ORANGE COUNTY, CA - The sight was as you would imagine but, still, so very wrong in so many ways. Albert Pujols in an Angels uniform, chatting it up with former teammates - one he even calls his "brother". Even though it's been well over a year since making the decision to bolt St. Louis for Anaheim there are still emotions on both sides.
Looking back on it, then, would Pujols do anything different if given a chance? Would he take back anything that was said during negotiations?
"That's over. There's nothing I can do," Pujols said." You just need to move forward. They moved forward. I moved forward. I'm excited. (Owner) Arte Moreno made a big commitment to bring me here to hopefully bring the success I had over there here to the city of Anaheim and that's my goal."
So far, that hasn't been the case. The 3-time National League MVP is hitting just .249 this season for the Angels with 13 home runs and 49 RBIs. This after hitting a career low .285 last season in the first installment of a 10-year contract.
But Cardinals players still pull for him. Especially catcher Yadier Molina.
"He was my teammate, my brother for many years. It's going to be emotional but I'm just trying to win games," Molina said.
"He had a great career here and to me personally it's going to be nice to see him," Jon Jay explained. "He was a leader of the team in my first couple years in the big leagues. It's definitely going to be nice to see him on the field."
Even manager Mike Matheny, Pujols' teammate from the time he broke into the league in 2001 until Matheny's departure after the 2004 season, remembers everything about the man.
"A lot of good memories as a teammate. I always had the utmost resect for Albert and how he went about his business and the things he was able to do," Matheny said. "He was just one of those elite players that went about it the right way and impacted a lot of guys in this uniform (currently here)."