McAdam: Best performance ever


McAdam: Best performance ever

ARLINGTON, Texas -- For the past 11 years, Albert Pujols has been, inarguably, the best player in baseball.

After the 2011 season, Pujols led all active players in batting average, slugging percentage and OPS. Only an injury that caused him to miss two weeks stopped him from extending his streak of seasons with at least a .300 batting average, 30 or more homers and 100 or more RBI to 11 straight years.

But Pujols had yet to make his mark in the World Series.

In 11 games in the Series -- swept in four games by the Red Sox in 2004; a World Series win in five over Detroit in 2006; and the first two games of the current Series -- Pujols had exactly one homer and two RBI, numbers that seem like a misprint.

Saturday night, that changed in a hurry. In the span of five at-bats, Pujols had what may well be the greatest game by any individual in World Series history.


He hit three homers, added two singles and totaled six RBI and 14 total bases.

Only Babe Ruth (twice) and Reggie Jackson had ever had three homers in the same World Series game. And neither of them had ever collected five hits, or six RBI or, for that matter, 14 total bases.

St. Louis manager Tony La Russa was asked to put his slugger's game into proper historical context.

"I think the best thing to do is,'' said La Russa after considering the damage Pujols had done, "you make the statement and ask somebody: 'Okay, show me a game that was better.' I think it would be hard to do.''

La Russa is the only manager Pujols has ever had in the big leagues and he's seen it all. But even La Russa seemed overwhelmed by the night.

"It's the latest example of how great he is,'' said La Russa.

Not best, or most obvious. Latest. It was if La Russa had already considered the fact that Pujols might outdo himself, say, Sunday night.

Until Saturday night, Pujols's most striking contribution to this World Series came when he mishandled a cutoff throw from the outfield in the ninth inning from teammate John Jay in Game 2, leading to the Cards' loss.

Pujols then didn't make himself available to the media after the game, creating a mini-firestorm on Friday's off-day, with Pujols unrepentant over his postgame disappearing act.

The Cardinals don't care much whether Pujols stands in front of his locker or at a podium in a postgame press conference setting. They care only about his bat.

Texas starter Matt Harrison lasted just 3 23 innings in Game 3, but he did accomplish what no other Rangers pitcher would do when he got Pujols to ground out in the first.

The next five plate appearances by Pujols would not end so harmlessly for the Rangers.

It was if he was ramping up, from one at-bat to the next, each more impressive than the one before: Single, single, homer, homer and homer.

Actually, the first homer was the hardest hit, marking just the 15th time in the history of The Ballpark at Arlington that a ball was hit off the club level -- or second deck.

That ball was measured at 423 feet, which sounded suspiciously short given the ferocity with which the ball was struck.

True to his exceedingly humble nature, Pujols appeared uncomfortable being the focus of the Cardinals' win.

It might be better for baseball if Pujols had the sort of self-awareness that, say, Kobe Bryant or Alexander Ovechkin had, someone who seemed at ease in the spotlight, someone who oozed star quality.

Instead, Pujols seems to shrink out of the batter's box, reduced by his own modest nature.

"I didn't walk into the ballpark today thinking that I was going to have a night like this,'' said Pujols.

Of course not. Nobody walks into the ballpark thinking about three homers, five hits, six RBI and 14 total bases.

Those thoughts come in your sleep, when you dream of the kind of night that Albert Pujols had Saturday night, when the game's greatest player enjoyed the single best World Series game ever.

Youkilis weighs in on Valentine possibly being Japan ambassador

Youkilis weighs in on Valentine possibly being Japan ambassador

Among the reactions to the news that Bobby Valentine was possibly being considered to be the US amassador to Japan in President Donald Trump’s administration was this beauty from Kevin Youkilis. 

Valentine famously called out Youkilis early in his stormy tenure as Red Sox manager in 2012. Remember? "I don't think he's as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past for some reason," Bobby V said of Youk at the time. 

The Red Sox traded Youkilis to the White Sox for two not-future Hall of Famers, outfielder Brent Lillibridge and right-hander Zach Stewart, later that season.

Youkilis, now Tom Brady’s brother-in-law by the way, had a 21-game stint playing in Japan in 2014 before retiring from baseball. 


Report: Bobby Valentine could be Trump’s US ambassador to Japan

Report: Bobby Valentine could be Trump’s US ambassador to Japan

Major league manager. Inventor of the wrap sandwich. Champion ballroom dancer.  And…

US ambassador to Japan?

Bobby Valentine is on the short list for that position in President Donald Trump’s administration, according to a report.

The former Red Sox manager (fired after a 69-93 season and last-place finish in 2012), and ex-New York Mets and Texas Rangers, skipper, also managed the Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons. 

When asked by the New York Daily News if he's being considered for the post, Valentine responded: "I haven't been contacted by anyone on Trump's team." 

Would he be interested?

"I don't like to deal in hypotheticals," Valentine told the Daily News.

Valentine, 66, has known the President-elect and Trump's brother Bob since the 1980s, is close to others on Trump’s transition team and has had preliminary discussions about the ambassador position, sources told’s Rob Bradford. 

Valentine, currently the athletic director of Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., is also friendly with current Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who, like Valentine, attended the University of Southern California.