I am not The Man... This was Albert Pujols’ response to his new nickname provided by the Angels marketing team. 70 leased billboards across southern California are beating the drum for the upcoming season with advertisements depicting Pujols and the words “EL HOMBRE”.
This isn’t the first time a team tried to adhere the “The Man” handle to Pujols. In 2010 the Cardinals tried the same thing, as Pujols told the fans not to out of respect for Stan Musial. Albert has immense respect for Stan “The Man” Musial as well as a close relationship with him. Pujols feels that he can’t possibly be held in the same light as Stan because of his service on and off the field. On the field Stan was a 24-time All-Star, 3-time World Series Champion, 3-time National League MVP, 7-time NL Batting Title recipient, a Lou Gehrig Memorial Award recipient, and of course a HOFer. Off the field, Stan served in the United States Navy in WWII and missed the entire 1945 season. In 2011, President Barrack Obama awarded Stan with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor that can be bestowed on a civilian.
When Albert asked the fans of St. Louis to not charge him as being The Man in 2010, they of course agreed and understood his reasons. His respect for Cardinals history only gave the fans more reasons to applaud their slugger. Now, on the brink of the 2012 season, the Angels marketing team never discussed the advertisement plan with Albert. As a matter of fact, they are not too concerned about how he feels about the billboards. The 200,000 dollar marketing plan and billboard lease only runs through March. However, Robert Alvarado, vice president of marketing and ticket sales, said the team would check with Pujols before using him in future touts.