Old illusions die hard.

Albert Pujols is a heart-warming inspiration. He’s also, potentially, a soul-crushing disappointment. After the traumas of the Steroid Era, many baseball fans have invested their remaining faith in the apparent integrity of the St. Louis Cardinals first baseman—which would be better news if St. Louis Cardinals first basemen weren’t an inherently untrustworthy species of idol.

Misery means longing for what you’ve lost.

Maturity, on the other hand, means living with what you’ve found.

I’m not insinuating that Pujols is dirty. His charity work testifies to the content of his character, and elementary justice demands that he be presumed innocent until proven guilty. But what’s just isn’t necessarily what’s prudent. In a league where every slugger shines under a cloud of suspicion, it’s always safer to doubt first and ask questions later.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Bereavement is in the mind of the bereft.

If there’s a lesson to be learned from the last decade of MLB history, it’s simply that the most painful privations are those we impose upon ourselves.

Baseball lovers are a reverent bunch. Framed autographs, cherished trading cards, once-a-lifetime pilgrimages to the Hall of Fame—they’re the trappings of a secular religion, substitutes for all those sacraments in which modern man no longer believes. The catch, of course, is that mortal heroes rarely live up to divine expectations. Pujols disciples will argue that they lift their spirits by accepting Albert’s purported probity. I’d counter that they’d be wiser to lower their sights by acknowledging his fundamental fallibility.

Negativity is bad.

Naiveté is worse.

Skeptics may miss out on the hypothetical promise of the bright side, but at least they brace themselves for the inevitable threat of the darkness.

Happiness begins with proper perspective. How you feel depends on what you see; what you see depends on where you look. If Albert Pujols took steroids naught would change and nothing would be different, except that insignificant sliver of reality we happen to call our own. Every worshipper seeks a flawless object to place atop his altar. The one who settles for a human god should open his eyes to the truth before he’s blindsided by its consequences.


King David didn’t witness the advent of HGH therapy, but he did know a thing or two about the healing power of conviction: 

I cry to you, O Lord; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.”
Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need; rescue me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me.

Which is a bit much to ask of a deity like Pujols.

Because it’s never advisable to bet on a savior in stirrups, and anyone who claims otherwise is either counting on Albert to anchor his Fantasy lineup or only just saying, is all…

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