Kids have it hard these days. I grew up in cable’s infancy, a time when phones were still attached to the walls. It took a little while for news to spread. And it was a more innocent time, too. Heroes were put up on a pedestal to be worshiped, not to have stones thrown at them. Today, though? Man, it must be rough to be a kid or a hero.
Take Tiger Woods (please!). As if the multiple sordid affairs weren’t enough, he’s now being dragged into the PED arena as well with the news about his doctor using HGH. And as soon as any news about him hits the streets, it’s spread far and wide by the internet. Let’s be honest, it’s entirely possible that Jack Nicklaus had a stable of pretty young fillies at his beck and call during his hey-day but you never would have heard about it. Stars were protected back then.
The real problem is that we can’t seem to find a happy medium. Either we don’t know anything (why haven’t I seen a Joe Dimaggio/Marilyn Monroe honeymoon video?) or we know way too much (the image of a syringe in Roger Clemens’ @$$ is something I’ll never be able to forget). Why can’t we just know a reasonable amount? Like, if someone is a danger to himself or society (Ray Lewis, I’m looking at you), let us know. But if they’re just doing some canoodling on the side, that’s his or her business (yes A-Rod, I’m giving you a pass on that one).
Information is power and that hasn’t changed. And there is plenty of information on every possible subject out there today. But trying to find the useful stuff is like diving into a latrine to find the quarter you accidentally swallowed and then excreted. It’s messy and ultimately just not worth it. Kind of like being a hero.
Albert Pujols has played just nine Major League seasons and in each and every one of them he’s hit over 30 homeruns, collected more than 100 RBI and batted over .300. Those aren’t just good numbers, folks. Those are astronomical numbers.
And this is his best year yet.
I think it’s time we stop referring to Albert Pujols as the future Hall of Famer that he is — because let’s face it, if the man’s career ends today he’ll be a first ballot lock* — and start acknowledging that he is indeed one of the greatest players to ever play the game, all-time, in the history of the game.
In our present game, today, right this second, we are witnessing a rare and genuine paragon of baseball supremacy.
Stop — and — think — about — that.
My Dad saw Gibson.
My Grandpa saw Musial.
And Albert will trump them both.
By a long shot.
I know it’s hard to understand while it’s happening. I realize that, in most cases, we do not realize what great feats we are witnessing firsthand until it’s too late, until our heroes are lifted in the 7th for defensive replacements, until they’re embarking on sappy, over-produced farewell tours.
But right now we all have the opportunity to savor the greatness, to take it all in, to let it move us.
Great presidents abound in Franklin D. Roosevelt and George Washington; but there is only one Abraham Lincoln.
Sure, Metallica is great and all but there’s only one Pink Floyd.
And yes. There is only one Albert Pujols.
Don’t hate me. ‘Cuz I’m right.
*As one reader pointed out, a player needs 10 years in the Majors before being eligible; consider my phrase a simple bout of hyperbole