Before I get to that, can I note that the Baltimore Orioles are 14 games out of first place but have only played in 30 games? That’s some next-level stuff right there. Sorry to just blurt that out, but it’s not enough of a factoid to support its own post and I needed people to know that.
Anyway, this is a link to an interview of Joey Votto in The Athletic. The topic is Albert Pujols. As Pujols stands poised to enter the 3,000 hit club, C. Trent Rosecrans asked Votto to speak about his longtime division and first base rival, and Votto just motored on for a long time. Since it’s Votto, and since Votto is one of the smarter cookies and deeper thinkers in the game, it was super interesting.
The broad strokes are what you’d expect: lots of praise for his elder and an appreciation for him from having seen him up close for so many years. We tend to think of Pujols as a lumbering defensive liability now but Votto reminds us that he was once pretty darn good on defense.
Votto also talks about Pujols winning the World Series a couple of times in St. Louis and how important that is. That led to a brief aside that almost made me a little sad, with Votto saying that the biggest moment of his life was the Blue Jays winning back-to-back World Series in 1992-93. I do hope Votto can find himself on winning team again.
That aside, there was some humor too. There isn’t a moment in the interview when Votto does not praise and respect Pujols, but this owns:
Q: You beat him for the MVP in 2010…
A: I’m very aware of that. I’ve told many a St. Louis Uber driver that. They ask me who I am, they say, “You play baseball?”
I say, “Yes.”
They say, “Wow, what team?”
I say, “Cincinnati.”
They say, “Oh, where’s that?”
I say, “Oh, it’s in Ohio.”
They’ll say, “OK.”
I say, “Do you know Albert Pujols?”
“Oh yes, of course.”
I’ll say, “Well, I beat him for the Most Valuable Player. He came in second to me.”
Some fun stuff. The Athletic is subscription only, but they’ve reached some pretty critical mass, content wise, to where I think it’s worth the subscription just for the cool baseball bits. Your mileage, of course, may vary.