By Daniel I. Dorfman–
CHICAGO (WSCR) Last weekend I was out of town visiting some friends and I was wrapping up the trip and saying goodbye, I gave a couple of my buddies a hug. Good thing we are not in Major League Baseball or this might have turned out to be a big deal.
Every so often in this day and age of multiple media platforms from radio to TV to social media to the Internet, really absurd stories break out. Actually, it seems to happen with increasing frequency. This week’s candidate is the discussion of Cubs general manager Jim Hendry giving St. Louis Cardinal star Albert Pujols a big embrace as they saw each other this week at Wrigley Field. Pujols apparently hugged several other members of the Cubs, including Alfonso Soriano, at some point over the course of the series, but the embrace with Hendry – someone he seemingly has known for almost a decade – made news.
I recognize some folks want to read more into this excruciatingly important development because of the tantalizing possibility for Cubs fans that Pujols will bolt St. Louis after this season and come to Chicago as a free agent. People are free to interpret what they want, so long as they don’t mind looking silly. Those looking to get anything serious out of the Hendry-Pujols embrace are doing just that. Pujols had to tell the St. Louis Post-Dispatch he thought the story was ridiculous. That he had to comment on the story in the first place was ridiculous in and of itself.
Hugs happen all the time on the athletic arena as well as other parts of life and 99 times out of 100 there is nothing more than two people being cordial. In 2007, I was covering a game at U.S. Cellular Field when I noticed Carlos Lee giving White Sox general manager Kenny Williams a big hug, I didn’t interpret that as someone who wanted to return to Chicago. Last night when the Bulls and Hawks were embracing each other after the game, I really don’t think there was any extra meaning to that either besides a display of sportsmanship.
It would be easy to say I don’t know why this made news, but actually I do know why and that is even more depressing. Since Pujols did not sign an extension with the Cardinals in the offseason and may land a $200 million plus contract by the end of the year, speculation about his future will follow him throughout the course of the season. There are so many outlets today any slightest factoid can be developed into a story, even if there is nothing to it. We all saw what happened with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade last year in the NBA and don’t expect things to be too much different with Pujols, especially if returns to being the most dominant player of the game. I think he will be classy enough not to have a cheesy ESPN specials announcing his future, but this likely will only be one of many really goofy stories involving Pujols.
Who knows, maybe Pujols will sign with the Cubs after this season? But I doubt his hug with Hendry will have anything to do with it.
Do you agree with Daniel? Post your comments below.
Daniel I. Dorfman is a local freelance writer who has written and reported for the New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer and the Boston Globe among many other nationally prominent broadcast, online and print media organizations. He is also a researcher for 670 The Score. You can follow him on Twitter @DanDorfman To read more of Daniel’s blogs click here.