Thursday, August 02, 2007

Cardinals Tony La Russa Motivates Albert Pujols

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.