“PUJOLS … THE QUINTESSENTIAL, REPLACEMENT FRANCHISE PLAYER”

In an effort to redeem himself after giving up the Riots original franchise player – Alex Rodriguez – for Ichiro, Carlos Guillen, and Darin Erstad, Manager George Skiles set his sights on Albert Pujols. After serious and tense negotiations, the Riots reigned in Pujols in a June 2, 2002 blockbuster deal with the Younge Street Stalkers, (ina Move they regret everyday) when the Riots sent Rafael Furcal, Gabe Kapler and Jared Sandberg to pick up the then-outfielder Pujols. At the time, George Skiles wasn’t sure Pujols would be able to fill the shoes vacated by Rodriguez, stating “He’s OK, but he ain’t no Rodriguez, He’s just a guy to fill in for Timo Perez.  Now that Timo Perez kid, he’s going to be a star someday.”

Pujols joined the Riots half way through his first season in the MWBL, in which he hit .281, 13 home runs and 53 RBI for Yonge Street. Since joining the Riots in mid-2002, Pujols has positioned himself as the cornerstone of the Riots franchise. Now the team’s all-time leader in hits (895), runs (580), doubles (221), home runs (187), RBI (580), and walks (413), Pujols has missed only two games between 2003 and 2006, and has won three straight MVP Awards (2004-06).

The Riots have won their division three times, and finished second twice, in the five years since Pujols joined the Riots. But, the Riots have never won the World Series – and Manager George Skiles is not happy about it: “We’re the Buffalo Bills of the MWBL – we’re always in the running, but we haven’t been able to win it. If we don’t win this thing soon, we’re going to loose our window of opportunity. And if we don’t win it, I’m blaming Pujols. Sure, he’s hit .293 with 5 home runs and 12 RBI in 15 Division Series games, but he’s a paltry .153 with 3 home runs and 5 RBI in 16 League Championship Series games. He’s the next generation Barry Bonds – Mr. April through September. But the Riots need a Mr. October.”

After Pujols heard about George’s comments, he laughed it off: “He’s just another LaRussa wannabe putz.”

Pujols didn’t start his career with the Riots, but it looks like he’s gonna finish it with the Riots. Pujols said regarding the potential of moving to another team: “Hell no! I’m a Riot, through and through. If George ever trades me, I’ll kick his ass! Ohhh, no. And, if he ever trades me to the damned Tempers, I’ll retire!”

 

 

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