St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Pujols kisses his wife Deidre after the Cardinals defeated the Texas Rangers to win MLB's World Series baseball championship in St. Louis

Wife of Albert Pujols tells radio show: “the city of St. Louis has absolutely been deceived”


“I understand you’re talking to us, then one TV station, and that’s about it,” is how Sandi Brown, morning show host at 99.1 Joy FM in St. Louis, opened her conversation Monday with Deidre Pujols, the wife of new Angels first baseman Albert Pujols.

“This is the moment of truth for us,” Deidre replied. “Four days have passed and most people are probably sick of hearing our name by now, but I’m ready to let people have our side of what has happened and be able to make better judgements.”

Before we delve into the topics discussed during the 39-minute interview, some background information is necessary. Joy FM is a Christian music radio station based in a western suburb of St. Louis that debuted this past July in place of “Classic 99,” a classical music offering that had been on the air for more than six decades. Joy FM recieved funding and pledges, during its inception, from the Pujols family and from former Cardinals pitcher Andy Benes.

Sandi Brown, the interviewer, is friends with Deidre Pujols, the interviewee. The chat opened with a prayer.


Albert Pujols signed a 10-year, $254 million pact with the Angels at last week’s Winter Meetings in Dallas and was introduced as the club’s new first baseman at a kind of hybrid pep rally and press conference Saturday in Anaheim attended by over 4,000 fans. The deal also includes a 10-year personal services contract that will keep Pujols a member of the Angels organization in some capacity long after his playing days are through.

Pujols often claimed, near the end of his tenure in St. Louis, that he wanted to remain a “Cardinal for life,” in the ilk of the legendary Stan Musial. To hear his wife Deidre tell it during Monday’s interview, that claim was wholly accurate. Pujols did want to return to St. Louis this offseason. But then his mindset changed.

In a failed reading of the marketplace for the 31-year-old slugger, the Cardinals put forth a five-year, $130 million proposal earlier this winter. Some might call that part of doing business — every negotiation starts somewhere, and offers can be improved — but it struck the wrong chord in the Pujols household.

“When you have somebody say, ‘we want you to be a Cardinal for life,’ and then only offer you a five-year deal, it kind of confused us,” said Deidre, calling the offer an “insult.”

The Cardinals eventually improved their package, all the way up to 10 years and $210 million, but $30 million of that would have been deferred with no interest. In the Angels’ $254 million deal, nothing is deferred.

“I’m going to tell you what, listeners especially,” said Deidre, “had that offer been given to us with a guarantee (i.e. no deferred money), we would have a Cardinal on our bat.”

Deidre then hinted that the lack of a post-baseball commitment from the Cardinals also rubbed Albert the wrong way. He wasn’t offered a personal services contract like the one Angels owner Arte Moreno gave.

“Albert and I never, not one time ever, made plans to leave this city,” said Deidre. “We had no reason, not one reason, to want to leave. … People were deceived by the numbers.”

The rest of the interview centred largely around Mrs. Pujols’ faith and upbringing in Kansas City, and the both harsh and friendly comments she’s received from St. Louisans since the decision was announced on Thursday. But the main intention of the lengthy Monday morning discussion was to relay the message that Albert did not chase the Angels’ $254 million offer because of greed or money lust. Rather, it was about the Angels’ willingness to make a long-term commitment and the Cardinals’ reluctance to match that.

“It’s just like God,” Deidre told Brown near the end of the chat, “to put us on a team called the Angels.”

Jessica Mendoza and Chris Archer were great in the booth

Jessica Mendoza
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Not news: Jessica Mendoza, who has been excellent on all of the ESPN broadcasts she has done since taking over for Curt Schilling, was excellent last night too.

She was great on the nuts and bolts, continued to show that she can describe hitting mechanics better than most color commentators — way more of them seem to be more comfortable talking about pitching — and was a seamless presence in the booth in terms of flow, timbre and all of the aesthetic aspects of broadcasting. If she has a fault thus far it’s that she leans on some cliches about hitters’ mindsets and desire to win sometimes. This puts her in with approximately 100% of all other color commentators in baseball now and throughout the history of baseball, of course, so it’s not really a demerit.

Ultimately, the true test of a good commentator is whether they (a) add insight; and (b) do so without distracting or upstaging the game. In this Mendoza is superior to most commentators in baseball and clearly superior to the “stop and listen to me” brand of analysts the major networks have employed on national broadcasts in recent years.

Indeed, the one of the best compliments I think I can give Mendoza is that she was — in the literal sense, not the judgmental sense — unremarkable. Meaning: during the game and after there was nothing she said or did that was worthy of the highly-critical remarks almost every broadcaster gets, going back through Schilling, Kruk, Harold Reynolds Tim McCarver, Joe Morgan and everyone else ESPN and Fox have forced upon us in their history doing playoff baseball. I’m on Twitter during most playoff games and sometimes the broadcaster bashing is more interesting than the game. Mendoza gives the would-be bashers very little material.

At least those who would bash on the actual merits. There remains a group of deadenders who are irked by her very presence in the booth because she is a woman. The New York times rounds up some of the less mouth-breathery types today, but God knows there are many, many worse. Some of them even in professional media. At least for now. Whether you choose to ignore those people or choose to engage them — which, their dead end opinions notwithstanding can be a useful exercise in my opinion — know that they are out there being miserable and sexist as God and the First Amendment intended them to be.

While there are many who slam Mendoza on the faulty premise that she lacks credentials and experience in the booth, there was one person in the ESPN booth last night, at least for a while, who was a total TV noob. His name was Chris Archer. He pitches a bit for the Tampa Bay Rays. And lo and behold, he was pretty damn good himself.

Archer needs some polish for style — he has a lot of “ummms” and “uhhhs” about him — but his analysis is both sharp and quick. Meaning he was RIGHT ON the points when he needed to be without any of the usual prompting guests in the booth need from the play by play guy. At one point he even flowed into play-by-play and did a pretty good job of it.  Chris: if that pitching stuff doesn’t work out, you have a bright, bright future in television.

So, on the first night of the playoffs, there were no complaints about the broadcast. Mostly because the broadcasters weren’t the stars of the show. The game was. And it was complemented nicely by a couple of good voices.

And John Kruk.

NL Wild Card Game: Cubs vs. Pirates lineups

Jake Arrieta

Here are the Cubs and Pirates lineups for tonight’s Wild Card game in Pittsburgh:

CF Dexter Fowler
RF Kyle Schwarber
LF Kris Bryant
1B Anthony Rizzo
3B Tommy La Stella
2B Starlin Castro
C Miguel Montero
SS Addison Russell
SP Jake Arrieta

Cubs manager Joe Maddon wanted Tommy La Stella in the lineup over Jorge Soler or Chris Coghlan, so he starts at third base and Kris Bryant shifts to left field. Bryant started just four games in left field all season, compared to 136 starts at third base. Also of note: After batting Addison Russell ninth–behind the pitcher–116 times this season Maddon has him in the more traditional eighth spot tonight.

RF Gregory Polanco
3B Josh Harrison
CF Andrew McCutchen
LF Starling Marte
C Francisco Cervelli
2B Neil Walker
SS Jordy Mercer
1B Sean Rodriguez
SP Gerrit Cole

Pedro Alvarez started 119 games at first base for the Pirates and with right-hander Jake Arrieta on the mound he was the presumed starter tonight, but instead manager Clint Hurdle has benched the 27-homer slugger in favor of utility man Sean Rodriguez. Alvarez is vastly superior to Rodriguez offensively, especially versus a righty, but he’s also very shaky defensively. During the regular season Rodriguez started a grand total of one game at first base against a right-hander, so this qualifies as a hunch by Hurdle.