall of Fame.

(Editors Note:  That turned out to be an amazingly stupid prediction.  Neither Mangini or Holmgren succeeded in Cleveland. Predicting is exceptionally difficult, especially about the future! Updated 11/10/12.  RK)

However, I did read an article by Andrew Cline from the American Spectator entitled, “ A-Rod's 600th (Yawn), Why the fans don't really care”, that hit a nerve.

So many of these people have no regard for anything or anyone else except their own egos. I don’t believe any of these athletes who took steroids should be in the record books, and in point of fact I don’t think they should be allowed in professional sports at all. You can argue about whether steroids should be allowed or not all day long, but they knew when they took these drugs they were breaking the rules and they took advantage of and cheated those who played by the rules. In any real job you are fired when you violate the boss’s rules. In this case the bosses are as guilty as the players. They have winked at this for years because they wanted winners and the money that went with it and didn’t much care how that was obtained. And no one believes them when they say otherwise and deservedly so.

However, while reading this article I also read some of the comments. Two really stood out and both of them were about a man named Albert Pujols. A man who identified himself as LarryK made this point.
Five years from now (six, max) the best player in the game will also cross the 600 HR mark, at roughly the same age that A-Rod did. I'm talking about Albert Pujols of course, who like Griffey has never been linked to steroids (and even has a standing offer for MLB to test him for steroid use whenever it likes). Pujols is the opposite of Bonds and all other spoiled stars in character and personality - hard-working, unassuming, a strong Christian who gives millions to charity every year, and devoted father who married his childhood sweetheart (who already had a child with severe disabilities, who he adopted). It's too much to ask any one player to be the savior of the game, but if anyone can do it Pujols is the man.
This was followed by someone who calls himself TimG who says:
After Albert met Stan (The Man) Musial for the first time, he began politely asking people who addressed him as "El Hombre" to stop, explaining that Stan was the only Man. Now that's class.
Now that "really" impressed me and since I don't follow baseball any longer I had no idea who they were talking about; so I decided to look him up.  Let me tell you about José Alberto Pujols Alcántara.

He is a nine time All Star, five time Silver Slugger Award winner, Golden Glove winner, three time National League Most Valuable Player, two time National League Hank Aaron Award winner, 2001 National League Rookie of the Year, 2004 National League Championship Series Most Valuable Player, 2007 Marvin Miller Man of the Year (Players Choice Award) winner, 2008 Roberto Clemente Award winner, 2009 TSN Player of the Decade Award, four time Fielding Bible Award, three time TSN Player of the Year, three time ESPY Award winner for Best Major League Baseball Player, three time National League Outstanding Play (Players Choice Award) and three time National League Player of the Year (Players Choice Award). Now I don’t know about you, but that would have the tendency to turn most people’s head. At least swell it up a bit.

One year he even suffered with plantar fasciitis, and hit .331 with 46 home runs and 123 RBIs. Since I suffer from this malady off and on, mostly on these days, I know how painful this can be and I can’t help but respect and admire this man’s grit. Clearly he is one of the truly great players in baseball today.  Truth be told, he would be in any era, unlike these steroid packing cheaters.

More importantly, is the character of the man. His wife had a Down Syndrome daughter from a previous relationship. This man has a greater sense of dignity, responsibility and compassion than all of these prima donnas of sports. He demonstrated his affection for the child and mother by adopting her and has been active in the Down Syndrome cause along with his wife. It is unlikely that this is a put on either, since “Pujols and his wife are active Christians.  His foundation's website states, "In the Pujols family, God is first. Everything else is a distant second.”

Wikipedia makes these observations about Pujols. There is a great deal more about him here.
“In 2005, Albert and Deidre Pujols launched the Pujols Family Foundation, which is dedicated to "the love, care and development of people with Down syndrome and their families," as well as helping the poor in the Dominican Republic. Pujols has taken several trips to the Dominican Republic, by taking supplies as well as a team of doctors and dentists to the poor who need medical care. The Pujols Family Foundation also holds an annual golf tournament in which members from the Cardinals and other people play golf to raise money to send dentists to the Dominican Republic.”
“A new center for adults with Down syndrome that will bear his name ("Albert Pujols Wellness Center for Adults with Down's Syndrome") is scheduled to open in November 2009 in Chesterfield, Missouri. He was there when it was launched on November 18, 2009.”
I have largely imposed a Green Issues Only mandate on myself for this blog. I know this isn’t a Green Issue article, but some things that really need to be talked about.   We seem to have lost sight as to what constitutes a real man, and when we find real men, we need to talk about them more often, because we seem to be running out of them.  Make no mistake about this: Pujols is a real man, and it isn't because he's a great baseball player.

Comments will not be accepted that are rude, crude, stupid or smarmy. Nor will I allow ad hominem attacks or comments from anyone who is "Anonymous”.  Even if those comments are positive.


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