Sometimes, the moment is a perfect metaphor. Sometimes, the universe just allows things to randomly fall into place. And so it was with Albert Pujols and his 697th homerun.
Albert's been talking all year about how he doesn't care about the personal accomplishments--he cares about winning. He wants to be a player who can help his team win the championship. That's who he is; that's who he's always been. And so it's fitting that his 697th homerun, the one that moved him past Alex Rodriguez into sole possession of fourth place all time on the career homerun list was of the go-ahead ninth-inning variety.
Also fitting was where and when he did it: PNC Park, home of the worst team in the NL Central on the very day that football season kicked off for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Pittsburgh is to the Steelers what St. Louis is to the Cardinals. Which is to say, the Steelers are an incredibly well-run organization that has earned the love of the viewing area. As a result, there was almost nobody there to see Albert Pujols hit his homerun. I mean, if there were five thousand fans in that stadium in the ninth inning of that ballgame then I cannot count for crap.
So there was almost no one there to celebrate that homerun except for a handful of fans and his adoring teammates. Even me, sitting on my couch at home, couldn't get online and enjoy the homerun with my internet friends because SBNation picked that exact moment to glitch out. And that seemed fitting too. Albert Pujol's 697th homerun was a moment of introspection for most VEBers. We enjoyed it alone or in the company of our flesh and bones friends and family. I said "Thanks Albert" and held a beer in the general direction of the screen. It was just me and him for this one. And that fit.
And if that wasn't enough, after the game, after the St. Louis Cardinals second late inning comeback in a row against the woebegone Pirates, Pujols met Matt and Samantha Brown. Matt and Samantha, a married couple, caught homerun ball number 697 and went to return it to Albert.
Only thing is, Albert didn't take it. He told them to keep it, signed it and then signed two more for good measure and gave those to them as well. Pujols said the homerun ball would mean more to Samantha than it would mean to him. At the end of that glorious day, he didn't care about the accolades or the memento. He cared about the win, and he cared about the fans: those two fans in particular.
And that fits too.