Why is it again that Pujols and the Cards can’t work out an extension during the season?

St. Louis Cardinals Albert Pujols has fun with Yadier Molina (L) and Pedro Feliz (R) in the dugout in the fifth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on September 27, 2010. UPI/Bill Greenblatt

It’s kind of ironic that Albert Pujols’ camp didn’t want the superstar’s contract situation to become a distraction because that’s exactly what it’s become.

Wednesday’s Noon deadline came and went without Pujols and the Cardinals agreeing to a new contract. As it stands now, the slugger will head into the 2012 offseason as a free agent and the Cards will just have to hope another team doesn’t whisk him away before they have another chance to re-sign him. (If they even want to re-sign him, that is. It sounds like the club has no plans of meeting Pujols’ 10-year, $275 million-plus demands.)

But what’s unclear to me is why the discussions have to cease. I think it’s admirable that Pujols doesn’t want his personal situation to become a distraction to his teammates, but that’s out of his hands. Does anyone think that the media in St. Louis isn’t going to ask him about his future plans just because his deadline passed? Does he think the media in New York, Chicago or L.A. won’t poke and prod him every night when the Cardinals play the Mets, Cubs and Dodgers on the road?

Sorry Albert, but your situation will be a distraction whether you like it or not. So you might as well let your camp continue discussing dollar amounts with the team over these next couple of months. At least then you can say, “Hey, my agent is working on it. I’m staying out of it.” That sounds a heck of a lot better than, “I’m going to body slam the next sum bitch that says the word contract.” (What, that doesn’t sound like Pujols?)

I think everyone needs to use common sense here. Albert has stated that he wants to stay in St. Louis and you know the Cardinals don’t want to lose him. So if the main objective is to keep him in the Lou, then the two sides might as well keep the lines of communication open throughout the season. Again, it’s not realistic to think that everyone will fall hush over these next couple of months just because Pujols’ deadline passed on Wednesday. He’s baseball’s best player and this story is the biggest in baseball. Who knows, maybe if the two sides keep talking, they’ll eventually settle on something and everyone can put this mess behind them.

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