January 21, 2004

Damned if you...

A funny thing happened to me late Tuesday night. I typically post each day's new blog entry a few minutes past midnight, and yesterday's entry on Albert Pujols was no different. By 1:00 am I had about a dozen emails in my mailbox, all of them saying essentially the same thing. And that number grew throughout the day.

Here's a little sampling...

From B.J.:

"Aaron, you can't possibly think Albert Pujols is really 24 years old, can you?"

From Joe:

"Great post again, Aaron. Only one problem...do you honestly think Pujols is 24?"

From Conor:

"Do you really believe that Pujols is only 24? I'd love to believe it, but I don't."

From Josh:

"So you think Albert Pujols is 24, huh? I have a bridge in New York and some swamp land in Florida to sell you. Don't be so naive."

Now, this is a funny thing. I have written about Pujols many times in the past and have commented specifically on his age being in question on several occasions.

Here's a quote of mine from way back in October of 2002:

"I have a hard time believing Pujols' listed age of 22 (I think he is probably closer to 26 or 27)."

And here's a more recent quote, from May of 2003:

"First of all, before I say anything else about Albert Pujols, I feel the need to let everyone know that I simply do not believe he turned 23 years old last January. He doesn't look like he's 23, he doesn't act like he's 23 and he doesn't play like he's 23. And yeah, I know he went to college in the United States and most people don't think there is even a chance that he is older than he says he is, but I still don't buy any of it, not for a minute."

Both of those entries resulted in my mailbox being filled with emails from people taking me to task for what many claimed was a ridiculous position. Some people even suggested that what I said about Pujols' age made me a racist.

The two types of reactions I have gotten to my various Pujols-related entries are extremely interesting to me and they say an awful lot about the types of reactions someone who writes a blog like this one often gets.

If I do a Pujols-related entry and I don't mention his age in any way, I get bombarded with emails from people taking me to task for not mentioning it and for being naive. If I do a Pujols-related entry and I do mention his age, I get bombarded with emails from people taking me to task for mentioning it, and I get accused of racism on top of it.

It's the perfect "damned if you do, damned if you don't" scenario. Of course, it's not exactly the end of the world. It is just one of the things I have gradually learned to live with over the last year or two.

For the record, I am still of the belief that there is a relatively good chance Albert Pujols' listed age is not accurate. I say this because a) his performance is absolutely incredible for such a young player (as I discussed yesterday) and b) he doesn't look like a 24-year-old now and he didn't look like a 21-year-old when he first burst onto the scene. Hell, I saw him play in the Arizona Fall League prior to his rookie season and I didn't think he looked like a 20-year-old then.

If that is a ridiculous opinion to have, so be it. If that makes me a racist, then fine. If I hold back my opinion on Pujols' age (like I did yesterday) to avoid emails like that, I am instead deluged with emails telling me how naive I am to think he's really 24 years old.

What I have learned from this experience is that I apparently have an audience of which 50% are completely naive and 50% are racists. And, lucky for me, 100% have email capabilities and aren't afraid to use them!

Old man look at my life

I'm a lot like you were

Old man look at my life

I'm a lot like you were

Old man look at my life

Twenty four and there's so much more


--- Neil Young, Old Man


*****Comments? Questions? Email me!*****

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