The sharp crack of thunder followed by a brilliant beam of lightening jolts him awake from his peaceful slumber. His eyes dart open at the noise, blinking several times as they adjust to the darkness of the room. His skin starts to chill to gooseflesh and he reaches for the Louisville slugger he sleeps with at his side.
He is being watched.
He raises the bat to his shoulder to ready himself and switches on the lamp at his bed side.
"Whoa, easy there. Wouldn't want to hurt someone with that, now would we?"
He turns towards the voice coming from a man dressed in a full Cardinals uniform, cleats and all, sitting in a chair in a dark corner of his bedroom, legs crossed and hands resting casually on the armrests.
"Who are you?" he asks, summoning up his courage, "And where did that chair come from?"
"You mean you don't know who I am?" the stranger says, rising from the chair and walking into the dim yellow light provided by the lamp.
"Albert Pujols?" he asks, rubbing his eyes in confusion, "But, you look different?"
"Well technically I am 2001 Albert Pujols - a fresh-faced... wait, how old was I in 2001?"
"Uhh, I think twenty-one?"
"Yes, a fresh-faced twenty-one year old," Pujols answers rubbing the back of his neck.
"What are you doing here?" he asks, slowly setting the bat down on the floor.
"I am not really sure, actually," Pujols answers with a shrug, "but since I am here, we might as well talk, right?"
The two men look at each other awkwardly for a few seconds. Finally Pujols clears his throat and speaks.
"So, you are off to a pretty good start, huh? Getting a few comparisons to me?"
"Look, man, I didn't mean-"
"No, no, I think it is great. I am really happy for what you are doing for my team."
He cringes, rubbing the back of his neck. "Uh, Albert, you do not actually play for the Cardinals anymore."
"Yeah, you uh, play for the Angels now..."
"Well, I did not see that coming. But I am still playing?"
"Nothing. You actually just passed Reggie Jackson in home runs the other day."
Pujols shuffles his feet and the two men stand in silence again. This time, the other man breaks the stillness.
"So, do you have any advice?" he asks.
"Advice from me? You seem to be doing pretty well on your own," Pujols says appreciatively.
"I don't know. Eventually it will have to end, though, right?"
"As soon as you start thinking that, it will. Ride out this hot streak for as long as you can."
He nodded. "Thank you for your wisdom, Albert," he says.
"Don't mention it, mang," Albert says, turning back toward the chair, "Oh and one more thing?"
"What is that?" he asks eagerly.
"Maybe work on your footwork at shortstop a little?" he suggests with an easy shrug of his shoulders.
Thunder cackles in the distance and the lightening flares in the window once again.
"That is so weird. It is not even storm-" he begins, his sentence cut off as he turns to a now empty corner of the room. He blinks several times before collapsing back onto his bed.
"No more chocolate ice cream before bed, Aledmys," he says tiredly to himself before drifting back to sleep.
what else is going on in baseball...
- Angels Albert Pujols hits two home runs | angels.com
- White Sox score five in seventh in win | MLB.com
- Bryce Harper's off-day activities: secret selfies with young fans at the Smithsonian | MLB.com
- Hunter Pence gifted Madison Bumgarner a 'Game of Thrones' mask because why not? | MLB.com
- This is why you should pledge to never miss a Clayton Kershaw start in 2016 | MLB.com
- Let's Go Crazy! Twins hold 'Prince Tribute Night,' hit walk-off homer in ninth inning | MLB.com
- They’ve Adjusted to Trevor Story | FanGraphs Baseball
- Crowdsourcing MLB Broadcasters: Day 7 of 10 | FanGraphs Baseball
- Examining the Braves’ Disastrousness | FanGraphs Baseball
- Timing of Jason Groome’s Suspension Raises Questions | FanGraphs Baseball
- What Pitchers (and Numbers) Say About Pitching in the Cold | FanGraphs Baseball
- Fun with Triple Plays of the Past, Present and Future | FanGraphs Baseball
- Byron Buxton's early career struggles aren't unique | SBNation.com
- Here is Bartolo Colon majestically covering first base | SBNation.com
- The Astros' backup catcher pitched and came out throwing knuckleballs | SBNation.com
what the cardinals are up to...
- Player Profile: Michael Wacha | St. Louis Cardinals | stltoday.com
- Langosch: Cards Could Call Up Tuivailala, But Who Would Be Sent to Memphis? | 101Sports.com
- Past Theme Ticket Events | cardinals.com
- Lo and Behold, the Cardinals' Best Player is Aledmys Diaz | 101Sports.com
KNOW THINE ENEMY...
the arizona diamondbacks
- 12 years ago: Richie Sexson 1, JumboTron 0 | AZ Snake Pit
- An Arizona Diamondbacks Community | AZ Snake Pit
the nl central