Earlier today, Albert Pujols signed a massive deal that took him out of the Cardinals uniform and put him into an Angels uniform….and all hell broke loose. I heard the wailing all the way down here. Mournful weeping.
Gnashing of teeth.
As I heard the details, I was struck by only one thing: how has the value of one man become so displaced?
This is not a question of Albert Pujol’s character. While I do not know him personally, I know several people who do and I know that he is the real deal. He gives more than he takes, he isn’t looking for attention and he constantly deflects praise. If I had to pick someone who I felt could handle the responsibility of $250 million dollars, I would choose Albert Pujols.
“So I guess it is all about the money!”
“Don’t let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya!”
All of these sentiments popped up online as everyone lashed out at the surprise last minute deal. And I get it…sort of. Pujols is a hometown hero. Not only is the he face of baseball, but he’s an amazing person and who wouldn’t want to keep him around? I understand the disappointment, but let’s keep perspective.
He is just one man.
The truth is, none of us know everything that went into Albert’s decision to move his family across country. Was it the money? Well, probably to a degree it was. How many of us would have turned down $34 million for loyalty’s sake? At the end of the day I don’t believe this was greed so much as business. Can it be argued that there comes a point where enough is enough? Sure. But it can also be argued that a lot of good could be done with $34 million and to simply walk away out of principle is kind of foolish.
In other words, Pujols was damned if he did and damned if he didn’t.
To claim that it was solely the money that brought him to this decision simplifies things far too much. As my super smart (and freakishly handsome) husband explained to me, Albert Pujols is thinking about his career as a whole. Where can he establish himself that gives him the best opportunity to finish out his years as a baseball player?
St. Louis wasn’t the place. And that is okay.
So I do not begrudge Albert Pujols. And I fully trust that he will give away more money than most of us will ever know or comprehend. This bigger deal gives him the opportunity to give above and beyond what he is already doing. If I’m being totally honest, I’d tell you that I’d rather see $250 million in the hands of Albert Pujols than in the hands of the US Government.
Honestly, my initial and gut reation to the news today was not anger toward Pujols but rather toward our society as a whole. I felt a heap of righteous indignation at the thought that we as a nation have placed such an enormous value upon a man who swings a stick and hits a ball. I do not say that disrespectfully by any means. I hope I’ve established that I have nothing but respect for Albert Pujols. But the fact remains, he’s just a guy with a bat.
Why is the value of a baseball player so high, yet the value of a teacher so low? Is it a wonder our school system is failing, our economy tanking? Does it not seem that the value we as a society have placed upon man is only slightly off kilter?
This is not Albert’s fault. This has nothing to do with him and everything to do with a society that has drastically lost perspective on the value of influence. Or does it?
Is one man worth $250 million dollars? Well, though my first response is a resounding HECK NO, the truth is that’s not really for me to judge or decide. I really believe that God Himself ordains some to be stewards of much and for others to be stewards of little (Matthew 25). It’s not for me to decide how much a man is worth, but rather to be responsible with that which I’ve been given. This is where my criticism for the amount Pujols has been promised gets shattered into a thousand tiny pieces and my writing starts to sounds schizophrenic so I find myself simply needing to wrap things up.
I’m happy for Albert Pujols. Truly and completely, I am happy that a man of his character has found favor in such a way. And for my part, I will continue to cheer him on, not because I value what he does on the field, but rather what he does off of it.
I am, however, still a bit shocked at the priorities of our nation and the value we place on those who entertain. I am afraid I feel both emotions equally, though they are a bit conflicting.