Sometimes baseball has a way of playing out exactly as you might expect. That was the case with the Dodgers and Albert Pujols on Tuesday night. Starting at first base and batting third in the order against his old team, it didn’t take long for Albert to make his mark.
Pujols launched a 2-1 sinker from JA Happ to left field, and the crowd at Busch Stadium went wild. That includes both Dodgers fans and Cardinals fans. He got his moment in his return to St Louis, and the fans loved every second of it.
Justin Turner launched a pair of his own homers in that game, but even he recognized the significance. The Dodgers’ third baseman spoke after the game about watching it all play out early on.
That was pretty surreal for him to come back, get the ovation and give the people what they want. They wanted to see Albert hit a homer and he didn’t waste any time. That was really cool. Just to see the big smile on his face when he came back to the dugout was pretty special.
Dodgers skipper Dave Roberts is the type of manager that likes to give his guys moments. He gave that to Albert by batting him third on Tuesday, and he rewarded him immediately.
It’s one of those things that you hope could happen but the likelihood is pretty improbable. For it to play out like that, getting the standing ovation then hitting a homer that first at-bat – storybook. I’m a big believer that the game honors you and the way Albert has played the game for so long, the right way, that’s the way it was supposed to work out.
It would be tough to write a better story for Albert’s return than that. Former teammate Yadier Molina made sure the crowd has plenty of time to acknowledge him in his first at-bat by stepping out in front of home plate as Pujols dug into the box. Albert extended that time and gave the Dodgers a lead with the homer.
Another day, another classic Albert Pujols moment in blue. What a time to be alive.