Proverbs 1:19 Such is the fate of all who are greedy for money; it robs them of life. (NLT)
There is a very intriguing sports story that is going on right now and it strikes close to my heart.
If you know me at all, you are aware of my affinity for the St. Louis Cardinals baseball club. Having been born and raised in St. Louis, I have spent my life watching and cheering for them. While I do not consider myself a fanatic and my life does not rise and fall with their record, I do have a sizable collection of autographed memorabilia. And you’d better believe I was happy last October when they won the World Series for the eleventh time.
The hot story in baseball right now surrounds Albert Pujols. He spent eleven glorious years playing in St. Louis, the greatest baseball town in the country. Albert put up certain Hall of Fame numbers and was arguably one of the greatest players of all time. The city idolized him – probably to a fault.
Then contract time came around. Albert refused the offers that the Cardinals gave to him. Their offer was in the 200 million dollar arena. Albert “needed” more. He departed St. Louis for the Anaheim Angels and received about 240 million! He walked away from a fiercely loyal fan base. Seriously, unless you have personally experienced baseball at Busch Stadium, you can’t imagine the atmosphere. It is way deeper than sports. For Cardinals fans, it is a way of life.
Albert rejected the city that had been faithful to him and had supported him. He sold out for more money. I truly believe that had Albert stayed with the Birds, he would have gone down in history as the favorite player of all time. This is saying a lot considering guys like Stan Musial, Ozzie Smith and Rogers Hornsby played there.
Albert is slumping, badly. 7 weeks into the season, Albert has no home runs, 4 RBI (no RBI in 2 weeks) and is sporting a .217 average. This is a lifetime .300 hitter, 30 HRs and 100 RBI, no doubt.
Many St. Louis fans are very happy with his demise. They want him to fail. They are laughing at him. I think that is vindictive. True, Albert was “all talk” regarding his love for the city and his desire to remain there his entire career. And he wasn’t honest in his dealing with the public. But it does no one any good to be mean about it. I wish I were above all feelings of “that’s what you get”. I’ll have to work on that.
Albert is a man of faith. I have heard his testimony and it sounds legit. But people of faith have a higher standard to which they are held. The standard is the Scripture. Loyalty, humility and and generosity are among the major themes.
I wonder about greed. I had a personal discussion with another professional athlete on the topic who was very defensive of Albert. “He’s the best ever, he deserves it” was his position. I disagree. I do agree that he HAS been among the best but he does not, nor does ANYONE deserve over 200 million dollars to play ball. My assessment, for what it is worth is: Albert is greedy.
Is Albert being punished because he is greedy? I have no way of knowing that. If so, maybe he can patch things up and give away 239 million and have plenty left on which to live. Possibly he can apologize to the people of St. Louis. If not, maybe he will just play his way through this slump.
Either way, his lack of performance does not change my life one way or another. But just maybe I can take notes on what happens to a person who is greedy for money.
When yet another reported asked him today about his homerless streak, his response was, “I don’t think about that, man.” Albert – it’s time to think about it.
Anyone want to purchase an authentic Albert Pujols autographed baseball?