Albert Pujols is sure to get a big ovation at Busch Stadium when the Los Angeles Dodgers slugger returns to face the Cardinals.
The 41-year-old Pujols called St. Louis home for his first 11 major league seasons from 2001-2011 and helped the Cards win two World Series championships.
Pujols insists he’ll try to focus on the series between the playoff contenders that begins Monday, rather than the fanfare.
Still, the trip is plenty meaningful, even if he went back to Busch in 2019 with the Angels. By not placing added expectations on himself, Pujols said it’s a way to avoid disappointment “if it doesn’t go the way that you thought.”
“It was special in 2019 when I first went there and it’s going to be special when we go there tomorrow for the week,” Pujols said Sunday. “I always try to let those things play out the way they’re going to play out. I just don’t like to bring distraction on myself. I just try to prepare myself for the game and the things that I have to do.”
Pujols will play Tuesday and Thursday, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.
“Certainly, he’s impacted us on the field with what he’s done, but I think I’ll argue more importantly he has mentored everyone — and that’s myself, coaches, veterans, young players and everyone’s gravitated toward him. It’s just refreshing to see a future first ballot Hall of Famer with such humility and willingness to help his teammates.”
“He is everything that’s good about Major League Baseball and professional athletes,” Roberts said.