Time to pull the Albert Pujols jersey out of the closet – Shaw Local

It took a little digging in the closet, but I knew it was in there.

The Cardinals’ No. 5 jersey has remained largely intact over the past decade since Albert Pujols left the Cardinals after winning the 2011 World Series. The only time I wore it was in presence when the legendary Cardinal finally made his return to Busch Stadium in 2019.

Was I upset that Pujols took the money and fled for the riches with the angels? Absoutely.

It was the best thing that could happen to the cardinals. They should have backed the Brinks truck to keep Pujols in St. Louis and that money went to keep stars like Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina, who stay with the team 11 years later.

Pujols’ skills have continued to decline over the past decade to the point where the angels released him last year, despite owed him millions.

Am I waiting for the Albert of old? I would like to, but at 42, he became the old Albert.

I expect him to be a productive hitter like he was with the Dodgers last year, playing the same role against the left-handed pitcher as the Cardinals’ new right-handed DH.

He appears to be in much better playing shape after dropping a few pounds in the offseason. You put him back where he started in the heat of a pennant race, in what will be his last season, and I think you’re going to find old Albert reinvigorated.

It will also create a buzz in the stadium, not to mention more seats filling up to see the Pujols and Molina and the likely swan song of Wainwright.

With Albert back in his place, I’ll be wearing the No. 5 uniform at Thursday’s season opener in St. Louis and keeping it front and center in my closet again.

• Happ pending: I reached out to former St. Bede JA Happ, 39, this week about his future as he remains an unsigned free agent. He texted me back, saying he really had nothing to offer, but he seemed to be hoping to make a decision soon.

Maybe he will retire, I don’t know. He could walk away with a great career with 133 wins and 1,661 strikeouts.

Like Pujols, I wouldn’t rule out another Redbird reunion for him. The Cardinals could use another starting pitcher with injuries to Jack Flaherty and Alex Reyes in camp.

Happ was solid after joining the Cardinals, his eighth major league team, at the trade deadline last year. The 2001 BCR Athlete of the Year was 5-2 with a 4.00 ERA in 11 starts for the Redbirds with one poor outing (7 runs in 1 inning against the Reds) increasing his ERA.

• March Madness: How did you like the new IHSA March Madness format? I thought playing all four classes in one weekend was fine, but I didn’t think the two-weekend state tournament format was broken.

An adjustment has to be made somewhere. Having all four games for third place in prime time (1-2A Thursday, 3-4A Friday) was kind of a bust. Many posters said to drop the games for third place all together. That’s not the answer. Look what it meant to Bureau Valley when he had his third-place 3-Peat and made some lasting memories.

I’ve seen many takes, and the one I like the most is playing all of the semi-finals on Thursday, all four games for third place on Friday, and keeping all four league games on Saturday.

This prevents semi-final losing teams from having to turn around and play a second game that day with little rest and allows these children and communities to enjoy a two-day experience instead. than a quick one day affair. You could bring the evening sessions forward by an hour or two so that they are not so late.

I believe the IHSA will make an adjustment. We’ll just have to see what it is.

• New coaches for hire: Two new head coaches linked to their schools have filled vacancies in the region and another has opened up.

Carolyn Bryant, a 1999 Hall graduate, takes over as Hall’s volleyball coach. Bryant was the 1998 co-BCR Player of the Year and follows her sister, Bernadette, as a coach at Hall. Bryant succeeds Darcy Early, who stepped down in February for health reasons after two years as head coach and 19 on the program.

Mike LeMay also discovers that he can go home. The Newman alum returns as the Comets’ new head football coach, succeeding Brandon Krezcmer, who left in January to become an assistant coach at Western Illinois University. LeMay was an assistant coach at Newman in 2011 and has spent the past 10 years at Crosstown Sterling.

He was a junior on Newman’s Class 2A State Champions in 2004.

Hollis Vickery has stepped down after 12 years as a college women’s basketball coach at LP, her alma mater. He led the Cavs to a school-best 18 wins (18-11) last season, finishing with an overall record of 140-175.

• Eastern pass to Davis: PHS junior Teegan Davis announced he had received an offer from Eastern Illinois University, his first college offer. His older brother, Drake, got an offer from Eastern, opted to go to the U of I and is now Div’s starting QB. 2 Northern Michigan. Another brother, Wyatt, is the pass catcher there.

Eastern is known as QB University with the likes of the San Francisco 49ers’ Jimmy Garapolo, retired Cowboys QB/turned-announcer Tony Romo, and newly retired Saints coach Sean Payton, who was a former QB for the Bears. . Legendary NFL coach Mike Shanahan also launched his EIU career when an injury ruled him out of the game.

This should be the first of many offers to come from Davis. He’s the most athletic QB I’ve seen at PHS in my 3 1/2 decades covering the Tigers and there have certainly been plenty of good ones.

• Hall of Fame Evening: Mark your calendars for the 2022 Illinois Valley Sports Hall of Fame on Thursday, June 2, hosted by our sister newspaper, the La Salle NewsTribune. Last year’s event was a great success after a hiatus for COVID-19 and there is another great list of honorees to induct.

Also, keep an eye out for this year’s BCR Bureau County Sports Hall of Fame class, which will be announced this summer. Our Hall of Fame dates back to 1995.

Kevin Hieronymus is BCR’s sportswriter. Contact him at khieronymus@bcrnews.com.

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