Rick Hummel's article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch leads me to believe that at most Albert Pujols's anger at Tony La Russa for not getting into the All-Star game was really just "anger." And it could be La Russa who is actually more angry at his own player.
"I was ready," said Pujols. "I was born ready Maybe he wanted to play the other guys and maybe he didn't want to leave the other guys out. Maybe if he would have played me and left another guy out, they would have said, 'Why did he play Albert instead of the other guy?'
"I was loose and ready to go. Maybe he was saving me for next year's All-Star Game."
Though disappointed, Pujols was laughing at this point.
La Russa was told about Pujols' generally genial mood but still couldn't fathom Pujols' surprise at not playing. And La Russa, biting his words, clearly was not laughing.
"Albert was the guy who was going to do whatever we needed," said La Russa. "If Albert doesn't understand that, I'm surprised and disappointed. It isn't that tough a thing. I explained his role to him before the game.
"Let me ask you this. If we go to extra innings, who's going to be our player to move around and play? Can Dmitri move around and play? Or is Albert going to do that? Who's the most versatile guy not playing? It's Albert. It isn't even that tough. He'll figure it out sooner or later.
When the dust settles, this is not likely to turn in to a situation like 1993 where Baltimore fans booed Cito Gaston for not using Mike Mussina in the game. La Russa doesn't have to worry about his own fans booing him for not using Pujols. St. Louis fans already have a love/hate relationship with La Russa and even winning the World Series didn't change that.