Shortly after three-time NL MVP Albert Pujols agreed to a 10-year deal with the Los Angeles Angels, a couple of angry St. Louis Cardinals fans expressed their feelings by burning an article of Pujols apparel.
At one point, the man taking the video says, "Sorry, Albert. This is what we think of your Angels."
Despite more than a decade of meritorious service, including two championships, in St. Louis, this jersey burning doesn't come as much of a surprise. After all, jersey burning seems to be the de rigueur reaction among passionate sports fans that feel spurned -- or, at least, those who feel spurned and also want to get themselves on the local nightly news.
Cleveland fans famously burned LeBron James' jersey after he bolted for the Miami Heat. Even Chicago Bears fans burned Jay Cutler's jersey after he sat out the late stages of the NFC Championship game against the Packers with what was later reported to be a sprained MCL.
Whether these Cardinals fans are truly furious (they seem pretty polite, actually) or just striving for attention, burning Pujols' jersey is totally unnecessary. After all, he dominated for 10 straight seasons with the Cardinals on one of the most team-friendly contracts of any superstar. A metronomic right-handed slugger, Pujols hit 30 or more homers (445 total) in 10 consecutive seasons. Just a few months ago, he authored one the greatest single-game World Series performances of all time as the Cards won another crown. Pujols has been so revered in St. Louis, that there is already a 10-foot, 1,100-pound statue of Pujols at West Port Plaza (which is now being guarded by security guards just in case). Does all of that go out the window because he has opted to play the second half of his career elsewhere?
It's okay to be upset. But there's no need to disrespect one of the most beloved figures in St. Louis sports history.