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Pujols’ milestone comes with little celebration

By: Corey Parkinson

Albert Pujols hit a grand slam for his 600th career home run, but his feat sadly came with little celebration.

How has Albert Pujols become a forgotten man?

The future first-ballot Hall of Famer became just the eighth player in Major League Baseball history to join the very elite 600 Home Run Club and did so with a Grand Slam, coming on a 1-2 pitch that he sent 363 feet, down past the left field foul pole. There used to be Home Run trackers; his pursuit of 600 would have been all over television and in the media. Every single one of his at-bats and every swing would have been must-see sports 20 years ago.

But now, it was just another milestone that happened and got a nice mention, but not the celebration it probably deserved.

Maybe it’s the fact that Pujols plays for the Angeles, the second team in the second-largest market in the country. Maybe it’s been that he’s been in decline for so many years and has become an afterthought. Or maybe it’s because fans got either spoiled or disheartened by the ballooned numbers of players like Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, and Rafael Palmeiro and now 600 home runs are no longer the badge of honor it used to be.

First, it needs to be made clear that Albert Pujols has never actually been linked to PED use in his entire career. Well, sort of not. His name did appear on the famed Mitchell Report before it was ever published, but was not on the finalized version. So officially, he’s never been linked to PEDs, but every baseball fan who saw all of their favorite players be proven as cheaters will certainly suspect Pujols as a user.

Avid baseball fans were looking forward to his major milestone and were feeling great suspense while he started the season without a home run for the first six weeks. Those who still romanticize the game still wanted to watch every single time he was up to bat so they could see history; many probably even recording the games at their homes so they could have the moment captured forever.

But the casual fan probably just saw the note scroll across the bottom of their sports news ticker or saw the headline appear somewhere online, took in the information, and moved on.

And it is sad because Pujols is one of the all-time greatest players in the history of the game. The former St. Louis Cardinals great became the fastest player to hit 400 home run in his 10th season before going to the Angeles, where at 31-years-old he signed one of the biggest contracts in MLB history, worth $240 million over 10 years.

Pujols made Cardinals forget about McGwire as he hit .328 with 2,073 hits, 445 home runs, and 1,329 RBIs over his 10 years there. But he’s been in dramatic decline since joining the Angeles and is now one of the under-performing veterans that a team has hurt themselves with by giving out a giant contract. He hasn’t hit .300 in a season since moving to Los Angeles.

But Pujols still is chasing more history. He is 141 RBIs away from 2,000 and 125 hits away from 3,000. If Pujols reaches those milestones too, he will be one of just three players to hit 600 home runs, 2,000 RBIs, and 3,000 hits along with Hank Aaron and Alex Rodriguez. And that is something incredibly special and deserves some fanfare.

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Corey Parkinson

Staff Writer
Corey grew up a sports fanatic and an athlete. A baseball player up until he was 18, his passion and love for the game has remained unchanged. From the time he was five if it involved a ball that you threw or kicked, Corey was all in. His passion for journalism began at the age of 10 when he wrote a play about a World Series involving the Seattle Mariners and The New York Mets. As a Sports Media and Marketing major currently at Full Sail University, Corey is working his way to becoming an MLB beat writer. Writing for SoMuchSports.com has given him the platform to share his knowledge and passion for sports and primarily his undying love for baseball.

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