Thursday, December 8, 2011

By David Saltzer, Senior Writer

For years, I have wanted to upgrade my old flip phone (yes, an old Motorola) to a new smart phone. But with three small boys, the cost to better my phone surpassed my desire to upgrade.

Last month, for our anniversary, my wife finally got me a new smart phone. It was the phone I was drooling over—the HTC Rezound by Verizon. When I got it, it was everything that I had wanted—I could finally surf the net at the blazing speed of 4G. I thought I’d love checking email and surfing the web a few times a day when I had some down time.

But not anymore. Now I’m starting to hate my smart phone and it’s all because of one man—Albert Pujols.

How can Albert Pujols make me hate my smart phone? Simple. The thought that such an awesome player might play for the Angels has me addicted to my new smart phone in a way that I never thought possible.

When word first broke that the Angels were negotiating with Pujols I sloughed it off as misinformation. I was in a meeting at the time and got a text from a friend. When I had a chance, I logged onto, caught up on the story, which appeared to confirm my suspicions, and then got back to work. No harm, no foul.

But then, on Wednesday, word got out that the Angels were in serious negotiations with Pujols, something happened to me. I became fixated on my cell phone. I couldn’t put it down. I was hitting refresh on faster and faster to get the latest update on Pujols.

While eating dinner, I must have hit refresh at least 20 times. Luckily wife and kids didn't notice. After dinner, I tried to put it down, but couldn’t. Like Angels fans everywhere, I had to be in the know about this potential deal.

When I wasn’t reading updates on, I was texting my friends. When that wasn’t good enough, I called them. At times I was on the phone AND hitting refresh on to keep up with the breaking news and tweets.

It got so bad that my wife finally made a comment to me about it. I tried to put it down in another room, but then found myself making excuses to wander by it and hit refresh. That didn’t make her happy.

And that’s when I realized that I was addicted to my smart phone, and it was all Albert Pujols’ fault. Worse yet, I imagined what would happen if the Angels actually did sign Albert Pujols. I’d be glued to my phone for the length of his contract. Not only would I watch every one of his highlights in the stadium or on TV, I’d watch replays of them on my smart phone afterwards.

Not only does signing Albert Pujols make perfect sense for the Angels, it would be a transformative event for the team. It would take the Angels from a large market team to an elite team. It would make the Angels odds-on players to win the World Series every year he’s a member of the team.

Furthermore, he is the type of franchise player that the Angels need—a player who can lead by example. With Dipoto’s desire to increase OB% throughout organization (especially in player development) who better to demonstrate that skill than Albert Pujols?

Finally, signing Albert Pujols would essentially pay for itself. With the Angels’ TV deal with Fox up for renegotiation over the next few years, the Angels would have an elite superstar to market that would drive up the value of their broadcast rights. While the Angels would surely get more for their TV rights in a new deal, they would get substantially more with Pujols on the team than without him. And that doesn’t even include all the additional revenue from ticket sales, merchandizing, etc.

As a kid, my friends and I would play a bragging rights game called “got it” wherein we would try to one-up each other about something. When it came to baseball, how far I got in the game depended on who was on the Angels. With Grich, DeCinces and Downing, it was easy. In other years, much more challenging. If the Angels sign Albert Pujols, I will have to call up all those guys for one more round of “got it” because nobody beats Albert Pujols.

Once upon a time, Arte Moreno opened the wallet for Vlad, and the fans responded in droves. Nobody left their seats when he came to bat because nobody wanted to miss the excitement that he brought to the plate. His jerseys flew off the shelves and fans poured into the stadium to see him play.

Signing Albert Pujols would bring back all of that joy tenfold. Just thinking about the chill going through the crowd when he comes to the plate is titillating. The potential that he could become an Angel has me on pins and needles to the point where I’ve put my smart phone next to my bed so that if an alert happens tonight, I can hear it.

Because of Albert Pujols, I hate my new smart phone. It's an addiction that I will have to break some other time. Keeping up on all the news on is just too important right now.
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