You know those buffets that seem to have been set up just for you? The ones with a little bit of everything you love? The ones with chicken strips, nachos, mashed potatoes, potato wedges, mac and cheese, pickle spears, olives, pizza, and burgers? (I admit, I have the palate of an eight year old) The ones where you pile your plate sixteen inches high and push it back to your table with a dolly? And only after you tear through the first five chicken strips, three pickle spears, and half of the mashed potatoes do you realize, holy god, how am I going to finish this? You look over and see the old guy at the next table shaking his head and mumbling something about this wasteful generation--or maybe he's just upset because his jello wasn't jiggly enough. You begin to panic. You wanted it all, but have barely made a dent. Those poor potato wedges...how are you going to make room for them? Then a calm hits you; a sweet and all-encompassing calm as you realize that all is going to be just fine. Why? Because you've yet to burp.
This is precisely where Albert is in the 2009 season. He started off fast. Fast even for Albert. Fast. And now all he has to do is catch his breath. The man had 87 rbis, 32 bombs and a .332 batting average at the All-Star break (better than most of the top players, not Nationals, do in a season). And even that wasn't much of a break for him. He helped host the game, participated in the home run derby, signed autographs, probably planted trees, hell, even the Leader of the Free World wanted to throw him a pitch (which was low...I'm just saying...I voted for you, but when you're throwing out the first pitch to, arguably, the only man more famous than yourself, you spend your evenings loosening up in the rose garden). Then he came back with a multi-home run game his first series back? Hey. Stop. Take a minute. Grab some gatorade. It's okay, it's the yellow stuff over there in the cooler. Yes, it's legal. It's fine. What's that? You didn't know there was a bench in the dugout? Yeah, that's where everyone else cools off between innings. You should try it out. No, you just squat down until your--yeah, like that. See? Isn't that nice?
The point is, there's nothing to worry about. This is the guy who gets the video game three weeks before anybody on the block has even heard about it, learns all the moves late at night in his basement, then invites you over and destroys you while you're still trying to figure out where the start button is. Only he's doing it against Major League pitching, not the scrappy red-head from down the street. He's making Roy Oswalt, Zack Greinke, Ben Sheets, Johan Santana, Zach Duke, Jake Peavy, Randy Johnson, and Tim Lincecum look like batting tees. Seriously...do youself a favor and look up his lifetime numbers against Johnson (during which time Johnson won 2 Cy Youngs).
He just needed a minute to take a deep breath, cover his mouth and let out some of the first half. He's going to dig right back in before this series is over, and I guarantee he'll have room for dessert. Then the owner of the restaurant will come out and hand him a crown with three perfectly marvelous jewels...No, he's not eating at Burger King....