The Dodgers bringing on Albert Pujols seemed like a bit of a head-scratcher at first. With his best years behind him and his defense in steep decline for a long time, there didn’t seem to be a clear fit for them.
But since his arrival, the impact of having Pujols on the roster has been very clear. Players gravitate towards the future Hall of Famer, and he looks like he’s having a blast. Dodgers players and coaches have talked for weeks about how incredible it’s been getting to talk baseball with him and just having him around.
Mookie Betts is a guy that plays with a lot of joy and a lot of passion, much like Albert throughout his career. The Dodgers superstar talked about having him around the clubhouse and what he has taken from him just a few weeks since his signing.
He’s like a joy, that bright spot that came in. For me personally, it’s kind of shown me to just really enjoy the game. He’s toward the end of his career and I just look at someone who’s been through 20 years of playing and you kind of just look at how much he enjoys just being here. I want that joy for my whole career, not just the tail end of it. … I want that joy through my whole career. That’s kind of what he brought. A lot of smiles. Loosened things up.
It’s easy to have that sort of joy when you’ve had that success that Albert Pujols has had. But any game you watch, it’s easy to see how much fun Albert is having with the Dodgers. He’s always smiling in the dugout and always the first one greeting players coming off of the field. It’s incredible how quickly he has fit in to this team.
With more guys coming back and getting healthy, it’s looking like Pujols will go to a bench role. But it doesn’t sound like he has a problem with that at all. What a teammate, what a ballplayer.