Albert Pujols created countless memories with the St. Louis Cardinals over the first 11 seasons of what surely will finish a Hall of Fame career, and now is returning to Busch Stadium for a second time since leaving the team in free agency.
“The thing for me, I don’t think about it. At the end of the day I wanted it to be special. It was special in 2019 when I first went there, and it’s going to be special when we go there for the week,” Pujols said of the next leg on the Los Angeles Dodgers’ road trip.
“I think at the end of the day, for myself, I always try to let those things play out the way they’re going to play out. I don’t like to bring distractions on myself. I try to prepare myself for the game and things I have to do. Just let things play out the way I did in 2019.
“If you start thinking about how things are going to play, and it doesn’t go the way that you thought, then you’ll be disappointed. I’m really excited about going back. Hopefully we have a good series out there.”
When Pujols and the L.A. Angels played in St. Louis during the 2019 season, he was treated to several standing ovations and received cheers after hitting a home run.
“It meant a lot. That’s where everything started for me,” Pujols said of that experience. “Even though I left there 10 years ago, I still have my roots there. My foundation, great people, great fans that pretty much became my family. I have a lot of really close friends that I don’t call friends; they’re like brothers and sisters to me. It’s pretty amazing.
“That shows you what type of fans St. Louis Cardinals have. I think I took 13 plate appearances, and all 13 plate appearances I had a standing ovation. They were standing until I tipped my cap to them. That’s something that was really special to me. It ranks as one of the best moments of my career, including the World Series.
“That’s something I will treasure forever and something I will share forever with my family and friends who were part of that 2019 hot summer in St. Louis. I really enjoyed it. I’m looking forward to enjoying that again this week.”
Pujols enjoying opportunities with Dodgers
After a surprising release from the Angels, there was even more shock when Pujols signed with the Dodgers. He has embraced a role off the bench, continuously raved about the organization and getting a chance to play for a World Series contender.
“That’s why you play baseball: to win a championship. God opened this opportunity for me to come here and play for the Dodgers for the remainder of the season. I’m really excited,” Pujols said. “It’s an opportunity I never thought I would get from this organization. When I got the call, I got caught by surprised.
“I’m really excited and try to do the best I can whenever I’m in the lineup or on the bench. I need to be alert and prepared because there might be a chance for me to pinch-hit. You’re always on your feet, moving and getting your preparation. I’m just really excited. We have a great ballclub.
“But as you know, at the end of the day nobody is going to roll out the red carpet. We’re going to have to earn it. This team was there last year, we know we have a good chance this year to repeat, but it’s tough. Everybody else wants that championship also. I think at the end of the day, hopefully we’ll be one of the teams that has an opportunity to play deep into October and have the championship trophy for the city of L.A.”
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