The public will never know unless Cardinals manager Tony La Russa one day acknowledges it, but the master motivator apparently crafted a solid dose of shame, humiliation and embarrassment to motivate his star slugger Albert Pujols.
La Russa -- as manager of the the National League All-Star team last month -- deliberately humiliated his own player by leaving Pujols on the bench for the entire All-Star game, later offering implausible explanations that Pujols was being held in reserve as a pinch hitter.
Pujols -- who had been playing anemically all year -- was put to shame not only before his teammates, fans and the public at large, but even family members whom he had flown to St. Louis to watch him.
Pujols -- proud as only a Dominican can be proud -- was obviously shamed and shocked. The result: Since the All-Star break Pujols is hitting .351, with a .449 on-base percentage and .784 slugging.