Albert Pujols’ unfortunate run-in with Wilson Betemit on the first-base line over the weekend, resulting in Pujols being out until sometime in August, has been the hot topic over the last day or so not only because of the immediate fortunes of his St. Louis Cardinals…but of the fortune he has been looking forward to start receiving come next season.
Some sports journalists are noting today based on this injury how very fortunate the Cardinals are now that Albert did not accept their offer prior to spring training…reportedly in the $21 million a year range over 9 or 10 years. And…how ultra-unfortunate Albert is now for not accepting their bid to retain his services.
In fact, it is being “reported” a number of anonymous baseball executives are now “putting a price tag” on how much this injury could potentially cost Pujols if he does not come back before year’s end and definitively demonstrate his skills have not eroded.
First off, the obvious. The St. Louis Cardinals are trying to win baseball games and as great a player as Albert is they don’t do themselves any good putting someone out on the field who can’t play. Second, the Cardinals will likely walk a fine line here in rushing him back because they may very well be his future employer and will not want to jeopardize future seasons…and you can bet Pujols will be on a similar fine line. Third, let us see what the man can do…so much speculation about the timing of his return and how his timing…and strength…will be. This is a world-class athlete. I would not bet against him. It is totally acceptable to speculate about the nature of the injury and others who have suffered it, but we are talking Albert Pujols here.
What gets me is the faceless, nameless quotes that seem to always come pouring out onto the Internet, Radio, TV, Twitter etc. when something like this occurs in sports.
Why is it I see more and more whole columns, articles, essays etc. filled to the rafters with “one long-time league exec”…”one team scout”…”one former manager”…you’ve all seen what I mean. Not just in this Pujols instance – with all sports – and it has been going on a long time now.
News journalism covering local, state and federal governments is a profession where we always have considered it a necessity to use anonymous sources to “get to the truth.” Many times reporters have even refused to give up their sources on stories they’ve shown the light of day to, shedding light on activities and actions we otherwise would likely never have known about. These stories have helped make our world a much better, safer, more secure place.
However, with the advent of the Internet and now Social Media we appear to have situations now where “news” organizations appear to have agendas…and you surely wonder these days if some of their anonymous sources…and their alleged comments…are even real. Sad.
Somehow, sports writers using anonymous sources just doesn’t seem to compare with whistle-blowers in government, on Wall Street, etc. We have enough trouble figuring out if the truly important issues of the day are what we perceive them to be from the media reporting them.
Sports is big business…and there are a multitude of potential off-the-field organizational and financial issues, abuse, etc. that would certainly require using nameless sources to get stories out.
But please…seeing quotes without names when it comes to how well a player, coach, manager or front-office staffer is liked, what their work ethic is, what they like to do off-the-clock…or how well they might respond to an injury and how much money it may have cost them? Tell me who feels compelled to comment on all these types of “issues” or don’t tell me at all. Sports employees should own up to talking about others employed in their professions…and sports writers should own up to only bringing out anonymous comments when there is a real, REAL reason to do so.
ESPN even has a feature where anonymous players have a forum to discuss anything. That has “had its moments.” Faceless allegations and opinions are meaningless. How do you know they’re even real…because someone dedicated some space somewhere to publish or air them?
Sports journalists…demand people own their comments when reporting on these low-level “issues” and stop making careers out of pumping out comments and opinions without names attached.