June 2, 2011
mattybobo: Well, I can't tell my guest and all the readers how excited I am to be sitting down face-to-face with the one and only Albert Pujols, first baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals baseball club. Thanks so much Albert for graciously agreeing to answer a few questions for us and taking some time out of your busy schedule.
Albert Pujols: Thanks for having me matty, I just wanna give back to the fans of St. Louis, this is such a great baseball town and I love playing for a team with such great history.
mattybobo: Well said! If you don't mind Albert, I know our time is limited, but I am going to go ahead and jump right into the tough questions.
Pujols: That's fine, man.
mattybobo: As you might be aware of, this year hasn't been going exactly how you might have hoped--
Pujols: Well, I guess not a hundred percent or nothing, but--
mattybobo: --your numbers being a little down from what you're used to, I was just wondering, are you feeling pretty good, I mean, does everything feel all right so far as health, you feel like you are giving your normal amount...
Pujols: Yeah, I mean, I don't pay too close attention to the numbers, that's what you guys do--
Pujols: --but I do pay a little bit attention, and I base my effort on when I feel like I am playing to my normal abilities and production, and I feel pretty good right now.
Pujols: My hitting is pretty close to my career averages right now, maybe I can get them a bit higher by the end of the season, it's a long season.
mattybobo: ... So, you really feel like they're pretty close? They don't look a little low to you?
Pujols: [Pause] No, not significantly.
mattybobo: Are you familiar with a site called Fangraphs?
Pujols: Actually that's the site I use a lot, yeah. I just discovered it this year.
mattybobo: Oh! Well, that's really cool. Um, just for example, as of today, your "slash stats", I assume you're familiar--
Pujols: Six org! Sorry. Yeah, slash stats?
mattybobo: --right, your slash stats as of today, June 2nd, are .265/.335/.412...
Pujols: Right, my ISO, which means "isolated power", it is basically the difference between your average and slugging, is right at the mid two-hundreds, maybe a touch low--
mattybobo: Wait, what???
Pujols: My ISO is a touch below career averages at .265. My batting average is real good, at .335, and my on-base, I could walk a little more, my walk percentage is lower than normal but I can still get on base and see the ball well and hit it good, so I'm not pushing the walks right now. When my numbers look good I know I'm giving a good amount of effort and I don't worry.
mattybobo: ... Um, Albert... I don't know how to say this... Um, I think you might be confusing some of the numbers here.
Pujols: What do you mean matty?
mattybobo: Well, Fangraphs doesn't list it as ISO, then average, then on base percentage.
Pujols: [Pause] They don't?
mattybobo: No... it's average first, then on base percentage, then slugging. So...
Pujols: [Long pause]
Pujols: Oh. Man, I... man. This is awkward.
mattybobo: Well, you've got a series against the Cubs coming up, you always hit well against them...
Pujols: OK, I can't hide it anymore.
mattybobo: Hide what now?
Pujols: I've won so many awards in my career, but I knew there was one award I could never win, not if I went about my business and did my thing. I could never be recognized for this one award that I always wanted to win. It would round out the trophy case perfectly, matty.
mattybobo: What possible award could you be missing?
Pujols: The Comeback Player of the Year Award! I could never win it! How can you win that award when the back of my baseball card looks like I was made up as part of a thought experiment to see if a player with only ten years can make it into the Hall of Fame?
mattybobo: ... I don't know what to say, Albert, I... I mean, the MVPs, the Silver Sluggers...
Pujols: I mean, in 2003 I guess you could say I came back from a "down year", but how can you really call 2002 a down year? I finished second in the MVP voting in 2002! To Barry Bonds! How could they give a guy the award for being the "Comeback Player of the Year", the year after that??? Most guys would be lucky to have a career year that good!
mattybobo: [Long, awkward pause]
Pujols: You know what, matty, thank you. I can see this was foolish of me. I'm gonna give it my all from now on and stop chasing this foolish dream. Thank you. We got Jaime going next game, then we go against Dempster, I hit him well. I always like hitting against my friend Carlos Zambrano. This is it, no more playing around now. I feel some homeruns coming on, maybe some extra inning line drives, with power.
mattybobo: I'm glad I could help... I guess.
Pujols: You're a good man and a good friend. I better get going, we're going to make elbow jokes about Adam Wainwright in a few minutes.
mattybobo: Thank you so much for your time, Albert.
Pujols: Thank you matty. Go Cards!