(Busch Stadium) In perhaps the most surreal moment of the weekend series, a sellout crowd of St. Louis Cardinals fans chanted for Albert Pujols in the 8th inning with their team already trailing and the bases loaded for the Angels. Unless the two teams meet in the World Series, it will likely be his final at-bat in front of them.
“That was the first at-bat this weekend that I really thought ‘Wow, Lord. You put up me up here one more time to do something special,” Pujols said. “You know what, they made some good pitches. I laid off some good pitches, too. I’m just happy we came out with a win. It was a little bit scary there in the ninth.”
The Cardinals rallied for four runs in the ninth inning, but still came up short to Los Angeles 6-4.
After popping out to first base in that final at-bat, Pujols received a hug on the way back to the dugout from Yadier Molina. The crowd, which did not sit down the entire at-bat began chanting “Thank You Albert” as he left the field. The applause grew louder and Pujols relented, stepping back to the top of the dugout steps to pound his arms across his heart to the crowd.
“I told myself I’m going to enjoy every moment,” Pujols said of the weekend. “I’m going to do everything and then I’m going to prepare myself the way that I prepare myself for the game. And that’s what I did. I enjoyed every moment. In the next couple of days here, I’m probably going to enjoy it even more because there was so much and it happened so quick.”
A video from Pujols thanking fans aired before the bottom of the ninth.
“I think it was necessary, just to appreciate them,” Pujols said. “The love, the love that they showed me not just this weekend but my whole career pretty much. I’m still getting emails in to my foundation, even though I’m out west about people just rooting for me.”
After the game, Pujols and Yadier Molina met at home plate to exchange and sign their jerseys.
“At the end of the day, we have mutual respect for this game and that’s something that we felt from our heart that we should do and we went for it,” Pujols said. “That’s going to be in my trophy case.”
Pujols finished the three game series going 4-11 at the plate with a home run and with an ovation for almost every move.
“If I got to come tomorrow and do it again here, I’d do it in a heartbeat,” Pujols said. “I enjoy the game of baseball. I felt like this weekend–it’s almost like it took me back in 2011 when we were in the playoffs and the World Series. I enjoyed every moment. I don’t regret, I’m glad. I’m blessed. I thank God for this moment. If I had to do it again tomorrow or next week, let’s go because this was fun.”
photo credit: STLBaseballWeekly.com