The St. Louis Cardinals are going for their 11th World Series championship, which would strengthen their hold as the team second only to the New York Yankees with respect to titles.

The Cardinals and Yankees have met five times in the World Series. The Cardinals won in 1926, 1942 and the last time the teams met in 1964. The Yankees beat St. Louis in 1928 and 1943.

There is no question the Cardinals are one of baseball’s iconic franchises. To play in St. Louis means playing under great scrutiny and even, at times, greater pressure.

The Cardinals have had some great first basemen. Stan Musial, Jim Bottomley, Orlando Cepeda and Johnny Mize are all in the Hall of Fame. Keith Hernandez might have been the second greatest defensive first baseman in the annals of baseball history next to Hal Chase.

Musial was the National League MVP three times and Cepeda won it once and Hernandez won it once.

The current Cardinals’ first baseman, Albert Pujols, has surpassed them all, with the possible exception of Musial. He has already won three MVP awards.

In the second game of the 2011 World Series, Cardinals’ center fielder John Jay made a weak throw home in the ninth inning. Pujols lunged for the ball but failed to cut it off, allowing the Texas Rangers‘ Elvis Andrus take second base on his single.

No error was charged until the game had been over for quite a while.

Pujols didn’t speak to the media after the game for which those in the media excoriated him—not just the actions, but the man.

Joel Sherman, who is employed by the bastion of fair reporting, the New York Post, concluded that Pujols was an extremely fortunate individual.

Sherman pointed out that Pujols should be grateful that Mark Teixeira was a New York Yankee, that Adrian Gonzalez was a Boston Red Sox, that Ryan Howard was with the Philadelphia Phillies and that the New York Mets were a financially challenged team.

Why did the perceptive Mr. Sherman think that the above were fortuitous circumstances for Pujols? 

Because none of the the big northeast markets would be in the bidding for his services when he becomes a free agent.

It is a blessing, according to Sherman, because Pujols couldn’t handle playing in any of those cities. The primary reason is that Pujols couldn’t take the booing.

That says it all about Mr. Sherman.

He doesn’t realize that Pujols wouldn’t have to take the booing because he would bask in the cheering. He denigrates the greatest player in the game who has done fairly well in some cities where the fans know how to boo.

He has batted .331/.436/.589 with 15 home runs and 46 RBIs in the postseason, including batting .333 in the 2004 World Series against the Boston Red Sox and their friendly fans.

Sherman ranks among the most upset by the fact that Pujols refused to speak to the media after the tough loss.

“He should figure out how to stay in St. Louis, where he forever will have a city that loves him and an organization that will cover for him, and where his small-time behavior and big biceps are an acceptable combination.

“New York, Boston and Philadelphia would not kowtow to this behavioral model.”

Mr. Sherman seems bothered that the “big market” teams were all “upset” before they could get to the World Series. He is at a loss to explain to explain why Pujols, Lance Berkman and Yadier Molina weren’t available to express their remorse after a really tough loss.

Well, Mr. Sherman, perhaps you might have read that after the seventh game of the 1960 World Series, reporters found Mickey Mantle sitting at his locker. His head was in his hands and he was crying. The reporters walked away.

Winners need time to accept the fact that their team lost. Some, like Mantle in this instance, never can accept that reality.

Contrary to the propaganda of the media and Bud Selig, Pujols’ role is not to help MLB and Fox Sports to make money. They are quite good at that task.

Pujols makes money for them by being Albert Pujols. He makes money for them by hitting home runs or by not hitting home runs when he is beaten by a pitcher. His job, and his only job, is to play baseball. It is not to give interviews on demand.

Albert Pujols, unlike Joel Sherman and most others in the media, is a winner.

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