The value of a man

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.

“He’s greedy!”

“So I guess it is all about the money!”

“Backstabber!”

“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.

Ouch.

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.

Your thoughts?

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Comments

  1. What a lovely perspective you have here. Thank you for your differentiation of “value” and “values.”

    Is one man worth $250 mil? I think the answer is that he has shown he CAN BE worth that amount to a team that feels that they need him to win. Or that they need his name to fill seats. Or that they want the status of having outbid the Cards. Or whatever it is they’re buying. (a little of all of that I would suppose.) So it isn’t that HE is worth that amount, but rather that they believe that within the length of his contract they will have gained VALUE of that amount or more by having him in their uniform. THEIR values.

    As to AP’s values – thank you for offering balance there as well. That he “gives more than he takes” is likely one reason he is offered so much. (you referenced the bible – it might surprise people to know that the origin of “it’s better to give than to receive” is actually “it is more blessed to give than to receive” and the more accurate translation is that “those who give will be blessed.” Not a point of MORAL superiority, but rather a promise that we will receive in excess of what we give.) Certainly, if he gives in proportion to his income, then the Angels have blessed the world. 🙂

    One other small point to consider. Any athlete has to face the fact that every contract can easily be their last if their bodies break down or they suffer an injury. If every job you took carried the risk of ending your career, you might weight the salary differential more carefully as well.

    • Thank you, Dixie, for your lovely response. I totally agree with you and my husband actually really believes that a lot of his decision was made with the idea in mind that he likely does NOT have a good ten years of great baseball left in him. So perhaps he was looking to get into the American League where he would have the option of becoming a Designated Hitter sometime down the road and wouldn’t have to continue playing 1st base when his body began breaking down. Thus, his career potential truly is lengthened and he has a bit of breathing room.

      I’m so glad I married such a smart guy. He makes me sound way more knowledgable than I am. 🙂

  2. I had never heard of him but google brought this up: http://www.pujolsfamilyfoundation.org/

    Good enough for me. I would rather see it in his hands than others!

  3. Nikki Rorabaugh says:

    Amen!!!! Loved what you had to say.

  4. I had thought of writing a similar “Sound Off’ blog that mimics your thoughts. I certainly think he is a better steward of the money and will use it to the good of others and for God’s glory. However, we also seem to put Albert on some sort of pedestal that makes him holier and sinless than the rest of us. He is human. He has sinned and he has made decisions that were sinful, selfish, just like the rest of us. It puts a lot of pressure on him to maintain some sort of public persona that inwardly may haunt him, knowing he IS NOT perfect. That is not fair to him. I just wonder at what point will something come out publicly about his past that will taint our views of him? Then he will be vilified all because we lifted him up so high.

    I heard his wife really did not like St. Louis weather, which was part of the reason for leaving. Can’t fault him there. Good luck, Albert! It was a great ride.

    • I agree that placing him on a pedastal is a dangerous thing, but I must say that his actions generally speak louder than words and he has shown himself to be nothing but a man of character. I think the best thing we can offer him now is our support and our prayers as he moves forward in his career that he continues to do so with his morals and standards in tact. He is not above failure, for sure, but I’m not looking for him to fail, either.

  5. I think there’s a difference between the Pujols BRAND and Albert the MAN.

    I think Albert the MAN has his family’s best interest in mind with the move. And you can’t fault someone for that. People use their BRAND to garner higher paying jobs (which, in turn, provide for their families) every day.

    It kind of drives me crazy as to how upset people are getting. If you work hard and have a good reputation in your field and you’re doing great financially but this incredibly amazing offer comes your way (because your personal brand is so strong) would you really say, “No thanks. I’m going to stay because my clients, coworkers and the cleaning crew really seem to like me.” I don’t think so. You’d think of your family. And if the job is someplace warm and you know your wife hates the cold and you think your family would enjoy living in a warmer client… Hello! No brainer.

    LA bought the Albert brand (the ticket sales, hoopla and winning games that will go with it.) But I def don’t fault the man because like you said, he’ll do a lot of good with the money.

    • That’s a really good point, Lisa. We have to separate the brand from the man and I think this move is one for both the Pujols brand as well as for him personally. While everyone is up in arms against him, I think it’s more important to understand that the St. Louis franchise either couldn’t or wouldn’t give him the loyalty that everyone is crying he should have had to them. It’s a two way street and the Cardinals weren’t willing to go down the street.

      It is what it is, though, and in the end St. Louis now has the opportunity to build a strong team despite losing Pujols. I hope we can stay classy! 🙂

  6. You’re so right Kelli! None of us have the right to judge him in any way. It is all about what he does off the field that matters way more than what he does on the field. I feel like I have seen true characther of different people in the last 24 hours and unfourtionately a lot of it has been rather diasppointing. It is not ok for anyone to speak about a man the way people have about Albert. He is a man of loyality, integrity, and most importantly a man serving the Lord. I’ll miss having him in St. Louis, but the Lord will use him in mighty ways out in LA! Thanks for posting your thoughts!

    • Emotions bring out the best and worst, don’t they? I understand the emotions, but if you step back and think about it, it seems kind of silly doesn’t it? 🙂

  7. Love this Kell. Very well said my dear!

    • Right back atcha! i loved your thoughts! Move forward and be excited. This isn’t the end of Cardinals baseball!

Trackbacks

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