This was supposed to be weirder. Albert Pujols appeared in St. Louis for what used to be his charity golf tournament, and while it caused a minor flare-up in the Missouri media, the dirty laundry got no more than a minor airing-out, all things considered. That was all the confirmation I needed for something that's crept up so gradually I'd failed to notice it: The Cardinals fanbase's relationship with its treacherous former slugger is... well, it's either completely in denial, still, or basically okay.â†µ
I was expecting it to be much more venomous than this, even now. Pujols didn't just leave, he was deposed—I had a book about to come out at the time, and when the Angels signed him we had to frantically replace him with David Freese on the cover, out of fear that the sight of Pujols on the cover of a book about the Cardinals in March—next to Stan Musial, for god's sake—would cause massive city-wide riots.â†µ
As it turns out, it didn't happen. The people who were angry at first have settled on that uniquely Midwestern combination of the silent treatment and the "I'm-not-mad-only-disappointed" speech, and the people who were just a little disappointed seem to have forgotten about it the moment the Cardinals came out swinging in April.â†µ
Of course, we're still less than a full season into his 10-year contract. We'll see what happens when he's back in Busch Stadium.