The standoff between the St. Louis Cardinals and star slugger Albert Pujols escalated today when the team publicly explained that it will not offer Pujols the 10-year contract he wants due to his advanced age.
"Our six-year contract offer was more than generous considering Albert is a 40 year-old man," said Cardinals general manager John Muzeliak. "Albert has been all we could want for this team and for the community, but to be committed to paying him $25 million 10 years from now when he is 50 would be insanity."
While Pujols' listed age is 31, it has long been rumored that he is actually much older a rumor Muzeliak and Cardinals management say is fact.
"We were happy to go along with the fake birth year as long as Albert wasn't going to try to screw us with it," said manager Tony LaRussa. "But he's demanding a significant, long-term financial investment from the organization when he may only have one or two more good years in him, if that. Management isn't going to lie for him and let him steal money from the team. No way. He needs to realize that. But I know people his age can be pretty stubborn."
Team representatives admit they already fear Pujols' ancient body is breaking down. He has been prone to nagging injuries in recent years and in 2010 he posted the lowest batting average of his career. But those aren't the only signs of old age. There are also the thick tufts of white hair now growing out of his ears, a general bodily odor of liniment and prescription medication, a penchant for dropping what teammates call "annoyingly dated cultural references," and, of course, an affection for FOX News personality Glenn Beck.
Dan Lozano, the slugger's agent, refused to address the Cardinals' age accusations and said Pujols would not speak to it either.
"His focus right now is on baseball," said Lozano. "And when Albert isn't playing baseball, he's going to relax with his other two loves: Matlock and low-budget World War II documentaries on VHS."
Lozano also expressed anger that the Cardinals' statement on his client's age could scare away other potential free agent suitors. But Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said he is "now even more interested in Albert Pujols than before."