Albert Pujols reported to training camp last week without a new contract, and after negotiations to hammer out a new deal broke down, it was announced that any further discussions about his future in St. Louis would be on hold until the end of the 2011 season. Pujols drew the ire of some fans and columnists throughout the situation, and when he reported to camp last week, he made a point of addressing the media early to comment about the process. Similar to how Mark McGwire handled the media last year when he joined the Cardinals staff, Pujols fielded questions up front, then emphasized that he would not be speaking about the subject at all during the long season. I don’t doubt that he’ll refrain from commenting publicly, but I am plenty skeptical of reporters adhering to his request to not be asked anything contract related until next fall.
On Friday, Pujols joined The Morning After Show on KFNS in St. Louis to talk about his career, this year’s Cardinals squad, the injury to Adam Wainwright, and other baseball-specific topics. Finally at the end of the long spot, Pujols was asked how he would handle any instance where he was prodded about his contract during the season. (Transcription via: SRI)
“Well I just think I set up my ground rules and if somebody comes up and asks me, that’s going to be the time that I believe that they’re not respecting what I said here last week or a week and a half ago. And that’s when I’m going to have to tell them ‘hey walk off or don’t ask me that question again. And if they keep asking then I’m going to have to put them in their place. And I’m not afraid to do that because if I just told you guys a week and a half ago that it’s over, there’s nothing to talk about and you’re going to try to trick me or try to bring that question to me, then I think you’re disrespecting me. I don’t agree with that so I’m going to disrespect you too.”