George Hale’s Perspective On Sports 

If you ever wondered about professional sports, the players, the owners and the fans you have your answer now.Pro sports are about money. It is business pure and simple.Don’t talk about championships or dynasties or any of the other things we often discuss.I simply offer you the case of Albert Pujols late of the St. Louis cardinals and now of the L.A. Angels.The three-time national league MVP agreed yesterday to a $254-million contract over 10 years.Pujols leaves a city that has cheered him, in fact adored him, and heads west to a team with only one championship in the last fifty years.St. Louis is one of the great baseball cities in the country.Busch Stadium has been home to legends the like of Stan Musial, Bob Gibson and so many more all-time greats.Albert Pujols is not some kind of devil.He is a businessman and at long last we should come to realize it.In St. Louis he made millions and the club offered him millions more to stay, but the Angels offered more.So, as a businessman, he took it.Others have done the very same thing.Pujols will be greeted in Los Angeles as just another star.They have many out there.But he will never be loved the way he was in St. Louis.At 31, he has already started that slow slide in production that all athletes face.For 11 summers, Pujols gave the fans 100% of his talents.There were three national league pennants and two World Series titles.Only the Yankees and Red Sox won more games than the Cardinals.But in the end, it was the almighty dollar that decided where he would play his declining years.There is always the loyalty factor of course.In a 2009 interview Pujols said: “The St. Louis fans are unbelievable. Why would you want to leave? It’s not about the money. I already got my money. It’s about winning”.But when push came to shove, it was about money.My point is simple.Let’s stop treating pro players as our symbols of loyalty and devotion to a particular city or region.They are, in almost all cases, businessmen who sell their services to the highest bidder.This $250-million deal came down to an over 30-year-old star looking to get one huge final payday.To be honest, I don’t blame him, but let’s call the deal what it is.Six weeks ago he led the Cardinals to a World Series title in one of the most exciting World Series in history.Outside of Busch Stadium, there are statues of Musial and Gibson.Plans were underway to erect one to Pujols.Perhaps a big dollar sign would be the proper statue now.This is George Hale with my perspective on sports.