Bat, mouth are trouble
John Harper on how the NLCS spotlight on Albert Pujols is revealing his character...
"He wasn't good. He wasn't good at all," Pujols said of Glavine.
Pujols, who went 0-for-3 in Game 1 and made a baserunning blunder, was complaining that the Cardinals hadn't been rewarded for hitting some balls hard, saying, "We didn't get some breaks."
Still, reporters interviewing him were stunned that he wouldn't give Glavine any credit for shutting down the Cardinals. So they asked him again.
"You didn't think Glavine pitched well?"
"I say he wasn't good at all," Pujols repeated. "He did the same thing that he always does. Throw a changeup, fastball, and that was it. I just think we should have done a better job than we did."
This from a guy who went 0-for-3 and made a baserunning blunder. When Pujols was asked if he was frustrated afterward, the Cardinals' slugger grew angry.
"Why (should) I be frustrated?" he snapped. "I can't make a mistake? Am I perfect?"
This is Albert Pujols? Apparently St. Louis, no major media market, is good cover for such boorishness. Actually, St. Louis reporters aren't all that fond of Pujols. One said he hoped Pujols would "get exposed" with these comments as a less-than-friendly presence around the Cardinals, despite mostly adoring coverage.
Tony La Russa, meanwhile, resorted to blaming the media for Pujols' comments, saying reporters should have used "common sense" and basically dismissed them because they were said in "the heat of competition."
Right. Like Pujols is the only fierce competitor out there, so he should get a pass for saying something so unprofessional. La Russa knows better, but he's accustomed to having his way in a one-newspaper town.
Besides, if that were the case, Pujols had the chance to take back his comments about Glavine when he was asked about them on the field before last night's game.
"Isn't that what I said?" he replied. "Okay, then keep that one."
He didn't make himself available after last night's game, at least not until past newspaper deadlines in New York.
So what's up with Albert, anyway? He has to realize that as the most feared slugger in the game, he's going to be the focus of media coverage, particularly in the postseason.
Yet on the day before this series opened, Pujols didn't want to go to the interview room, saying he would do interviews in the tight quarters of the visitors' clubhouse at Shea. When reporters surrounded him at his locker after the workout, he complained openly, saying, "You all are a pain in the (butt)."
Eventually he answered questions, taking exception to the notion that his bat was any more important than anyone else's in the Cardinals' lineup, and saying he would be happy to take walks if the Mets chose to pitch around him.
Pujols seemed even angrier to find reporters at his locker after Game 1, flipping a chair out of the way that hit one reporter in the leg.