Favorite Pujols memory? Easy. Grand slam, dinger no. 200 against Cincy. I was 11 years old in my first full season of baseball cognizance—not just pure adoration—seeing what ended up to be my last game in the old place.
In my mind, Albert was a Golden God that transcended heights us mere mortals can only aspire to. When I went to the batting cages, I emulated his stance (not knowing I was just doing a piss poor Julio Franco impression). Albert brought the impossible into the world of the tangible. He hit the ball and it went a long way. What a lucky time to be a kid, man.
The stadium was packed. My dad and I were up in East Jesus just to the right of the out of town scoreboard. The crowd knew that 200 was impending, the crowd knew he was on fire, and we were thirsty. Everyone was on their feet screaming like maniacs before he got to the plate. I hadn’t heard such a roar or felt a floor shake like that (and hadn’t since until the good patrons of Friendly’s obliged when the Blues nailed down the Cup). This might be the fog of youth filling in colors, but it seemed like everyone KNEW what was about to take place. From 45 year olds to punk kids, a common understanding of the man’s invincibility abounded.
This I can say with certainty: from the time he trotted towards home to begin the at bat to the time he trotted towards home at its conclusion, no one lowered their voices or into their chairs.
I don’t know if I—or hell, this town—will ever have their imaginations captivated and held hostage by a single player in such a manner ever again. I was a kid then, so I’ll never know for certain, but I bet my dad and the rest of the grown ups felt just like me: consumed not by cognizance but pure adoration.