It appears Albert Pujols is okay with the “El Hombre” nickname now.
Last week, the latest cover of ESPN The Magazine surfaced, featuring Albert Pujols in an Angels hat. A few days later, ESPN released behind-the-scenes video of the magazine photo shoot. As we get closer and closer to the 2012 MLB season, these marketing and publication assets will quickly make the non-Cardinals Albert Pujols a harsher reality.
Thursday was one of those days, when photos of Albert Pujols-themed billboards in Los Angeles began to circulate via Twitter.
You see, “El Hombre” means “The Man” in Spanish and Los Angeles has an extremely high quotient of people that speak it. In fact, “Los Angeles” itself is Spanish for “The Angels”. Whoa, wait a minute. Yep, we’re totally mind blown.
Anyway, this is highly ironic considering a notable interaction with Mr. Pujols that transpired two years ago this month.
Pujols politely asked that the media and fans refrain from calling him “El Hombre,” because he believes it’s disrespectful to Cardinals. “I don’t want to be called that,” Pujols said. “There is one man that gets that respect, and that’s Stan Musial. He’s the Man. You can call me whatever else you want, but just don’t call me El Hombre.”
Fine. At the time, it was tough to argue with the reasoning because Pujols was the figurehead of the organization and his word was Gospel. Throw in a token appreciation for Stan Musial and you have a full-fledged, sheepish approval from the Cardinals media and supporting fan base.
Apparently, this appreciation is only relevant in St. Louis. Why? Stan Musial is pervasively known as “The Man” throughout baseball. It’s not like Jim Hayes’ nickname of “The Piece” – which is limited to local knowledge circles. Pujols only has respect for Musial within the confines of the Cardinals organization? That’s borderline fraudulent.
Unless, of course, something changed between 2010 and 2012. Pujols says that money hasn’t changed him, so there’s only one major thing we can think of: Pujols wasn’t happy with the goodbye messages created by Musial himself.
Yep, that has to be it.